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David Purley


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#101 Coral

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 11:21

I remember when David Purley was killed...it's hard to believe it was 25 years ago. :(

R.I.P David...

Edited by Coral, 02 July 2010 - 11:24.


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#102 hannahe

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 20:52

Wow, I've only recently learnt about the hero that is David Purley. What an amazing man! Surely someone needs to write a book on him?!

After seeing the tragic Roger Williamson crash for the first time a few months ago, I can honestly say not a day goes by when I don't think about it. I'm currently reading The Lost Generation which gives a fantastic insight to the lives of those 3 lost talents as I'm sure you all know. The way David tried so desperately to save Roger just moves me to tears and the fact that he just kept trying and trying....

David Purley just amazes me, a real true hero. Everyone should know his name. RIP.

:cry:

#103 Les

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 22:08

Some threads on the Nostalgia Forum just amaze me. This is a truly stirring read about a truly heroic man.

#104 f1steveuk

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 05:42

David's son was quite keen to get a book done, but those who knew him, both family and friends are of the opinion it's best left, and I respect that. My research sits on a shelf, and it wont be me that writes it, unless asked by those whose opinion really counts, and without whom it simply cannot be written. David Purley obviously had one hell of an impact on those who knew him!

#105 hannahe

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 09:33

Yeah I totally respect that it’s up to the friends and family of David to decide if they would like a book written or not. My curiosity just gets the better of me and I always want to find out everything I can when I take an interest in something! Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing really?! It’s strange how something that happened so many years ago can have such an impact on someone like me who wasn’t even born when it happened. I wasn’t aware David had a son, wonder whether he inherited the racing genes!





#106 f1steveuk

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 17:51

Yeah I totally respect that it’s up to the friends and family of David to decide if they would like a book written or not. My curiosity just gets the better of me and I always want to find out everything I can when I take an interest in something! Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing really?! It’s strange how something that happened so many years ago can have such an impact on someone like me who wasn’t even born when it happened. I wasn’t aware David had a son, wonder whether he inherited the racing genes!


I believe he did/does race occasionally. I'd ask him but he seems to check his e mails about once a year!

#107 hannahe

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 19:17

Haha cool, I did wonder if there was a mini Purley racer out there! (Or not so mini now obviously!)

#108 F3Wrench

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:11

Hmmm... David Purley features quite a bit in the book I'm currently writing, as I shared a lot of my time with David during the F3 days of 69-71. We shared a hotel room in Brazil on one of the trips to Rio (in these benighted times it's important to point out that we ALL shared rooms, before any William Haigh insinuations are made), and he was such a great guy and terrific fun to be around. Like a lot of ex-military men he was highly principled and had amazing energy, guts, and could wring life by the scruff neck to get the most out of it.

I guess I will have to check with a great many families of those mentioned in the book to make sure no one is offended by the countless stories and anecdotes, but I don't have a bad thing to say about David. Except maybe when he took me out in a jet-boat at Interlagos and spun it at high speed, hurling me into the water....

#109 hannahe

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 18:46

Haha wow I would love to read your book!

#110 F3Wrench

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 07:36

Haha wow I would love to read your book!

Watch this space. I'm not sure how I'll get it published, as I'll probably get my ar$e sued off; the stories I have about Messrs Purley, Hunt, Walker, Kreissky, Sutcliffe, Maskell, etc will make your hair curl ;) ....

#111 charles r

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 08:40

Watch this space. I'm not sure how I'll get it published, as I'll probably get my ar$e sued off; the stories I have about Messrs Purley, Hunt, Walker, Kreissky, Sutcliffe, Maskell, etc will make your hair curl ;) ....



Particularly Kreisky no doubt....!

#112 f1steveuk

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 15:02

Particularly Kreisky no doubt....!



That was the first thing that went through my mind! He had one hell of a reputation.

I could add a further list of drivers who gave me stories and anecdotes, then stopped and said, "no, you can't put that in", maybe we should bury our manuscripts for future generations!!

