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|Location||Watkins Glen Circuit, USA|
|Prints issue||LIMITED EDITION 50 prints ONLY|
|Shooting date||2 octobre 1977|
James Simon Wallis Hunt. Women loved him, men envied him, and corner marshals learned to keep him at arms length.
Who could be a better personification of all that has changed, from the "romantic" era of the 70's to the image Formula 1 presents today? His was a soul that thrived on the romance of the desperate fight; the challenge of fleeting moment. He lived life in a 65-second minute; devouring as much stimulation as possible, for tomorrow was never a certainty.
During his 1976 Championship season, when James’ back was against the wall and catching up seemed impossible, he was absolutely at his best. His was also a character made of intangible grit that craved producing results under the most extreme pressure; when nothing less than his absolute best could save the day. When only winning could keep him in the 1976 Championship battle, he won.
The US Grand Prix was his second victory of the 1977 season, he would win only one more time in his career, just 22 days later at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Perhaps later on in his career, when situations weren’t as dire, he lost the fire because he simply missed that intensity. He left F1 in the middle of the 1979 season, having departed McLaren for Wolf. As would be an often repeated statement by many driver’s of the day, he blamed the technology of the cars, and how their ground effects and rock-hard suspensions took all of the skill and enjoyment out of racing them. Not willing to be just a passenger in F1 as the dangers increased, he called it a career.
As he grew older, he began to calm, and took up reporting on F1 with Murray Walker on BBC2. His straight-to-the-point comments were a breathe of fresh air. Sadly, his years of off-track abuses would prove to have damaged him beyond sustainability. Without any hint, James Hunt died of a heart attack, just a day after proposing to fiancee Helen Dyson. He was 45.
He was a glorious “one-off” that we’ll never see the likes of again.
I made this image with a Nikon F3, and a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens, using Kodak Tri-X film rated at 1600 ASA, 1/250 second at f/4, late in the afternoon of October 2, 1977, at the Grand Prix Circuit at Watkins Glen, NY, USA.