A defence of the past

It is excellent that dear old Murray Walker is starting another spell of F1 commentary. The pre-season ITV programme about his career was well worth staying up for, Murray's account of his life and views of racing well balanced and informative.

Murray has been on the racing scene for a long time; he told us that he had seen the Auto Unions and Mercedes-Benz at Donington. I was a shade disappointed that he said those who think that sort of racing is more exciting than post-war GP and F1 action arec talking nonsense.

Not quite, surely, Murray? The reason why those who were there, and I write from a still vivid memory, were excited by the German invasion because in England they had never seen the like of it before cars nearly as powerful as 1990's F1 machines, but with comparatively crude road-holding and poor brakes, reaching top speeds in the region of 180mph on a narrow circuit. Murray supported his plea by remarking that modem racing is waged more closely than in Pre-WW2 days. I would need to do some research to agree or disagree, but I do recall some very close-run finishes in the 1930s... But never mind, Murray we love your enthusiasm and your knowledge of the job which is clearly your life...

Long may you continue; you are a spring chicken at 75, Murray! But may I remind you of one close-fought motorcycle TT, between your father Graham Walker and an Italian rival. So exciting was it that, when the BBC cut the finish off in favour of Woman's Hour, quite a number of housewives rang in to complain. It wasn't always dull strung-out dicing in the past...