There have been some unforgettable moments across the motorsport globe in 2017 and Crash.net has been there to tell the story. After a long and frantic year of action here are our selection of the most memorable moments throughout the season.

Kicking things off Haydn Cobb looks over his 2017 highlights which brought the best from motorsport stars and fans alike, starting on an emotional day at Donington Park.

World Superbikes, Donington Park – Nicky Hayden tribute

As the whole motorsport world mourned the tragic loss of 2006 MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, with tributes and condolences stretching across all disciplines, it can be tough to accept that things carry on but just five days after the American’s passing his adopted World Superbike family were to race on in his honour.

Two weeks earlier Hayden had joined them on the track at Imola racing for Red Bull Honda before his accident while cycling and with a heavy heart the series continued at the British circuit and carried the memory of 'The Kentucky Kid' everywhere you looked. The American’s iconic #69 logo was adorned on every bike and rider while his Red Bull Honda squad prepared his Superbike as normal as a tribute. A moving moments silence before the opening race on Saturday provided a fitting tribute to the key figure the sport had cruelly lost.

Despite Hayden's full-time presence in the World Superbike championship stretching to just under 18 months, the number of stories, memories and tributes were unforgettable. From being the friendly motorhome neighbour to Tom Sykes to Hayden donating knee sliders to help keep Kyle Ryde race, in his own way the American had touched the lives of the entire paddock and was sorely missed.

A moment of appreciation also goes to all the Donington Park staff and race marshals as the track endured a painful year of its own. In April, Mick Whalley was killed in an accident during a support race of the British Superbike championship and less than a month later Billy Monger suffered a double leg amputation in a Formula 4 crash. The staff at Donington Park have shown compassion and professionalism of the highest standard under tragic circumstances and are a credit to the circuit.

Isle of Man TT – Senior TT race day

Firstly, a confession: This was the first time I had made it to the Isle of Man TT after growing up reading and watching the event in my teenage and early adult years. I was fortunate enough to be introduced and shown the Mountain course by those with decades of experience and an unforgettable day came perched in a roadside ditch at Cronk-y-Voddy on Senior TT race day.

With poor weather conditions earlier in the week rejigging races, the Friday of race week saw the all-electric TT Zero race, the second Sidecar race and the prestigious Senior TT. Standing in a grassy ditch all day might not sound like some people’s catch but the thrill, anticipation and suspense created watching road-side and without hundreds of camera angles provided the raw experience of racing. Few times in life do you get that close to something travelling at 180mph and it’s a rare buzz which keeps bringing competitors and fans alike back to the island again and again.

British Superbikes Brands Hatch final race – Leon Haslam congratulates Shane Byrne

The drama and tension of a title decider at a season finale can provide classic do-or-die stories – historically BSB’s 2011 climax between Tommy Hill and John Hopkins lives long in the memory – but 2017’s final race will be remembered as a true show of sportsmanship and competitive honours.

Leon Haslam, seeking a maiden title of his professional career, was on the verge of the 2017 BSB crown needing to effectively finish ahead of defending champion Shane Byrne to seal the championship in the final race of the year.

On lap six Haslam was directly in front of Byrne in fifth and sixth place respectively to effectively put the title in his hands until heartbreak struck when Haslam suffered brake failure and was forced to jump off his JG Speedfit Kawasaki at one of the fastest corners on the circuit. In the off Haslam suffered a broken wrist, thumb and ankle but nothing was hurting more than knowing he had lost the championship through no fault of his own.

But Haslam put pain and frustration to one side on his way back to the paddock and before heading to the medical centre he went on to the circuit after the race to congratulate Byrne during his title celebrations in a true moment of sportsmanship. Both riders demonstrated fight and respect in equal measure which is sometimes rarely seen and the pair were a credit to the sport that day.

F1 Italian Grand Prix – starting grid

The Tifosi at Monza are one of the most famous motorsport fan fraternities known across the world and with Ferrari looking its strongest in years with Sebastian Vettel leading the F1 drivers’ championship the passion reached fresh levels for the Italian Grand Prix.

The F1 grid walk, made world famous on TV by the magnificent Martin Brundle, can sometimes eclipse the race with the fans packed in all around, glamourous celebrities and personalities rubbing shoulders with drivers as the cars are slotted into their grid spots. It is a privileged place to be and at Monza the atmosphere this year was phenomenal, especially when Vettel and Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen made their way to the grid.

Sport needs a villain for every hero and in Tifosi eyes it was pole-sitter and title contender Lewis Hamilton who may have been accustomed to a hostile reception when fighting the Ferraris on their home track. The boos and jeers from the fans directed at Hamilton is an uncommon sight at such intensity but it hardly phased the British driver, who on that day demonstrated his title credentials by leading a Mercedes 1-2 and winning with a huge margin against the Ferraris.

Le Mans 24 Hours – finish

From a race start to a race finish, and the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hour produced another classic chapter in the race’s esteemed history which saw an LMP2 car lead when inexplicably all LMP1 challengers had faltered followed by Porsche’s eventual fightback and Aston Martin’s final lap pass on Corvette for top GT honours.

For everyone involved in the prestigious endurance race it’s a test of mettle and makes reaching the finish a sleep-deprived joy to behold. With a bird’s eye views of the pit lane and start/finish straight from the media centre, few sights match that of thousands of Le Mans fans spilling on to the track to witness the podium ceremony as history is made. Fuelled by adrenaline, caffeine and a sense of achievement after round the clock action, Le Mans always provides special stories and memories.

F1 Mexican Grand Prix – Lewis Hamilton title celebrations

For over 90% of the year most motorsport stars will carry weight of the watching world's expectations on their shoulders and when their goal has been achieved the wonderful outburst of delight can often overflow. In Mexico after another fraught race with a clash at the start, Lewis Hamilton released all his emotions from the 2017 campaign, and perhaps some overhanging from losing the title to Nico Rosberg in 2016, during his title celebrations.

From doughnuts in the stadium section to running in all directions with a Union Jack flag, plus the unfortunate onlooker trying to get in on the action only to trip and fall in front of the live TV audience, Hamilton’s fourth F1 title triumph created more history and iconic images.

But once the majority of celebrations had quietened down, and he had spoken to every TV team, radio crew and in an FIA press conference – credit to both Mercedes and Hamilton for seeing out every media engagement when they’d both rather be sipping champagne – the British driver prepared for his final press questioning of the day almost four hours after the race had finished.

With Hamilton’s mother sat at the back of the room watching on, he looked at peace with his achievements as a four-time F1 world champion while the stresses of the season washed away. Like most high-profile motorsport figures, Hamilton keeps his guard up in front of the media and this was a refreshing moment to see a victor enjoying his spoils.

What was your memorable moment of 2017? Let us know here!

2017 produced moments that will shine brightly in the history of motorsport and it has been a privilege and an honour to take a small part in it. Here’s to another storming year in 2018!

This list has been created from the moments in 2017 that were not necessarily the greatest or most dramatic but rather those incidents which stand out in our memory for their unique reasons. Most importantly, these moments remind us why we love the sport, both as fans and as journalists, and what made this season special.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...