LEGENDARY Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker has died at the age of 97.
For generations of motorsport fans, Murray Walker, who died on Saturday, was, quite simply, the voice of motorsport. Murray was liked and respected in no small way because of the dedication and passion that he brought to the sport he loved. He commentated on everything from motorbikes and rallycross up to and including his great love Formula 1.
For 23 years Murray commentated on the F1 and whilst he was brilliant, a true great and a unique talent, he had his moments too, moments that became known as Murrayisms. Just a few of many memorable quips from Walker were: “There are seven winners of the Monaco Grand Prix on the starting line today, and four of them are Michael Schumacher” and of a famous incident “There is nothing wrong with his car, except that it’s on fire!”
Although he first commentated on the British Grand Prix in 1949, he only became a full-time F1 commentator in 1978, filling the airwaves with his iconic voice until his retirement in 2001. Murray also worked in television advertising promoting Weetabix, Mars bars and Vauxhall, to name but a few brands. His resumé of interviewees included Juan Manuel Fangio, Enzo Ferrari, Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.
Murray said that his job was to try and explain in an entertaining way that which was going on, to an audience 95 per cent of whom would not know what a gudgeon pin was.
I agree with many who knew him well when they said that he was as honest, humorous and approachable in real life as his commentary style suggested. Martin Brundle, a fellow commentator, summed him up accurately when he described him as “A national treasure, communication genius and Formula 1 legend.”
Murray will be greatly missed by all motorsport fans.
Skoda’s birthday rally special
In 2021, Skoda celebrates its 120 years in motorsport. Over the decades, Skoda collected countless victories, most recently dominating the WRC2 categories of the FIA World Rally Championship.
And to mark the brand’s anniversary, they are launching a limited-edition rally car. The Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo will be sold in twelve units only. Each of them will not only include most of the technical upgrades of the current rally car, but in addition to the standard equipment, this anniversary special includes many special additions.
A full package of extra internal accessories includes storage bags or nets for helmets and headsets, tools, spare parts and additional equipment. More comfort-improving accessories are camel bags for drinking water, bottles for car liquids, belts, holders and much more, completing the package including a certificate of authenticity.
“The limited production Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo Edition 120 is an all-inclusive version of the 2021 upgraded works rally car,” says Michal Hrabánek, head of Skoda Motorsport. “With the package of improved parts, it not only offers a further developed version of the championship winning car, with its exclusive features, but the limited Edition 120 is also a veritable collector’s car.”
Reliability was a major focus for the 2021 upgrades of the Fabia Rally2 evo. A stronger rear axle subframe minimises the risk of damage on rough roads and special cooling for the rear brakes is included. The engine of the Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo in 2021 offers amazing performance straight out of the box with the now famous Skoda reliability built in.
Buyers of the limited Fabia Rally2 evo Edition 120 can choose to add many more options from a comprehensive list too long to include.
With prices starting around £170,000 the Fabia Rally2 evo isn’t cheap – but when it comes to rally cars, what is?
Top Gear’s nostalgic journey
RESEARCH for the BBC Top Gear television show into family car travel over the past 40 years reveals a seismic change between generations and identifies the in-car travel experiences that could soon be consigned to the history books.
The survey of 2,000 over-40s highlights family motoring memories that could soon be lost to history. Classic in-car 'I-Spy' games, parents bickering over directions, children’s cries of ‘Are we there ye?t’ and a wire coat hanger in the car aerial socket are now all part of a bygone age according to this study.
Other motoring memories included tuning the car radio to local stations along the way on longer journeys, picking up hitchhikers, unfurling huge paper road maps whilst driving and just one cassette tape to last the whole journey.
Other things highlighted included using the car cigarette lighter, planning your route before leaving home, changing your own tyres, and going out for Sunday drives – all things that today’s children are unlikely ever to encounter.
Some of my favourite memories include journeys to Skerries (about 15 miles north of Dublin) for our holiday that took more than three hours.
Four children and mum and dad in a four-seater car with the luggage tied to a rickety roof rack with blue rope, we kids fighting over who got to sit by the window and no seatbelts in the rear. I remember stopping in Castlebellingham for ice-cream on the way down and at Lucy Soregan’s shop in Dundalk to buy a present for granny on the way home. Entertainment included mum making us sing Liverpool Lou or anything by Kathleen Largey, whilst today’s kids want DVD players to watch films and box sets on TV screens built into the car’s front headrest.
It’s no surprise that the art of conversation is dying and that social skill development is impaired. When you were a kid, what did you do in your mum and dad’s car?