How it all began....
Allow me to take you back to 1986, your author is a mere 5 years old and is already obsessed by cars and moor racing; his father has woken him up and got him downstairs relatively early on a Sunday morning to watch the highlights Formula One Grand Prix. Why? If Nigel Mansell finishes 3rd today, he will be world champion, and a young boy half the world away will more than likely go hurtling around the living room.
That’s the plan.
Unfortunately, the Motor Racing gods we know so well conspire to make it a very disappointing early rising!
Mr. Mansell’s left rear tyre suddenly explodes in a seemingly mile-high shower of sparks, and small child bursts into tears, and a dream is gone.
However, the seeds are sown and the motorsport bug has well and truly bitten yours truly. Further disappointments regarding the aforementioned Mr. Mansell follow in 1987 and 1988, and a false dawn in 1989, until he secured the World Championship in 1992.
I admit, I cried happy tears.
Meanwhile, I am taking note of Ayrton Senna, the maverick Brazilian who divides opinion at the time but will soon become my equal hero alongside the gloriously mustachioed Mansell. These two men will shape my childhood, and Mr. Senna is still my all-time hero to this day.
Upon the death of the latter in 1994, I'll admit again I cried. But in utter devastation. He will never be forgotten.
Amidst all this in 1990, there’s a game changer… the father of mine mentioned back in 1986 is still on the scene (and happily, is still around today at the creation of this blog), and switches the TV on…. There’s two Ford Sierra Cosworths hurtling into Copse Corner, the famed first corner and Silverstone, and Murray Walker is going ultrasonic.
This is Andy Rouse v Robb Gravett, and I don’t think I blinked for the next 12 laps.
Overtake, nudge, slide, thump, bang doors, shake fist, nudge, slide repeat.... lap after lap after lap. Sterile racing, this is not, and it's absolutely fantastic!
The British Tour Car Championship and Formula One had got into my veins, and there it remains today in late 2019.
In BTCC from Rouse and Gravett, via Cleland, Harvey, Menu, Rydell, the late Keith O'dor, Radisich, Biela, Muller, those who have bridged F1 and the BTCC (Mansell, Bailey, Tarquini and Blundell to name a few) to the protagonists of today; Turkington to Crees, Plato to Moffat, Neal to Rowbottom, Chilton to Simpson and everyone in between from the beginning.......
.....in Formula one from Senna and Mansell, via Prost, Berger, Hill, Irvine, Schumacher, Herbert, Barrichello, Hakkinen, Montoya, Alonso, Raikkonen, Button, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Leclerc and Hamilton.... I just love it.
For years I have wanted to write about my love for these two particular forms of motor racing, offer my opinions, maybe question some decisions by the powers that be, throw out some hypotheticals, pose some questions, and maybe even rope some of those who thrill us from behind the wheel in to join the fun.
This blog and fan page is the result, and I really hope you enjoy what is to be said herein.
Please do note, that this is not a platform for abuse to be hurled, for favouritism, for utterly ridiculous conspiracy theories or for vitriol. This is a place for opinions, photos, experiences and hopefully mingling with fellow fans of glorious high-speed, high-drama, high-skills, elbows-out, foot down, blood and thunder motorsport.
Come and join me, you’ll enjoy the ride.
Rich - The Hard Compound
**This website is for my parents, who have always encouraged my love of motorsport, and have put up with my various ramblings for years - Thank you**