Books: REGGA

The Extraordinary two lives of Clay Regazzoni

By Christopher Hilton

Foreword by Sir Frank Williams

Publication Date: OUT NOW! ● ISBN: 978 1 84425 479 8 ●

                              RRP: £35.00 ● Format: Hardback ●

 ‘Clay Regazzoni has a permanent place in the hearts of the Williams Grand Prix team. He was a charming person, very experienced and part of a generation that would always do outrageous things. If Clay thought it was fun to drive his hire car into a swimming pool he would drive it straight in – and at racing speed if he could‘.         Sir Frank Williams

I had the good f or tune to live the last years when racing was still an adventure, where the cars – without wings, with smaller tyres – were beautiful and really had to be driven.’   Clay Regazzoni

These are the words of Clay Regazzoni and they capture the essence of the man.

Clay Regazzoni was a cult figure in a glorious period of mot or sport history. He spent six seasons with Ferrari and actually made Enzo Ferrari cry when he won Monza in 1970. At that moment his career moved from a reputation for crashing and bashing to legend. He remained that for the rest of his life. He had a further claim to legend: he gave Williams their maiden Grand Prix victory in 1979. 

He adored speed and he defied danger - it took him to the Le Mans 24hr race, the Indy 500 and a lot of other places in sports cars.

The legend is bigger. He lived hard and loved hard. He liked women and he didn't like traffic policemen. He liked disgraceful practical jokes. He was a man from another, more gallant era who saw death among his comrades and moured and continued.   

Of his 132 Grands Prix he took five pole positions and won five. Two of these wins were genuinely mem or able but, in the hist or y of F or mula 1, they scarcely amount to a career approaching anything to sustain the whole legend.

That lies in the sands of Africa, the mountains of South America and the dirt roads of China. 

He had an horrendous crash at Long Beach in 1980 and it left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. From there he became an inspirational figure for paralysed people, developing hand-control systems, and teaching how to race and compete.

He went on Paris-Dakar Rallies – he once tried to take a 400km sh ort cut through the jungle in the Congo – and those Dakars were  panoramas of modern danger. He drove trucks and cars with the hand controls, and, the force of his life still ruling him, did it at racing speed. It was the only speed he had ever known or ever would know – and it was speed that took his life in December 2006, when he crashed on the autostrada near Parma.

All this is the essence of the man and what you’ll be reading. It is - amazingly - the first English-language biography of a motor racing giant, written with the  memories of family, friends and foe. It is illustrated by a wealth of material never seen before covering both the extraordinary lives: before Long Beach and after. 


Related Motorsport Articles

82,693 articles