Academy award-winning director Ron Howard tackles the true story of Lauda vs Hunt. An epic tale which oddly has two protagonists and no villains. The story is set in its native ’70′s time-frame when Formula One was at its height of glamour, fame, pomp and circumstance…as the story goes, when sex was safe and driving was dangerous. Enter the legendary James Hunt. The ultimate ‘poster-boy’ for political incorrectness. Cigarette in hand with a bird on each arm. Tall and charming, charismatic and full of piss and vinegar. He was F1′s playboy and no one could play the role better. James was a hero to racing fans of all ages and genders. Sadly, Hunt left us far too soon, leaving behind very young sons which never got a chance to really get to know this great champion and father.
RichlandF1 had the honour of sitting down with Tom Hunt, of James’s two sons recently. We caught up with him in Canada as he was attending the premiere of RUSH at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was an experience that invoked goose-pimples, sitting across the table from the son of a legend. Adding to the atmosphere was the amazing resemblance Tommy shares with his late father. We chatted about many things including James Hunt the father and Budgie farmer (yes, you read that correctly). The Hunt family has never really done anything with the HUNT name in an effort to preserve Jame’s Legacy and not tarnish it. Tom himself did not want to be seen as taking advantage of the name to make a ‘quick buck’. Tom’s Uncle held the rights for decades, however with the film being released, the family decided that if anyone was going to properly protect the James Hunt name, it should indeed be the family. As such, they have launched a James Hunt Racing Collection clothing line as well as a website (JamesHuntF1.com) and the James Hunt foundation where proceeds from sales will go to charities the family believes in and those which the family believes James would donate to. Tom has very much been in the driver’s seat but all decisions are shared with brother Fred. There are some exciting projects and plans in the works and we at RichlandF1 would like to wish the Hunt family much success in this venture.
As many of you know, Tom was only 7 when his father passed. He therefore, has limited memories of his father but they were all quite vivid. It’s a shame the Hunt boys were so young still, they never got a chance to get the “Bird’s and the Bee’s” speech from F1′s playboy. I had written two James Hunt Tribute Poems for the Hunt family with their assistance and approval and I was finally able to present Tommy with a signed copy the poem below. It was surreal and gratifying.
James Hunt Tribute Poem
There has been a buzz lately, about an amazing man, one you would know, if you’re an F1 fan and one whose name across time shall span.
Featured in RUSH by the genius Ron Howard, this movie tells a tale which by passion is powered. This man was a giant, over most he towered with that devilish smile when with champagne he was showered.
I speak of course of the great James Hunt, sometimes know as “Hunt the Shunt”, who was always blunt and up-front and prepared to confront.
Quick on the draw from the lip or the hip, and fastest of all on the track and to strip. With lightening fists that just might slip which stung like the tip of a cracking whip
He went to Silverstone one day and heard his calling. With Motorsports, in love he was falling. Working hard to realize his dream, he wasn’t stalling, he’d make it happen either by running or crawling.
The ultimate playboy? Well he certainly had brass balls. Women fainted as he smiled at them in the halls. Charismatic and charming, they’d follow him into bathroom stalls. “Sex, The Breakfast of Champions” was embroidered on his overalls.
He was one cool cat with laser sharp reaction. He wrote the book on the laws of attraction…willing to oblige pretty women looking for action, one could bet, he didn’t have Mick Jagger’s problem of no satisfaction.
He was a man’s man, loved and adored, from his very first days in Formula Ford. Danger was present and death was ignored, surviving a race was a secondary reward. Victory was the only acceptable result when he climbed aboard.
Naturally gifted and incredibly skilled, he ducked and weaved as fans he thrilled. Clever responses when by the media was grilled, this champ’s cup of life was always filled.
It wasn’t all roses or peaches and cream, he battled some demons, some were extreme. Life in the fast lane was his ultimate theme when in ‘76 he reigned supreme.
The sad day came when the decision was made. In Monaco his mind was swayed, from helmet to microphone was to be the trade. He won, he played, fans wish he would have stayed, but a dog of a car left him dismayed.
There have been many champions in Formula One, but like James Hunt, there simply were none. There have been many that more races have won, but just not with the flair in which James had done.
His personality magnetic and full of fire, a lust for life, which would simply inspire. Men would admire and women desire the man whose spirit shall never expire.
We miss you James, your voice, your smile. You left too soon in an abrupt style.. for a place, no doubt which is less hostile. We’ll see you again champ, but not for while.
I take my glass and raise it high, to James Hunt a hero and one hell of a guy! To all his stories and unwillingness to comply, to becoming a champion and being sly, I’ll tip my hat as I look to the sky and pay respect as I say good-bye…