Formula 1 World Champions are a fascinating breed.
For every Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna or Juan Manuel Fangio – giga-stars whose names are writ large across the motor racing firmament – there are the slightly more obscure, less well known holders of the title World Drivers’ Champion.
Denny Hulme, 1967 world champion is one of these.
Before I sat down to read Eoin Young’s biography of the New Zealander I could sum up everything I knew about the man in three bullet points: he won the title in ’67 and he died of a heart attack during the 1992 Bathurst 1000.
And he won his championship in a Brabham while team mate to Jack Brabham, who can’t have been best pleased. You wonder how Fernando Alonso would have felt under the same circumstances.
This excellent book written by Eoin Young has filled in those gigantic gaps in my knowledge. It is the third in a series that includes his books on Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon (which I hope to review soon).
You couldn’t hope for a better writer on the subject than Eoin Young. He was there, he saw it all and “Memories of the Bear” is rich with riveting first-hand anecdotes.
Hulme had the kind of varied career F1 drivers had in the sixties and seventies, covering not just Formula 1 and the lower echelons but also the outrageous CanAm machinery and Indy Cars including a turbine.
Young backs up his tales with reams of quotes from Hulme and those close to him with plenty of research and details on Hulme’s humble pre-racing beginnings in his native New Zealand.
It’s a first-rate piece of work and I’m delighted to have found such a definitive title on a fascinating character I previously knew very little about. If you want to find out more about one of F1’s more unusual champions, I wholeheartedly recommend this to you.
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