Fighting spirit is at the heart of motor sporting endeavour. Achievement in the face of adversity is what inspires us, and ‘digging deep’ to find that extra level of performance is what makes this most technical of sports so human.
Recently we produced a special magazine (links to download are below), produced in partnership with Dunlop, celebrates that never-say-die spirit of motor sport by presenting 10 disparate examples from the arenas of sports car racing, Formula 1 and motorcycling, where doughty drivers and riders have made the difference, in the toughest of circumstances.
Our examples, ranging from 1950 to this season just past, are certainly linked by the brand of tyre they were achieved on. But they have so much more in common than might at first appear obvious.
We include individual tales where heroes have overcome mechanical setbacks that, on another day, could well have left them as nothing more than a DNF footnote. Instead, their feats have enshrined them in history.
Others have overcome injury that for most of us would spell an immediate end to a sporting career – or at least a decent pause for recovery. But racers are a different breed. They patch themselves up, carry the scars, bury the mental doubts that might have crept in… then go again.
There are also those who have embarked on fightbacks of a different kind. Often, these racing warriors have been written off, perhaps because of age or injury – or for reasons less obvious to define. History is littered with talents who have risen to the summit of Formula 1, only to find themselves plummeting from the heady heights before they’ve had a chance to take a breath. But for some an F1 downfall can be the start of a whole new adventure, offering greater nourishment beyond the Grand Prix grail. A certain kind of tenacity inspired the two examples we present here, as fightbacks carved through years of graft rather than a few hours of charging on a given day.
As it says on the cover, these are stories of commitment, determination and resilience, inspired by racers of different creeds – but who have all shared the same belief: that giving up is never an option.
After the special magazine hit the shelves I sat down with three-time Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert and Giles Richards from The Guardian to discuss the races in question, which you can now vote on.