I watched my first ever F1 race on TV when not yet seven years old, in the British Grand Prix of 1986. And while to this day I cannot rationalise it somehow during that hour and a half the bug bit. From that point on I was an obsessive.
My recollection of the spell of childhood that followed that day was of rather standing apart from my school friends. For them it was soap operas (Neighbours, quickly buttressed by Home and Away), pop stars (Kylie and Jason, natch), football and, increasingly, computer games that took up much of their existences. While I wasn't too bad on the latter two subjects, all-in this wasn't for me.
|Credit: Norio Kioke / CC|
I often would incite glazed expressions among friends when I asked them if they'd watched a race over a weekend. Sometimes I would impress them but more likely would take the glazed expressions yet further with my ability to recite the entirety of an F1 grid - drivers, cars and engines, the whole season's calendar, to doodle circuit layouts, as well as quote sundry other details.
But even with this as far as I was concerned there may as well have been only one guy out there - and his name was Ayrton Senna. Throughout much of my fervent following of the sport right up until the 1st of May 1994 - now almost exactly twenty years ago - I had eyes only for he.