There are two WWII tank crewman that I respect very much from the United Kingdom. Both are legends and, as it happens, both spent their post-war lives involved in motorsport.
Perhaps I am nostalgic (often accused of romanticizing the WWII era), given my age, but I remain indebted for the sacrifice of the many.
The first is Murray Walker of motorsport commentary fame and the other is Tom Wheatcroft. With this reverie in mind, I am saddened to report (more like perpetuate) the unfortunate news that Donington owner Tom Wheatcroft has died.
A luminary among the racing community, Wheatcroft had saved Donington Park from a suspect future and set to making Donington what it is today. Sad also is that the famous circuit has been embroiled in controversy in recent weeks over the loss of the British Grand Prix bid they had secured through Donington Ventures Leisure Limited.
Instead of doing some cheap cut-n-paste from Wiki, I thought I would promote some other work as they have done a fine job of recanting the legend that was Tom Wheatcroft.
First up? How about F1 journalist Joe Saward? I’ve always enjoyed Joe’s work and while I doubt he knows of F1B’s existence–given my affinity for him, it’s only fitting to ensure that you know of his:
Next? I happen to think that Crash.net has done a fine job of offering a brief overview with quotes from McLAren’s Martin Whitmarsh.
I would be remiss in not adding the work of Edd Straw at Autosport as well.
So, three stories, not of my making, that do a good job of letting you know just who Tom Wheatcroft was and why that is important to F1.
Why is Tom important to me?
He represents a generation that will most likely never be repeated in bravery, sacrifice and duty. A generation that placed the common wealth above personal wealth. While Tom most assuredly experienced financial wealth, there is little doubt it was through his character, hard work and sacrifice that it graced his life and family.
In the end game, I am reminded of just how important these qualities are. Especially in one so close to the motorsport scene and so important to the nation of England.
F1B’s most sincere and deepest condolensces to the friends and family of tom Wheatcroft.