Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...

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Cal
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PostColin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Cal » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:30 pm

I watched an interesting documentary on BBC HD yesterday evening: Racing Legends: Colin McRae.

Olympic hero Sir Chris Hoy tells the story of Britain's first-ever World Rally Champion, Colin McRae. Along with Colin's father, Jimmy, himself a five-time British Rally Champion, Sir Chris visits the scenes of Colin's greatest rally driving triumphs.

From exploring Colin's roots as a Scottish trials bikes champ to driving the route of the Dakar rally over the dunes of the Sahara desert, Sir Chris will re-live McRae's career and be trained to drive sideways by another big fan - American Rally Superstar Ken Block. Sir Hoy's final challenge will be to swap his push bike for a monster Subaru Impreza world rally car on a rough and ready stage of the RAC Rally, the home of Colin's famous 1995 victory.


I have an enthusiasm for rally racing and McRae's contribution looms large over the history of the motorsport. This was an hour-long documentary fronted by Sir Chris Hoy (Olympic cycling champion who is also a long-time fan of rally sport). Hoy celebrated McRae's achievements, and we were treated to a chronological retelling of McRae's rise to world champion status. It was an exciting story and certainly illustrated the highs and lows of his career.

McRae died in a tragic helicopter accident in 2007. I never really knew much about that fatal accident, but the programme, to its credit, didn't flinch from the facts. The air accident investigation report into the incident certainly pulled no punches, leveling the blame for the accident pretty categorically at McRae himself, suggesting it was reckless piloting and pointless risk-taking that resulted in the crash which killed four people (including McRae himself), two of them very young kids (one of them his own son). All were passengers in McRae's private helicopter. The accident report also revealed that at the time of the crash McRae was unlicensed to be flying the helicopter.

MacRae was a known risk-taker - his rally career, punctuated with several spectacular crashes - gives ample proof to this. Even during the latter part of his rally career suggestions were openly made about whether he pushed too hard, took too many risks, perhaps even became obsessed with winning to the point of outright recklessness. And yet the programme insisted on glorifying the man, describing him as a man 'driven to win', a man who simply could not accept second place, who pushed harder, faster than anyone else. The Senna syndrome, I suppose.

The whole documentary left me feeling ambivalent towards McRae - a man I'd previously held in high regard. Now I'm not so sure.

See the documentary on iPlayer.

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Johnny Ryall
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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Johnny Ryall » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:37 pm

Anyone who pulls stunts like that with children in tow is a cretin, undeserving of the good Macrae name.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Return_of_the_STAR » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:38 pm

Johnny Ryall wrote:Anyone who pulls stunts like that with children in tow is a cretin, undeserving of the good Macrae name.


Indeed, plus his games were too hard for me :x

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Somebody Else's Problem » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:44 pm

You play fast and loose with flight safety, especially with young children on board, then you're a banana split.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Scotticus Erroticus » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:03 pm

Well I think it's pretty fair to say that he screwed up, he paid the ultimate price for his stupidity and we're all disappointed in him. That's about as deep as this can get.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Ord » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:05 pm

Somebody Else's Problem wrote:You play fast and loose with flight safety, especially with young children on board, then you're a banana split.

Yep!

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by bongofoot » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:06 pm

Funny, I tweeted the exact same thing last night that I had mixed emotions about McRae but the general concensus was that he was still some kind of hero.

I do totally get that he was an awesome competitor and had the skills to cash the cheques he was writing but to actually risk the life of 2 kids, one of them your own, really does begger belief. You can't help but wonder what his parents actually though of him as person after his irresponsible actions killed their Grandson but this was never actually touched upon.

A great documentary about the competitior and driver but would have been good to get an idea as to how he is remembered in retrospect.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Preezy » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:24 pm

Colin McCunt.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Turboman » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:24 pm

I thought the games were great

Errkal wrote:It is amasing how people dont seem to be abel to do that.
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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Pancake » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:25 pm

Very often it's that reckless will to win that turns a good racing driver into a great one. The price for having that reckless streak is fairly obvious but there's no doubt McRae was an awesome driver to watch. I fondly remember the WRC in the 90s because of him!

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Somebody Else's Problem » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:35 pm

He may have been a great driver, but that doesn't mean he's not a banana split.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Henke » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:35 pm

Colin McRae is a local lad and was still living in my town when he died. His house is still only a few fields away from where I stay so a neighbour actually witnessed his helicopter shortly before it crashed. To make matters worse, the man I was car pooling with at the time was the godfather of the lad Ben that was a friend of the McRae family and killed in the crash. So whilst I can fully appreciate the extent of the man's mistake I still believe he's been an extremely positive influence on the town and British motorsport. The man made a mistake and he along with his family and two other families will have to pay the price for that for as long as they live, but at the end of the day a mistake is what it what. He certainly had no intention of causing the grief he did.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Snowcannon » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:42 pm

Pancake wrote:Very often it's that reckless will to win that turns a good racing driver into a great one. The price for having that reckless streak is fairly obvious but there's no doubt McRae was an awesome driver to watch. I fondly remember the WRC in the 90s because of him!


It only takes a bit of common sense to switch off that recklessness when there's young children in the plane.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Pancake » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:44 pm

Somebody Else's Problem wrote:He may have been a great driver, but that doesn't mean he's not a banana split.

You are, of course, entitled to think he is a banana split. I don't really wish to make that sort of personal judgement on him; I'd rather simply think of him as a racing driver that I enjoyed watching as a young boy.

EDIT:

Snowcannon wrote:It only takes a bit of common sense to switch off that recklessness when there's young children in the plane.

That seems a rather simple way of looking at it... For better or worse, he was who he was. It's very easy for you to sit there and say "well, he shouldn't have behaved like Colin McRae and then the tragic event wouldn't have happened".

Last edited by Pancake on Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Johnny Ryall » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:46 pm

It reminds me of Robin Ethics in a sense. Of course this was an accident and Chris was deliberate. Both are tainted in my eyes now sadly.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Gently-Parted Ringpiece » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:29 pm

As a motorsport and rally fan, Ill always regard him as something of a hero and phenomenally entertaining to watch. As a helicopter pilot, he obviously wasnt all that.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by FatDaz » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:43 am

Johnny Ryall wrote:It reminds me of Robin Ethics in a sense. Of course this was an accident and Chris was deliberate. Both are tainted in my eyes now sadly.


Benoit had mental condition from brain trauma, not really the same. As for mccrae well the report may have shown he was at fault, but it's not like he did it on purpose! Accidents do happen, lots of people die in car crashes where it's partly their own fault, doesn't automatically make them banana splits.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Somebody Else's Problem » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:15 am

FatDaz wrote:
Johnny Ryall wrote:It reminds me of Robin Ethics in a sense. Of course this was an accident and Chris was deliberate. Both are tainted in my eyes now sadly.


Benoit had mental condition from brain trauma, not really the same. As for mccrae well the report may have shown he was at fault, but it's not like he did it on purpose! Accidents do happen, lots of people die in car crashes where it's partly their own fault, doesn't automatically make them banana splits.


If they're driving recklessly with no regard to weather conditions, especially with young children in the car, then I'm afraid they are.

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Pancake » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:43 am

How very black and white the world must be for you!

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PostRe: Colin McRae: Mixed Emotions...
by Lotus » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:46 am

When I was into WRC I always rooted for McRae, after Burns.

Was a real shame when he died (sadly that applies to Burns and McRae) but I don't really see the need to level blame at him or anything. It was an accident, they happen, and whether he was being reckless or not, he's dead - not much point discussing it IMO.

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