#113 Barry Boor

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 15:41

Well, Kreisky is not likely to sue.

#114 sonar

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 15:58

No, but his family (or what's left of it) might.
And they probably have unlimited resources.


#115 hannahe

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 21:04

Watch this space. I'm not sure how I'll get it published, as I'll probably get my ar$e sued off; the stories I have about Messrs Purley, Hunt, Walker, Kreissky, Sutcliffe, Maskell, etc will make your hair curl ;) ....



Now I'm even more interested!

#116 charles r

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 10:58

Tomorrow marks the 26th anniversary of his death. :cry:
RIP David.

#117 f1steveuk

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 11:10

Staggering isn't it. With the Goodwood Festival just up the road, I wonder if anyone has thought about running one of "Purls'" cars up the hill.

#118 charles r

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 11:20

I was thinking along similar lines Steve, but I thought maybe a tribute at the Revival would be appropriate given his local connections and association with the circuit. DCN?

#119 f1steveuk

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 11:23

I believe David had his accident at the time he was wearing Griffin GP helmets, but I have no evidence that is what he was wearing that day, and if he was, if it was fitted with the "frangible" bolts or not. I was aware that there was an issue with catch fencing, but not that a pole had struck "Purls" in any way. Not sure that helps or not!

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#120 David M. Kane

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 16:02

David you will always be admired and respected in this house. RIP

#121 charles r

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 12:53

Isn't it high time there was a definitive book on David Purley? I know Steve W had plans, but I think they were shelved due to family reservations. It would be one hell of a story; not to say film...

Edited by charles r, 02 August 2012 - 12:55.


#122 f1steveuk

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 12:43

I have a pile of notes and pictures, but without the families input, it wont be me that writes it!

Steve H

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Edited by f1steveuk, 03 August 2012 - 12:47.


#123 roger.daltrey

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 13:19

Isn't it high time there was a definitive book on David Purley? I know Steve W had plans, but I think they were shelved due to family reservations. It would be one hell of a story; not to say film...


Certainly would be a great film - adversity, triumph, privilege, heroism, restlessness, tragedy - finishing with zoom-dolly on that park bench

I'm sure RH would be interested ??

#124 Phil Rainford

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 21:25

Although I have seen the 1973 Dutch GP incident many times ............I picked up something tonight on the "Killer Years" that summed up how unprepared circuits were to cope with such an accident

While Purely tried in vain to rescue his friend: a track marshal attempts to put out the fire by kicking some dirt from the side of the track onto the flames


PAR

#125 LittleChris

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 22:29

While Purely tried in vain to rescue his friend: a track marshal attempts to put out the fire by kicking some dirt from the side of the track onto the flames


Which I believe is how they tried to extinguish Piers Courage's burning De Tomaso 3 years earlier - by shovelling sand over it.


#126 roger.daltrey

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 14:49

Yes, but the Courage fire - like the JS 1968 Honda fire - was a magnesium one wasnt it ? And water only makes it worse.

Shovelling sand was probably all they could do ?

See for example of water on magnesium fire.

#127 LittleChris

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 21:59

Yes, but the Courage fire - like the JS 1968 Honda fire - was a magnesium one wasnt it ? And water only makes it worse.


Absolutely true Roger but you'd have hoped that lessons would've been learnt given the time that had elapsed since the Schlesser accident.


#128 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:21

Yes, but the Courage fire - like the JS 1968 Honda fire - was a magnesium one wasnt it ? And water only makes it worse.

Shovelling sand was probably all they could do ?


I think you are right. I was chatting with an ex Fireman at an event recently, discussing a photo of le Mans in 1955( taken before the start, at the point where Levegh's car would land) and the fact the magnesium fire had been such a grim feature. He said the only way to extinguish it would have been burying it in dry sand or earth. Sobering thought...

