James Hunt’s former commentating partner Murray Walker says he was a “decent” person despite his celebrated playboy lifestyle.
Hunt has risen in prominence due to Chris Hemsworth’s portrayal of him in Ron Howard’s new movie Rush.
The film reflects Hunt’s famed appetite for sex as well as his drinking habit. “I thought James drank too much, smoked too much and womanised too much,” said Walker.
“But I wouldn’t be saying these rather unpleasant things if he had not been a decent, friendly character inside beyond the enormous success and adulation that he had.”
Following his retirement from Formula One in 1979 Hunt joined Walker in commentating on Formula One for the BBC. They worked together until Hunt’s death in 1993 from a heart attack.
Walker, who is approaching his 90th birthday, admitted he has reservations about seeing Rush, which tells the story of Hunt’s battle with Niki Lauda for the 1976 world championship: “What I can say from talking to people who have seen Rush is that the way the film portrays the two men as enemies is not true – they were great friends.”
“But they’ve taken liberties to make the film more entertaining for people who are not, on the whole, petrol-heads like me.”
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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