Blast from the past

Blast from the past

My Magic Moment post for this week is a bit late in the day but that sums up life here at the moment.  Last week saw a blast from the past for me, a real trip down memory lane.

As readers will know I’m a big Formula One fan, and James Hunt was my hero as a child. So it will come as no surprise that I’ve been looking forward to seeing Rush the movie for some time. The story is set in the 1970’s and features the Formula One Championship battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda in 1976 and their rise to the top of the sport.

James Hunt Formula One car

Even my first kitten had a motor racing connection – I insisted he was called Niki, he’d have been called James, but that just didn’t sound right for a cat!

Anyway, I went to see Rush last Tuesday with two friends; one who wasn’t even born in 1976 and the other who isn’t an F1 fan.  I was a little concerned that they might both be bored, but they assured me they’d be fine.

I was enthralled from the start.  All of a sudden I was a little girl again with the hero of my youth – a blast from the past.  I remembered watching James Hunt in the Hesketh (sorry if you’re not into Motor Racing as this will mean nothing to you!) in 1975.  I was 7 years old.  The team logo was a teddy bear wearing a helmet – I so wanted a t-shirt with that logo on it – I didn’t get one! Mean parents.

Hesketh Racing logo

I did get to meet James Hunt though on a number of occasions, both before and after he became a world champion.

I saw him in the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch in 1976 and 1977 – can you imagine the racers of today racing in a non-championship race?

One year, I’m guessing it was 1977, I actually got driven around Brands Hatch by James Hunt – how many people can say that?  Ok, so I wasn’t alone, and it was in a white minibus with my family and other people who had queued and paid their money (I guess) but still, something special.  I can remember being slightly disappointed that he wasn’t driving really fast – a speed demon even at the age of 9!

The film was wonderful, the cars just took me straight back – a blast from the past.  My brother was really into the 6 wheel Tyrrell, it was great to see it on-screen again.  I thought both of the main actors did a great job, my understanding is that Hunt and Lauda were far better friends than the film portrayed, but no matter, it was an excellent film.

I found the end really emotional, I can remember crying when I heard that James Hunt had died of a heart attack aged 45, the same age I am now.  As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, it meant I’d never meet him as an adult – I was gutted.

I think the film did him proud, hopefully, it will introduce him to a new audience.  My friends both really enjoyed the film too (phew!).

Last week was a blast from the past.  When I got home I dug out my Against All Odds book from the time, Dad bought it and even write the date from 1977 when we bought it at Brands Hatch! I’ve read it before, but there I was at 11.30 pm starting it again!

James Hunt Against All Odds

If you get the opportunity, go and see the film, it really is a blast from the past.  It shows you how ‘real’ the racing was in those days.  How much danger the racers were in every time they stepped in a car, and how ludicrously close us spectators could get to the track!

My blast from the past, my magic moment.


8 thoughts on “Blast from the past

  1. Good to look back on the old times and see how things have changed. Health and safety has changed so many things these days, mostly good but some of the fun goes with it.

    1. I agree, I remember the days when you could freely walk around the paddock, easily get to meet the drivers and even occasionally sit in the cars!! Those days are sadly long gone. A shame for children of the last 20 years as they’ve missed so much of the real fun.

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