#129 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 08:57

Does anyone have a picture of Purley in the Shadow DN9B during the last two 1979 Aurora F1 events? This beside the shot of Mr. Sukup's site: http://www.asag.sk/bio/purley_79_1.jpg


#130 f1steveuk

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 17:30

Does anyone have a picture of Purley in the Shadow DN9B during the last two 1979 Aurora F1 events? This beside the shot of Mr. Sukup's site: http://www.asag.sk/bio/purley_79_1.jpg


In this shot David has borrowed his friend's Bell helmet, the friend being John Watson.

While on the subject of friends, the thing that was quite apparent from very early on in my research, David and Roger were not friends, indeed from what family and close friends did say, they had hardly really spoken to each other. Curious where the "tried to rescue his friend" portion of the story came from, probably the press.

#131 Barry Boor

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 18:08

Maybe simply an assumption based on David's obvious distress.

#132 Nemo1965

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 18:30

Yeah I totally respect that it’s up to the friends and family of David to decide if they would like a book written or not.


Interesting side-topic you raise here. I agree that the family has to right to stop a biographer from obtaining certain materials (letters, diary's, photo's) and publish these, because they are the heirs and thus owners of the material. But I have to say that both ethically and lawfully speaking, I don't agree a writer needs permission from the next of kin to write a book about anyone.

But that is perhaps beside the topic of this thread.




#133 kayemod

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 18:43

Curious where the "tried to rescue his friend" portion of the story came from, probably the press.


F1 drivers have always been a small and select group, most outsiders would probably assume that they all knew each other quite well, so that wasn't an unreasonable assumption. I'm no hero, I've never faced a situation like David Purley did, and I don't know how I'd react if something like that ever arose, but if I thought I could save someone, I don't think whether they were a friend or not would have much bearing on things. If the person in a life-threatening situation had been an anonymous Dutch bystander, I'm sure that DP would have reacted in exactly the same way, I'd hope that most of us would, if we thought there was anything we could do to help.


#134 GrumpyOldMan

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 18:43

While on the subject of friends, the thing that was quite apparent from very early on in my research, David and Roger were not friends, indeed from what family and close friends did say, they had hardly really spoken to each other. Curious where the "tried to rescue his friend" portion of the story came from, probably the press.


Yes, it sounds like the kind of thing the tabloids would do to embellish it even more.

When I read in "The Lost Generation" that they weren't at all close friends, it made his actions on that awful day even more heroic (if possible). It is easier to imagine someone putting themselves in such a dangerious situation for a close friend, but not for someone who was "just another driver". Plenty of drivers had routinely driven past such accidents in the past. Yet he had absolutely no hesitation in stopping immediately and moving heaven & earth to try to save Williamson, despite barely knowing him. The kind of heroism and selflessness that we'd all like to think we're capable of, but so few genuinely are.

Such a shame that his family are against his story being published, but of course their wishes are paramount.

#135 MCS

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 18:49

Maybe simply an assumption based on David's obvious distress.


I am certain it was an assumption. Remember Nigel Roebuck's interview (Competition Car?) and the reference to his time in Aden and "what you did" in terms of helping someone in trouble and, I am fairly sure, a subsequent comment along the lines of "I hardly knew him" - irrespective, a terrible, terrible moment in motor racing history which - to my mind, at least - must never be either forgotten or forgiven.

#136 Paolo

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 20:07

DP is a true hero of mine, but, taking for a moment aside the Williamson episode, has anyone knowledge of what kind of driver he was?

A brave "Villeneuve" type, a clean driver in the "Prost" league, a lover of oversteer or of understeer?
How god in the wet, better in quali or race?

Reading the Connew Story I suspect he was not very technical (he did fumble with a starting button to the point of ruining a race start or something in that order), but it could have been a momentary lapse.

He was a driver, let's talk about it.

#137 kayemod

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 23:15

"what you did"


Much as I said earlier, I'm sure that's the only explanation we need for David Purley's actions at Zandvoort.


#138 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 08:57

I have recently been digitising photographs I took at a motorcycle enduro in Wales in August 1980. Among the participants enjoying a biking "clubbie" on their weekends off were Derek Bell, Stuart Graham and David Purley.

