London, England - Renowned motorsport commentator Murray Walker was surprised and overwhelmed on Thursday night when, as guest of honour at a Royal Automobile Club dinner, when he was reintroduced to one of his father's old racing motorcycles.
To millions, the name Murray Walker is synonymous with Formula One, but as the son of Graham Walker, a successful motorcycle racer in the 1920s and '30s, his first love was bikes and his early career centred around motorcycling.
Indeed the doyen of F1 commentary often said; "Four wheels good, two wheels better."
Murray was obviously deeply moved by the sight of the old racing warhorse. 'For once I'm almost speechless,' said the 90 year-old broadcaster. 'This is absolutely astounding. My father was a great man to me. I have fifteen silver replicas of his TT bikes and to see these here together after all these years is overwhelming.'
GRAHAM AND MURRAY WALKER
Graham Walker was a motorcycle despatch rider for the Royal Engineers Signal Service during the First World War, where he suffered a leg injury and had to ride a motorcycle with a modified brake pedal. Despite this, Walker went on to a successful racing career with Rudge, Sunbeam and Norton.
He won the Ulster Grand Prix on a Rudge Ulster in 1929, the 350cc class at the 1931 North West 200, also on a Rudge, and the lightweight 250cc class in 1931.
Walker also won 15 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races.
Almost eight decades later, his son was obviously deeply moved by the sight of the old racing warhorse.
“For once I’m almost speechless,” said the 90 year-old broadcaster. “This is absolutely astounding. My father was a great man to me. I have fifteen silver replicas of his TT bikes and to see this one again after all these years is overwhelming.”
In 1935 Graham Walker retired from motorcycle racing and went to work for the BBC, commentating on motorcycle racing for both radio and, later, television. After a brief spell racing motorcycles himself, his son Murray also joined the BBC, making his first outside broadcast at Shelsley Walsh hillclimb in 1948.
In 1949, father and son worked as a team on the BBC's motorcycle commentaries.
By then Murray was commentating on car racing alongside Max Robertson, although it wasn't until the late 1970s that Formula 1 racing was given extensive coverage on British television. Murray went full-time with Formula One for the 1978 season and, from then until his retirement at the 2001 Indianapolis United States Grand Prix, was to millions, the truly authoritative and entertaining voice of the sport.