The Greatest Formula One Beard – Harald Ertl

Austrian Harald Ertl is well-remembered for being one of the drivers who got Niki Lauda out of his burning car after a horrific accident in the 1976 German Grand Prix.

Harald Ertl 3Harald Ertl is also remembered for having the greatest beard and moustache in Formula One history.

Ertl worked his way up the motor racing ladder after buying himself a Formula Five car in 1969, eventually driving in Formula One from 1975-1978.

While you couldn’t exactly call his career distinguished, he barely won any races, but still climbed the ladder through Formula Three and Touring Cars. A couple of podiums in Formula Two got him enough sponsorship to drive in Formula One, which was apparently more important than actual talent back in the day.

I think we can agree that the beard helped massively. Imagine how many clean-shaven fools drove for years, winning and improving but just never got the breaks? Harald did.

Harald Ertl 2

Just look at him, I’d employ him right now.

The flamboyant moustache is the cherry on top of the big, hairy cake. In a time when driver safety wasn’t exactly a number one priority, Ertl laughed in the face of danger with all that extra protection.

Harald Ertl

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Beard of the Month – November 2014

The winner is…

Geoff Cross

Geoff Cross 4Big Geoff has been taking Scotland and the Rugby Autumn Internationals by the scruff of their neck and given them a good kicking. Rugby is pretty good at beards, but this has raised the stakes to new heights.

Geoff Cross 5Don’t make Geoff cross.

Geoff Cross 2Happily, it seems the curse of Beard of the Month won’t strike this time, and we’ve got another few months of this glorious, glorious beard.

The runners up…

Moeen Ali, English Cricketer

Moeen Ali 3It’s been a big month for Moeen Ali and the England cricket team who’ve discovered that Ali is really rather good at batting. He hit the third fastest century in one day cricket, eventually hitting 119 from 87 balls. Subsequently his beard has become seriously high-profile.

Charlie Faumuina, New Zealand Rugby Union

charlie-faumuina 2One man stepping up to the challenge from Geoff Cross is New Zealand’s Charlie Faumuina. This straggly cheeked prop has been one of the key players in a formidable All-Black for the past two years and this beard has been ever-present.

Lewis Hamilton, English Formula One

Lewis Hamilton 2This beard might not have the girth, length or meatiness of the others but it’s the one that’s been seen around the world after being attached to a Formula One champion. What it lacks in volume, it makes up for in fame.

Greatest Moustaches in Sport

Ah, Movember. The one month of the year when moustaches are socially (and quite rightly) acceptable in public. There is of course a rich history of sporting moustaches, and BeardWatch profiles the best.

Let’s start with Formula 1, where no moustachioed gentleman has been world champion in over 20 years. The last, in 1992, was Nigel Mansell.

Nigel MansellThe travesty of Formula 1 is that you have to go all the way back to 1968 to find another Mo, and it is perhaps one of the most iconic in sport beard history, Graham Hill.

Graham HillA manicured masterpiece worthy of the big screen. The long flowing hair and bushy sideburns really make this an awe-inspiring moustache. Graham Hill was the first champion to have a top lip warmer in 1962, which he followed up in 1968.

Onto athletics where, like motor racing, iconic moustaches are a bit thin on the ground. However, there is the man who promised to win the 1976 10,000m (and didn’t) and whose image was ripped off (allegedly) for the 118 188 adverts, Dave Bedford.

Dave BedfordThe trademark handlebar stays with him to this day. Another man who has sensibly kept the ‘tache is double Decathlon champion Daley Thompson.

Daley ThompsonWinning 10 events in 2 days in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics have made him a legend and widely regarded as one of the best decathletes of all time, and those guys are pretty hardcore. The moustache kept an even keel on a whirlwind career, helping him to break the world record four times.

Staying on a “greatest ever Olympian” theme, Mark Spitz surely deserves a mention.

Mark SpitzThis moustache has its own Wikipedia section, that’s what a big deal it is. Mark the Shark grew it because his coach said he couldn’t, which is probably the best reason to do anything. It obviously didn’t cause much drag in the water as he won 9 Olympic golds, 7 of them in Munich 1972 where he also set World Records in every event, something no one else has done.

The United States has a decent tradition of moustaches, and now is the time to celebrate the best of the best. Sorry to use the word iconic again, but it must apply to probably the largest owner of a moustache on this page, Hulk Hogan.

Hulk hoganIt’s just always been there, always a part of the look every time he’s reinvented himself. The man’s been wrestling since 1977 for goodness sake, and even in his 60s still pops up with his moustache to kick some ass.

In the world of Baseball, one name has stood out in my research. This is partly because the name is bizarre, but also because he’s a legend of the game – Rollie Fingers.

Rollie FingersAnd that really is his name! Well, it’s Roland, but with those twirly ‘tache tips, Rollie seems far more appropriate. Originally grown to win $300, he eventually turned down the chance to play for the Cincinnati Reds because of their ‘clean-shaven’ policy. Top man.

One of the all time great AFL/NFL moustaches belonged to Ben Davidson.

Ben DavidsonThis fine figure of a man came to American Football late in his teens as, at 6’8″, he preferred basketball. He was an AFL all-star three times, and it’s poignant to point out that he died on 2012 from Prostate Cancer, and Movember is carried out for people like Ben and his family to change the face of men’s health.

In Ice Hockey, one of the great moustache mavericks is George Parros.

