That’s the number of motor racing greats who now belong to our Hall of Fame, with four new inductees welcomed in a star-studded evening at London’s Roundhouse
Jake Humphrey couldn’t have put it better as he welcomed the 450-strong crowd to the 2011 Motor Sport Hall of Fame held in association with TAG Heuer on February 15.
“Apparently there’s another awards ceremony tonight in London [the Brits]. Trust me, you’re at the right one. This isn’t about five minutes of fame singing someone else’s song, it’s about celebrating legends of the sport we love.”
The 2011 event at the Roundhouse in Camden was exactly that, as Motor Sport inducted four more of motor racing’s elite into the Hall of Fame, bringing the tally up to 16. Sir Jack Brabham OBE, Sir Frank Williams CBE, Jody Scheckter and Dario Franchitti all joined the previous 12 motor racing lynchpins.
The Hall of Fame is fast becoming a great way to open the motor racing season and meet up with familiar faces after the winter break. Christian Homer, Eddie Jordan, John Watson and Karun Chandhok were all there on the evening, as were Tony Brooks, Derek Bell, David Richards, Paddy Hopkirk and musicians Chris Rea and Nick Mason.
To open the night BBC Formula 1 presenter Jake Humphrey (top right, with the editor) welcomed Sir Stirling and Lady Susie Moss on stage, so that the racer’s wife could present him with his new helmet for the coming season, which she had lovingly inscribed with the words ‘Have fun, all my love, Susie’.
The first inductee of the night was a man who Stirling shared many battles with, a true racing hero and winner of three Formula 1 World Championships in 1959-60 and ’66. David Brabham, the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours winner, was there to accept the award from Sir Stirling on behalf of his father and said: “It was when I turned 40 that I realised just how much my father had achieved by the time he was that age.” Sir Jack also joined the awards via a video message from Australia. “Thank you for accepting the award on my behalf, David,” he said. “It’s a great honour to be part of the Motor Sport Hall of Fame alongside people like Enzo Ferrari, [Juan Manuel] Fangio, [Stirling] Moss and [Jim] Clark. It was just a great era and I’m very proud to have won three World Championships. I’m also proud to have three sons who have done so well in motor sport.”
Next on stage was Murray Walker to present Sir Frank Williams with his award and a TAG Heuer Monaco timepiece. After talking about the new Williams F1 car, Humphrey asked Sir Frank what had been the biggest highlight of his long career. “The first championship with Alan Jones stands out,” he replied. “Alan Jones was a racing driver like no other. He was a man’s man, Australian, very blunt, magic in a car, feared nobody and I think most people were pretty frightened of him on the track.”
Following a short break TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Christophe Babin and five-time Grand Prix winner John Watson came on stage to present Jody Scheckter with his award. The 1979 World Champion arrived to loud cheers, and was asked by Humphrey whether he had been sad to lose the accolade of being Ferrari’s last World Champion to Michael Schumacher in 2000. “I was upset,” joked the South African. “I was the last Ferrari champion and he took it away from me! No, no, they deserved it and they should’ve won it a few years before.” Laverstoke Park owner Jody may now be more accustomed to the delights of buffalo-milk ice cream, of which plenty was eaten on the night, but he is still fondly remembered by the motor racing community.
Completing the ceremony was three-time IndyCar Champion and double Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti. “I am very proud to be part of the Hall of Fame,” said Dario, who was presented with his award and TAG Heuer timepiece by Motor Sport editor-in-chief Nigel Roebuck and editor Damien Smith. “I was looking at all the names up there and thinking ‘my name is going to join them, I might be bringing the tone down a bit!” That he certainly hasn’t — the Scot was another worthy inductee to round off a fantastic evening.