Formula One greats Sir Frank Williams and Murray Walker OBE have received MSA Lifetime Achievement Awards, the highest honour bestowed by the MSA Board in recognition of outstanding achievement over many years in motor sport.
Alan Gow, former MSA Chairman, presented the first accolade to Sir Frank at the Williams F1 headquarters in Oxfordshire. Sir Frank began his career as a driver and mechanic, before founding his own racing car company in 1966. After running cars in F2 and F3, he purchased a Brabham F1 chassis and ran Piers Courage in the 1969 grand prix season. He later established Williams Grand Prix Engineering, and between 1979 and 1997 the team won 113 grands prix, seven drivers' championships and nine constructors' championships.
Sir Frank Williams said: “This award came out of the blue but I really am very proud and will treasure it for a long, long time. I’ve enjoyed every single year I’ve been in Formula One, 48 to be specific. It has been hard work but very rewarding work and I’m truly privileged to have been involved in the world championship. I’ve met some amazingly clever people; Formula One is a great sport and attracts so many talented ambitious people. It’s a hodgepodge of great talent, determination, great enthusiasm and I’m proud to be part of that.”
Murray, whose F1 commentary made him a household name, received his award in person at the MSA Night of Champions ceremony, held at the Royal Automobile Club in London (27 January). Having made his first broadcast at Shelsley Walsh hill climb in 1948, Murray went on to cover motocross during the 1960s, and rallycross in the ’70s and ’80s. He became a full-time F1 commentator in 1978 and also covered the British Touring Car Championship for almost a decade. His comical errors, known as ‘Murrayisms’, helped make him a national treasure, while his passion, enthusiasm and longevity made him one of the greatest sports commentators of all time.
Murray Walker OBE said: “I began commentating in 1948, a year before Formula One started and so I’ve interviewed just about all of the world champions up to Lewis Hamilton - not to mention my 13 years with James Hunt! People used to accuse me of writing things on the commentary box wall to slip into the commentary, but it’s not like that. You say what comes into your head when you’re watching the race live and that’s what I did! It’s an honour to receive this award, especially alongside Sir Frank.”
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