Meeting Mr Ferrari

Murray Walker spent the greater part of his entire career with just one ambition.

“I wanted to be in the same room as Enzo Ferrari. It didn’t matter if he didn’t speak to me, I just wanted to say I had been there.”

In the mid-’80s, Walker was asked by the BBC to go to Maranello for on audience with Ferrari.

“I was ushered into the inner sanctum —which I gather is now Schumacher’s gym — and there was the Old Man with his dark spectacles, sitting behind his desk. On it sat a sculpture of the Prancing Horse which Paul Newman gave him and on the wall was a painting of Dino.

“‘Three historic questions,’ said the interpreter Franco Gozzi. I thought, ‘I haven’t come all this way to ask three historic questions.’

“I knew I had to get his attention. So I turned to him and said, ‘Mr Ferrari, you knew my father. When you ran a motorcycle team in the ’30s, you used Rudge-Whitworth motorcycles which you bought from my father, who was the sales director.’

“And I thought I sow a flicker from behind the glasses. ‘What was your father’s name?’ he said.

“Graham Walker ‘

“‘And what is your name?’

“‘Murray Walker.’

“Yes,’ he said, ‘I bought them via the Rudge distributor in Milan. What is your question?’

“I thought ‘First strike’, as that wasn’t the most important thing to happen to him in 50 years. I did a long interview with him. I think it was the last English interview he did. I’m proud I achieved that.”