Murray Walker honoured at International Historic Motoring Awards

Murray Walker OBE has received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the third International Historic Motoring Awards (IHMA) in tribute to his 60 years as the ‘voice of motorsport’. The veteran motor racing broadcaster and journalist, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, was presented with the award by another legendary figure from the world of motorsport, Sir Stirling Moss, at the IHMA dinner at London’s St. Pancras Rennaissance Hotel last night.

Murray commented that he and Sir Stirling both started their careers in 1948, and went on to tell the audience that they are often mistaken for each other – ‘”Both folically challenged, both wear glasses, same shape head…” He recounted an incident on a cruise on which they were both giving talks, when a woman grabbed him and said, “You make racing come alive. That commentator chap is good but you’re much better.”

Reminiscing about his decades with Formula One, Murray added, “I miss Formula One desperately. I was lucky enough to be involved in F1 – 1000 people, the best in the world at what they do, travelling the world together, staying in fantastic hotels together, eating in fantastic restaurants together. The camaraderie is like being in the Army, the Navy or the Air Force. I miss it so much.”

The International Historic Motoring Awards, in association with EFG private bank and Octane magazine, celebrate the ‘best of the best’ in what is now a £multi-billion global industry. Award winners and other nominees travelled from as far afield as Kuwait and the USA to learn what the panel of judges – which includes racing drivers Derek Bell and Jochen Mass, the car designer Peter Stevens, musician, historic racer and car collector Nick Mason and the Volkswagen Group’s Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen – had selected as winners.

The industry is broad not just in geographic spread but also in content, and the awards’ categories and winners reflected that:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Murray Walker OBE

Car of the Year: Bugatti 57SC Aerolithe recreation

Restoration of the Year: Andy Middlehurst for the Jim Clark Lotus 43

Personal Achievement of the Year (sponsored by HERO Events): Philip Young

Museum/Collection of the Year (sponsored by Footman James): Louwman Museum, the Netherlands

Publication of the Year (sponsored by Hortons Books): ‘The Stewardship of Historically Important Automobiles’

Club of the Year: Aston Martin Owners Club

Motoring Event of the Year: The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (USA) and the VHRA Pendine Sands Amateur Hot Rod Races

Motorsport Event of Year (sponsored by Jaguar Cars): Silverstone Classic

Race Series of the Year: FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship

Rally or Tour of the Year: 20-Ghost Club Centenary Alpine Trial

Specialist of the Year: Francis Tuthill Ltd.

Other awards and winners in detail

The cars themselves are, of course, the stars, and two very special vehicles were honoured at the awards. The Car of the Year award – the one category which is voted for by the general public rather than the panel of judges – went to the stunning Bugatti Aerolithe 57SC recreation, built on an original Type 57 chassis by David Grainger of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, Canada.  And the title of Restoration of the Year went to Andy Middlehurst’s remarkable work on Jim Clark’s 1966 USA GP-winning Lotus 43; a true masterpiece of sensitive restoration.

Philip Young, the ‘father’ of historic rallying, received the Personal Achievement award, sponsored by HERO Events. Founder of the Pirelli Classic Marathon, Philip is also the creative and organizational genius behind such world-renowned rallies as Around the World in 80 Days, Peking to Paris, the Monte Carlo Challenge and London to Cape Town.

The magnificent Louwman Museum in the Netherlands, home to what is reputed to be the most prestigious collection of vintage vehicles and the largest collection of automotive art in the world, took top honours in the Museum or Collection of the Year category, sponsored by Footman James. And the Simeone Automotive Foundation’s “The Stewardship of Historically Important Automobiles” – described by Octane magazine as “One of the most fascinating books we’ve seen in a long time” – won the hotly-contested Publication of the Year category, sponsored by Hortons Books.

The Aston Martin Owners’ Club took the award for Club of the Year, in recognition of its remarkable activities to celebrate 100 years of Aston Martin in 2013, most notably its unforgettable Kensington Palace Centennial Celebration, which saw club members from 18 countries converging on the UK in July, bringing 100 different Aston Martin models together.

The Motoring Event of the Year category was a tie this year, with two very different events sharing the award. The 18th Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which celebrates our automotive and racing heritage with seminars and displays of historic vehicles, took top spot alongside a new event. The Vintage Hot Rod Association Pendine Sands Amateur Hot Rod Races bought some 100 classic hot rods to take part in an exhilarating series of timed runs over the Welsh beach.

Motorsport is a massive part of the historic motoring world, and the Silverstone Classic, which this year really ‘came of age’ and established itself in the top echelon of international historic motorsport events, was recognized with the title of Motorsport Event of the Year, sponsored by Jaguar Cars. The title of Race Series of the Year went to the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship. Masters Historic Racing was granted the rights to take over the series in 2013 – its first year as an FIA series – and has completely revitalised it.

Historic rallies and tours grow in popularity, complexity and ambition every year – not least thanks to organisers such as Philip Young and his Endurance Rally Association, and HERO (the Historic Endurance Rally Organisation). But the award for Rally or Tour of the Year actually went to a car club-organised event; albeit one on a rather grand scale. The 20-Ghost Club Centenary Alpine Trial saw cars over 100 years old cover 1,850 miles of extremely challenging driving across four countries – Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia – in 16 days. Participants from 12 different countries drove 47 of the world’s most beautiful old Royce-Royce Silver Ghost cars plus one brand new Rolls-Royce – the Alpine Trial Centenary Collection created specifically by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to celebrate this historic event.

Finally, the backbone of the international historic motoring movement is the enormous network of specialists large and small which literally keep these cars moving. The winner of the Specialist of the Year award was Francis Tuthill Ltd., who sent more than 15 of its classic Porsche 911s to compete in the 2013 East African Safari Classic. Alongside the cars, Tuthill also sent 50 tonnes of freight including 700 tyres, on-event vehicles and spare parts – a remarkable logistical operation for a team of its size and an outstanding achievement for a family-run firm that employs less than 30 people.

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