George ParrosHe may look mean, but that moustache and hair cover his warm and cuddly side. ‘George Parros Mustaches’ are sold by his former team the Anaheim Ducks, with proceeds going to charity. Parros also had a line of apparel called “Stache Gear” that benefited the ‘Garth Brooks Teammates For Kids’ Foundation. If that weren’t enough, he cuts his hair once a year and donates it to a charity that makes wigs for kids who have lost their hair due to a medical condition. Badass, but in a totally different and amazing way.

Back in Europe, football is still a pretty big deal. In England, the golden moustache age was the 80s and 90s with many great examples such as Graeme Souness and Brian Kilcline typical of the shaggy haired, hirsute, halcyon days.Soccer - Football League Division One - Tottenham Hotspur v MiddlesbroughWhile Souness continues a living legend in Liverpool, Kilcine’s career never quite reached the same heights. He’s pictured above in an England tracksuit, but only played twice for the Under 21s. Meaning he must have been under 21 in that photo. Good lord…

If there are ever mavericks in a football team, you can be sure it’ll probably be the goalkeeper, and as such, there’s a fine tradition of ‘stached stoppers.

Bruce GrobbelaarTwo of the finest examples are David Seaman and Bruce Grobelaar. Seaman was the Arsenal and England number one for over a decade and the trademark tache and flowing locks were ever present, but often played second fiddle to some horrendous 90s kits. Bruce ‘Spaghetti Legs’ Grobelaar had a long career spanning Liverpool’s 80s dominance and the Zimbabwean always sported his moustache proudly.

Possibly the greatest ever football moustache belonged to the little known Dutch captain Ronald Spelbos.Soccer - World Cup Qualifier - Group Two - Ireland v HollandFor sheer commitment to the moustache, this has to be up there with the greatest ever.

Football’s been getting on board with Movember in recent years, and whilst Joey Barton often gets the attention, I believe the greatest one month moustache belonged to Grant Holt.

Grant HoltThe Norwich City legend grew this in the season they returned to Premier League football in 2011. A true captain’s effort.

In terms of girth and manliness, we finish with cricket. Don’t believe me? Check these out:

Graham GoochSome classic Graham Gooch, England captain, their all time record run scorer and one of the greatest cricketers in history. His incredible career was accompanied by this mighty mo.

David BoonBut it’s to Australia we finish our top lip tickling tour. David Boon batted for Australia for 11 years, and has become something of an Aussie cult figure, no doubt in part to this magnificent droopy little number.

Merv HughesIn the same Australian side that the ingeniously nicknamed ‘Boony’ played in, another even greater moustache featured. Merv Hughes was always a big man, despite his lengthy and somewhat ‘mincing’ bowling run ups. Regardless, his humongous handlebar made ‘Merv the Swerve’ unmissable. His other nickname, incidentally, was ‘Fruitfly’ which was eventually explained as a reference to “Australia’s greatest national pest”, due to his colourful language addressing the opposition on the field.

 

And there we have the greatest moustaches in world sport. If you know of a greater moustache that deserves a mention, leave a comment or tweet @SportBeardWatch

Beard of the Month – October 2014

The winner is…

Fetu’u Vainikolo

Fetu'u VainokoloAnd why wouldn’t he look so pleased with this fuzzy wonder nestled on his chin? The Exeter Chiefs and Tonga winger blasted his way to victory and stands as ideal preparation for his upcoming international duties. Vainikolo is in the squad for fixtures against Georgia, the USA and Scotland where his beard will be up against stiff competition.

Fetu'u Vainokolo 3

Fetu'u Vainokolo 2

The runners up:

Fernando Alonso, Spanish F1 Driver

Fernando Alonso 2The stylish Spaniard is a two-time Formula One World Champion and is now possibly the best bearded F1 driver on the circuit. The extra chin protection seems to be distracting him however, having only claimed two podium finishes so far this season.

Jordie Benn, Canadian Ice Hockey Player

Jordie BennIn Canada, they play hockey, but on ice. Who knew? There’s plenty of hirsute candidates but this is the one that caught the eye this month. Jordie Benn plays for the Dallas Stars and, wait… They have Ice Hockey in Dallas? That’s like beach volleyball in Alaska. Weird. Anyway, Jordie sports a glamorous ginger beard to keep him warm on the ice.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, American American Football Quarterback

Ryan FitzpatrickStaying on the left side of the Atlantic, yet another behemoth bearded American Footballer demands your attention. During his time with the Buffalo Bills, he was given the nicknames “Fitzmagic” and “The Amish Rifle”. He was also named as the fifth-smartest athlete in the USA in 2010. He’s now almost certainly one of the manliest.

 

2013 Formula 1 Beards

Formula 1 driver may not be the most obvious of bearded sports, but the Brazil Grand Prix showed the drivers finally awakening to the power of the beard.

Brazil Grand PrixI make that 7 beards! Both Toro Rosso drivers (top right) Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-√Čric Vergne, and (bottom row left to right) Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Vettel, and both Mclaren drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez. What a fantastic effort from a beard backward sport.

Lewis Hamilton is worth a shout for persevering over the last few years in a sport that requires a tight fitting helmet.

Lewis Hamilton 1

He’s gone for the chin strap beard, and has done for a few years now. Maybe as a reaction to being such a babyfaced rookie when he started at the top table of motor racing. We can only speculate that his off and on relationship with Nicole Scherzinger was due to her wanting him to grow a bigger beard.

The best beard of the lot has to be Jenson Button’s ginger number.

Jenson ButtonHow he fits this chin helmet in his crash helmet, I do not know.

Sebastian Vettel, Fernando AlonsoAnd as if proof were needed of beard superiority here’s Fernando Alsonso (left) and Sebastien Vettel (right) who comfortably finished 2nd and 1st in the Driver’s Championship.

Well done Formula One, you’re on the way up!