Hammond Meets Moss

Tuesday 8th June 2010

I watched an absolutely fascinating programme the other day. It was “Hammond Meets Moss“, and you can perhaps guess the basis of the show from the title. Basically it’s Richard Hammond meeting Sir Stirling Moss. Duh.

These two men have had pretty different careers. One was a top-flight racing driver, the other is a TV presenter. But they have one thing in common: they have both suffered major brain injuries. You will probably know about Hammond’s injury, after he crashed a jet car at 300mph in 2006. Moss had a career-ending accident in an F1 race at Goodwood in the 60s, when he veered off the circuit and crashed into an embankment at 110mph (the car wasn’t fitted with seatbelts, so his head hit the steering wheel). Different accidents, but the effects were similar.

Incidentally I loved Moss’s reaction to seeing Hammond’s crash: “Rather you than me, old boy”.

Moss also talks about the racing driver “mindset”, which sort of follows on from the interview I mentioned recently. But it’s fascinating hearing about how their accidents affected them, and how they recovered (or are recovering, it seems). To me this sort of injury is one of the scariest things that can happen. Even the most hideous injuries to other parts of your body only affect that thing; if you’re in an accident and you break your legs, then it means you can’t walk for a bit and it’s incredibly inconvenient. But if you suffer a brain injury, that’s you. Your brain is obviously where your personality comes from, and where your memories and whatnot are stored. The idea of having an accident that can fundamentally change who you are is a pretty terrifying one.

I know I mention lots of motorsport-related things and say “you should definitely watch this”, and I’m sure most people don’t. But this time you really, really should. The documentary isn’t merely about racing, it’s about brain injury and the effects thereof. It’s not a pleasant subject by any means, but I think this is genuinely fascinating.

Posted at 7:07 pm | Posted In: MotorsportTV Tagged:



Tuesday 8th June 2010, 9:29 pm

I’ll make a note to watch it sometime in the next few days. I have to say I’m not usually of the mindset that taking risks is an admirable or cool thing to do.

I mean sure, I could go fencing without any protective gear, but either me or my opponent is likely to wind up with a nasty hole through them, and that’s how people used to play; some psychotic nutjobs in Germany still do. In many ways that level of danger would be very detrimental to the sport itself.

Anyways, brain injury, or degenerative brain diseases, scare the living daylights out of me. I take being smart and quick on the uptake so for granted, I would miss it being gone.

Oh, and I typed all this on my iPad :)


Tuesday 8th June 2010, 10:04 pm

Damn you and your iPad… I’m so jealous.

You take risks every day – crossing the road is a risk! There’s a difference between controlled and uncontrolled risk though. F1 is a great example. In Moss’s day it was hideously dangerous; these days there’s lots done to mitigate the effects or likelihood of bad accidents, but it’s still inherently risky. But that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t race in F1, because the risks are controlled as much as possible.

We could live our lives and never take a risk at all, but how boring would that be? So I can understand why people take risks: it’s exciting. I’m fairly certain that you wouldn’t have a go in a jet-propelled car, whereas I most definitely would because it looks fun. It’s all down to how much risk you are personally willing to accept, as a trade-off for more excitement. And I have to say that I admire the bravery of people who take larger risks.


Wednesday 9th June 2010, 8:57 pm

I’m sorry, I can’t actually read this with the vertical stripes. It’s hurting my eyes just writing this comment…


Thursday 10th June 2010, 1:25 am

Ok I’ve tweaked it slightly by making the stripes similar shades, so hopefully it’s less jarring. Does that help?


Friday 11th June 2010, 5:12 am

Ooh, new theme! When’d that happen?

P.s. If I look at the source for this and it’s all still laid out with tables I’m going to hurt you.


Friday 11th June 2010, 5:15 pm

A couple of days ago. No tables in sight – although the last one didn’t use them either…

Also note how it works fine in IE :-P


Sunday 20th June 2010, 4:30 pm

I swear the last one used tables? Maybe I’m misremembering…

And yeh, but my site looking wrong in IE was a conscious choice to develop for cutting-edge standards in Firefox/Chrome. I haven’t tried the IE9 preview yet, but it’ll probably look better on that!

IE as it stands really is pants and is holding the web back, and if I’m one small part of making things better, then good.


Sunday 20th June 2010, 5:44 pm

Nope. Although the one before did. In fact I remember you telling me off for it :P

My own approach is that as long as the site is standards-compliant, it’s fine. If certain browsers don’t render it properly, then fuck them. Although at the same time, if something was completely unreadable in any of the main browsers (IE, FF, Chrome) then I’d try to fix it. Meh.


Friday 2nd July 2010, 4:59 pm

Am watching a top gear episode featuring a proper endurance race. It is so bloomin’ exciting. :D

I really want to *actually see* a proper race now.

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