Reading the accounts posted earlier in this thread about the severity of his injuries, and descriptions by Kayemod and others of types of operations he must have suffered through, I found it hard to believe that it was, indeed, David Purley who was participating in this incredibly physically testing type of event (for those who don't know, enduros in this country are long distance time trials undertaken on motocross style bikes in very difficult forest and moorland type terrains).

However, having contacted "f1steveuk", he was able to check and confirm that this was indeed David Purley, and as such it stands as a small additional record of the man's extraordinary determination:

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#139 charles r

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 11:49

A wonderful photograph Nigel - Thank you.



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#140 f1steveuk

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 13:01

It's a superb picture, and a glimpse of just what sort of man "Purls" was.

With regard to writing or not writing a book. I wanted, well still do, but if asked by those close, and I mean very close, not to, I wont, but I know there are others that would regardless. It's my personal choice not to go against certain people's wishes.

As to David as a driver, not one of the greats, but quick enough to stay with some of the names of the time, but without doubt driven by 110% courage. The story of how he took the esses at Rouen, flat, eyes shut, mentally counting "123 left, 123 right, 123 left again" while screaming into the chin bar of his helmet is testament to that, and a man with humour (Stewart; "where to you brake for the esses?", Purley; "What do you mean brake?") but I wonder how much of that humour was to disguise a doubt in his own talent? He was a racer, preferring to be dicing with someone for sixth than leading by a country mile, he raced for all the right reasons, he loved the feeling and he enjoyed it.

#141 Irisuchan

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 13:01

In this shot David has borrowed his friend's Bell helmet, the friend being John Watson.

While on the subject of friends, the thing that was quite apparent from very early on in my research, David and Roger were not friends, indeed from what family and close friends did say, they had hardly really spoken to each other. Curious where the "tried to rescue his friend" portion of the story came from, probably the press.

 

Hello all,

 

I'm Iris and I'm from the Netherlands. I've been a fan of F1 since 2001 and it's only recently I found out about the tragedy that happened at Zandvoort in 1973. It really made a big impact on me, and since I've seen the footage I've been reading about things online. It is really terrible to see the footage, but somehow it's also a really incredible moment where one driver stops and runs across the track to the burning wreck and tries to singlehandedly turn it over. I learned that this man was David Purley and to me he's a true hero.

 

Reading online, I also came across this topic and the above post struck me. I would like to join in this discussion. It's something I've been wondering about, much like I've been wondering about why it took the fire engine so long to come round, why those marshalls didn't do anything, why they thought it was Purley's car on fire etc. I still believe, though, that if those marshalls just followed the lead of David, who was so desperately motioning for them to help him, they could've succeeded in saving Roger's life.

 

Back to the quoted post by f1 steveuk; first thing to say of course is whether they were friends or not, David abandoning his own race, risking his career and his very life to save another man, is truly amazing. (He was SO close to the racing line when he tried to extinguish the fire, you can see. And of course the fire was so hot we cannot imagine). What I've read online was mostly was that they were friends, but then people contradicted that by saying "they barely knew each other". But the thing is, in the documentary "The Lost Generation" by David Tremayne, there's a continuation of that interview with David one day after the race, y'know the one where he's asked "why do you think it took the fire engines so long to get here?" and he says "it's gotta be looked into". From that same scene on the same day, there's more footage:

 

Interviewer:

If you were prepared and able to try and turn the car over, why did nobody come to your help?

 

David:

We must remember that I just climbed out of a racing car; my blood was up... he was a very good friend of mine.

Perhaps it's understandable that people won't come near a burning car, but I think we could've done something more for Roger.

 

 

As David said himself that they were friends, very good friends even, then how could they have barely known each other? That's what puzzles me. Also, in the 2004 Dutch TV documentary "Andere Tijden", photographer Cor Mooij (who shot the World Press Photo series) said that Roger was a friend of David, that David never strayed from the wreck of Roger's car at any time, and that he was the one who covered the wreck with Roger in it with a blanket.

 

So this remains a questionmark for me, but the images of David doing everything to save Roger, I will never forget.