(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000 Родился: 26.01.1945 Богнор-Риджис, Сассекс Умер: 02.07.1985 Богнор-Риджис, Сассекс Сезонов в Ф1: Лет в Ф1: 5 Гран При: Старты: 7* *не стартовал: 4 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: Поул-позиции: подряд:
Сезонов в Ф1:
Лет в Ф1:
5 Гран При: Старты: 7* *не стартовал: 4 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: Поул-позиции: подряд:
7* *не стартовал: 4 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: Поул-позиции: подряд:
4 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: Поул-позиции: подряд:
Some drivers leave behind memories far greater than the sum of their deeds, and David Purley was undoubtedly such a man: a model of personal courage, a great sportsman, and a fine racing driver as well. He began racing with a big Cobra in 1968, then moved on to a Chevron GT, before taking a shot at Formula 3 in 1970 in his family-backed Lee Refrigeration Brabham. At this stage he was a little wild and wayward, and he certainly relished the dangerous challenge presented by events such as the GP of Chimay, taking a hat-trick of wins on this road circuit between 1970 and 72.
By 1972 Purley had progressed to Formula 2, taking a splendid third place at Pau, but in 1973 he dropped down for a season of Formula Atlantic, during the course of which he hired a March to go Grand Prix racing for the first time. Although his results were forgettable, his actions at the Dutch GP when he single-handedly tried in vain to save poor Roger Williamson were certainly not. David's bravery won him the George Medal, and the admiration of the Grand Prix world.
In 1974 Purley teamed up with Peter Harper to race in Formula 2 once more and enjoyed a successful season, taking second places at the Salzburgring, Rouen and Enna, and in the end-of-year Macau GP. Back under his own Lee banner, Purley then contested two seasons of F5000 with a Chevron, taking the Shellsport championship in 1976 with six victories.
Seeing Formula 1 as unfinished business, David commissioned his own Lee chassis to race in 1977, taking a sixth place in the Race of Champions, and then briefly leading the wet Belgian GP during a round of pit stops. Disaster struck in practice for the British GP when he crashed his car, sustaining horrendous multiple injuries that would have killed a man of lesser fortitude. Displaying incredible will to survive and then recover, Purley endured months of rehabilitation, racing his Porsche in club events in preparation for a serious return to the track in the Aurora series towards the end of 1979. He may have competed in only four rounds, but a fourth place at Snetterton was an amazing achievement.
Purley then restricted his racing to occasional club events, but his love for speed and danger remained unquenchable. He took up aerobatics with a Pitts Special biplane, until fate at last caught up with him in July 1985, when his plane crashed into the sea off Bognor Regis. One of Britain's greatest characters had finally run out of luck.
(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000
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