I was not a Niki Lauda fan in the 1970s. I was in the James Hunt camp. He was British, I was growing up in Northern Ireland. He drove a McLaren. My name started with “Mc”. Upon such small things are loyalties decided. Our family were motorsport fans, led by my late father. My dad would take his three boys to the Kirkistown Circuit to watch motorbike racing. It was close to Kircubbin, where my mother was born, and Portaferry, where he had been raised. We watched Ray McCullough race Joey Dunlop there. My dad bought a copy of the Motorcycle News every week. We boys had little choice but to fall in love with it. We were living in SA when I became a Lauda fan. He joined McLaren and his teammate was John Watson, the Northern Irishman. The family would watch Formula One races together. We cheered on Lauda. We willed on Watson. Our dad took us to Kyalami and we stood on the back of his bakkie, parked near Clubhouse Bend and the Esses, and watched Lauda win there in 1984, the third time he h...

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