What a night! The 2012 Motor Sport Hall of Fame went off with a bang last night as we inducted four more racing luminaries.
This year John Surtees, Adrian Newey, the late Colin McRae and the brilliant Giacomo Agostini brought the number of Hall of Fame members up to 20 at the Roundhouse in Camden.
Held in association with TAG Heuer, the event – which was also sponsored by Infiniti – was kicked off by host Jake Humphrey who welcomed Sir Jackie Stewart and David Richards on stage. The three-time Formula 1 world champion and the chairman of Prodrive presented Colin’s father Jimmy and his co-driver Nicky Grist with the Hall of Fame award. “We’re very honoured,” said Jimmy. “I don’t think Colin realised what a popular guy he was.
“To be inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame is special because it’s mainly a racing community, so to be the first rally driver is quite fantastic. As a family we are so honoured that this has happened. Everyone loved the Colin McRae style of driving and it’s shown by the following he has.”
He certainly does have a huge following and there were plenty of his fans in the room including the writer of the BAFTA award winning Senna movie Manish Pandey and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason.
Martin Brundle and Steve Parrish were next on stage and after some gentle ribbing from BBC’s Jake Humphrey about Martin jumping ship to Sky, they welcomed the legendary Giacomo Agostini. The 10-time winner of the Isle of Man TT and 15-time world champion had flown over from Milan specially for the evening and when you read this he will have already arrived back home! “It’s wonderful for me to receive this award from Motor Sport,” he said. “I’ll put it with all my other trophies. It will be my 2000th I think, but this one is particularly important to me.”
After a short break Sir Stirling Moss and TAG Heuer’s UK managing director Rob Diver took to the stage to present John Surtees – the only man ever to win a world championship on two wheels and four – with his award and TAG Heuer watch. “I’ve been to the Hall of Fame in America, but it’s nice to come along and join some of these luminaries in motor sport,” he said to the 500-strong crowd. “It’s a wonderful occasion tonight, celebrating the in-depth interest in motor sport itself.”
It was great to honour a man such as John, and it was also a pleasure to help raise money for the Henry Surtees Foundation. Guests entered a charity raffle – with prizes such as a TAG Heuer watch and an eighth-scale Amalgam model of Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 championship-winning car – and helped to raise thousands of pounds for the foundation John set up in memory of his son Henry.
The final inductee of the evening was the only designer to have won world championships with three different teams – Adrian Newey. His current team principal Christian Horner and Motor Sport’s editor-in-chief Nigel Roebuck were on hand to welcome Adrian to the Hall of Fame. Nigel quite rightly pointed out that he is “the best designer ever to have graced the Formula 1 paddock”.
“This is something I never dreamt of,” said the modest Newey. “To have joined so many legends, so many people who I have followed, who I aspired to when I was younger, is an amazing feeling. It feels very special.”
The evening, according to everyone we talked to, was a great success. Thanks to everyone for attending and for those that couldn’t make it – there’s always next year. 2012 will be a tough year to beat whoever we induct next year!