More Nurburgring Fear

Again narrated by Jackie Stewart, his voice alternating between apprehension, expertise and holy pity for the damned men in the cockpits:


..which is in stark contrast to this film, made only days later, that makes light, shall we say, of the danger and the risk the Nurburgring posed to the drivers of the day. I think there’s room for both attitudes. Remove the visible risks from your life, and you leave yourself not without risk, but with the camouflaged, Widmerpool risks that come in the end for all of us.

In 1966, Jackie Stewart was close to the height of his powers – he would be World Champion in 1969. He he is at Zandwoort:

His accident that year led to him becoming a pioneer of racing safety. There is a difference between Stewart – a racer – proposing improvements – and the tasteless killjoy grandstanding that followed Richard Hammond’s crash in 2006 – grandstanding that would propose comparison between an accident in an experimental rocket vehicle driven by a brave man with the actions of boy racers on drink and drugs. Hammond deserved and deserves better: fortunately, there’s been plenty of common sense said on his behalf. Jackie Stewart discusses his accident here with Graham Hill, father of Damon, who helped him escape the wreckage:

What I find puzzling about some of the more po-faced reactions to the Hammond accident is that the same type of people who would routinely dismiss the idea of television sex and violence influencing behaviour in society are so open to the idea that Top Gear – a programme squarely aimed at suburban middle-aged wannabes with clean licences – is making everyone jump the lights. I bet it does the opposite.