Admittedly I have never had the honor, as a Formula 1 fan, of sitting down each fortnight and listening to a F1 race as called by legendary broadcaster Murray Walker. That’s because I am an American and as such, I was treated to our own commentary team over the years.
There is nothing wrong with our broadcast team. Over the years you gain a real appreciate for what they do and the challenges they also face being on this side of the pond and not in the center of the F1 community in the UK. It’s not easy being an American and being a F1 fan or broadcaster.
I have, however, listened and watched many clips, past races and commentary from Walker and I even ordered his biography from Amazon UK the day it was released. That’s because I feel there are precious few who retain the history, legacy, vibrant storylines and actual eyewitness accounts with the skill to deliver this content in such a compelling manor.
You’ve often heard me wax poetic of my love for the late Jenks, Nigel Roebuck, Maurice Hamilton, Alan Henry and Murray Walker. There is a reason and it is not simply that they are journalists or broadcasters. They are artisans and singular voices in the motor sport world.
Take Roebuck for example. His prose is foundational, firm, fact-based, and yet lithe and fluid enough to move from detail to fact to overarching nuance of feeling, character and intention. His indictments are core precepts that fans all feel because unlike many in the field of motor sport journalism today, he is a fan (like Maurice Hamilton) who set out to cover his passion. He was not a journalist covering football or cricket who happened to be available to cover a few races. He was not a young graduate in PR who worked on a marketing team for socks and then was moved to a new client in motor sport.
Murray Walker is exactly the same. His enthusiasm and passion for motor sport is so pure and heart-felt that it would manifest itself in some of the most outwardly embarrassing comments such was his innocence and love of the sport. We affectionately refer to them as Murrayisms but what they truly are is a heart moving fast than a brain and a mouth and we’re all richer for it.
If you are new to the sport, you should do three things:
Subscribe to Motor Sport Magazine– this is the definitive publication with a staff second to none including the superlative Roebuck.
Read Murray Walker’s autobiography– this book is terrific and will give you a real feel for the prime mover behind Murray’s love of motor sport and it will leave you speechless at his bravery, dedication and humility.
Watch this video by the wonderful Mario Muth who does a terrific job of bringing real stories to life. This one is about Murray Walker.
If you’re UK born and bred, then you’ll know much of this already but if you are American or somewhere else in the world, these three things are a must! Motor Sport magazine is such a good publication that it would be still under priced at twice the subscription price! Seriously. I can’t impress upon you how much it will enhance your understanding and love of motor sport.
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As for the video, Mario does such a terrific job of interviewing and editing. He’s a great chap who also is a fan first, journalist second and that permeates hi work with every video he makes.
As for Murray? It was his birthday last week and you should take time to learn just what the sport of Formula 1 means to the UK and what it means to Murray to understand why the two are symbiotic and indispensible.
This interview, reading Motor Sport Magazine as well as Walker’s biography will help you create a foundation for your love of F1 and other motor sport. With that foundation you will be able to couch current affairs in a much better light and decisions made today will make more sense, or be more outlandish, with your firm foundation and understanding.