So, let me tell you how my following of the BTCC began and how its connected with my love of Formula One…
By the way, you might want a cup of tea after this…
My love of motorsport began back in 1980. I was a small boy of 3 and already a fan of Star Wars and Star Trek. (Yes, I’m a geek, keep reading). Most young boys are attracted to either Football, Rugby or Cricket at a young age, however for me, sitting on my dads lap watching Arsenal games on the TV didnt do a lot for me.
Now, Sunday Afternoons watching Formula One on Sunday Grandstand on BBC2 was the beginning. The Thrill came from watching drivers such as Piquet, Laffite, Lauda, Patrese and other hurling those cars around the tracks with such skill. It had me glued to the TV watching the drivers throw cars that were glued to the ground by amounts of downforce that would increase tenfold every year, engines that pushed them on with ever increasing amounts of power and technology that would get better and more improved by the year.
I was hooked.
Now every kid has a job that they want to do when they are young. My first was to be a train driver. As my dad worked at the Bletchley Rail Depot repairing engines, I wanted to drive them. However having Epilepsy and being Colour blind put paid to that aspiration. My second was to be an astronaut like those brave guys at NASA and on Star Trek. But the same reasons applied.
So my heart was set on being a Racing Driver. However I had no idea about the money and paths required to do this. What also fuelled my interest and excitement was the excellent commentary provided by Mr Murray Walker and Mr James Hunt. They made the racing on TV even more exciting and thrilling to watch every sunday afternoon on BBC2. I was hooked.
So, I hear you ask, where does the BTCC and my obsession fit in? Well fast forward to 1988…
By now, I’m a firm Nigel Mansell fan and a complete Williams fan, watching fights between him, Prost, Senna and Piquet. But my mind had a question that would soon get an answer.
My love of F1 also spawned a love of cars in general and I often wondered if the cars that wete driven on the roads ever raced.
Well thanks to a certain Steve Rider, my question was answered in 1988 when on Saturday Afternoons, they started showing the BTCC. I rejoiced in watching Fords, BMW’s, VW’s, Toyota’s and many more on the Silverstone National circuit. Something that I didnt know existed at the time. What also helped was that Mr Walker was commentating as well!!!
And so began my following of the BTCC with my new heroes to follow such as Andy Rouse, Frank Sytner, Steve Soper, Tim Harvey and John Cleland getting my support.
I have followed both F1 and the BTCC ever since, with one change. My job wish changed from being a Racing Driver to being a Motorsport Commentator. Trust me, ask my family and friends and they will happily testify to the many shouts when I watch motor racing I know well.
WTCC, ETCC and the DTM followed in due course, but thats for another day.
Now, go and get that cup of tea. You earnt it.