Brought to you by TheJudge13 chronicler Carlo Carluccio
– 2001: Go! Go! Go! Go! Formula One’s legendary commentator Murray Walker hung up his microphone in style after the 2001 United States Grand Prix.
Two weeks had passed since the Monza GP, and almost 3 weeks since the sad events that unfolded in New York on the morning of Tuesday 11th September. There was some speculation regarding the running of the US Grand Prix, as it would be the first major sporting event held on American soil since the tragedy. The fans that attended embraced the sport and said their thanks with countless banners throughout the 185,000 crowd.
Murray Walker’s last commentary would cover the final victory of Hakkinen’s career. A fitting end to two great F1 careers.
His decision was based on the fact he was 78 years of age and he would rather leave than be asked to leave. Throughout 2001, he had chosen a lighter work schedule and avoided the races he didn’t particularly enjoy.
While the future of Mika Hakkinen had been on everyones lips for the previous few weeks, at Indy the focus of all conversations was the retirement of Walker as TV’s front man.
A special send off was organised by the Williams team on the Friday night marking the end of an era. Colleagues who had worked with Walker, team bosses, Ecclestone and all the drivers were present. It spoke volumes for his personality and professionalism that everyone attended.
The evening included personal memories from a number of different people.
Coulthard: “He has created great television out of sometimes boring races and makes every event seem like losing your virginity.”
Irvine: “It was amazing. He can makes the most boring race sound great. I used to get excited because he did make mistakes, but it did really annoy me”
Some of my favourites include,
You can cut the tension with a cricket stump.
Eight minutes past the hour here in Belgium – presumably eight minutes past the hour everywhere in the world.
And now, excuse me while I interrupt myself.
Are they on a one stopper? Are they on a two? And when I say they, who do I mean? Well, I don’t know. It could be anybody.
Do my eyes deceive me, or is Senna’s Lotus sounding rough?
But for me it has to be,
Murray: So Bernie, in the seventeen years since you bought Mclaren, which of your many achievements do you think was the most memorable?
Bernie: Well I don’t remember buying Mclaren.
Straight from the horses mouth, some more Murray-isms to enjoy:
An extraordinary career, he was recognised within Britain and other countries around the world that received their commentary from the BBC service as the “voice of F1”.
Yet he could also speak in measured tones if the circumstances required him too.
A humble and self deprecating man, this last clip exemplifies perfectly what his voice could bring to the most solemn of sports.
12 years on and he is still missed.