‘It was a daunting thing to take on’ – Norfolk’s Jake Humphrey on his new book, new job and negative reactions

Local boy Jake Humphrey with his book The Inside Track at his book signing in Waterstones, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams Local boy Jake Humphrey with his book The Inside Track at his book signing in Waterstones, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Monday, November 12, 2012
12:34 PM

Formula 1 presenter Jake Humphrey was back home in Norwich signing copies of the book he says is “the full stop” to his time in the world’s most glamorous sport.

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Local boy Jake Humphrey with his book The Inside Track at his book signing in Waterstones, Norwich. Photo: Steve AdamsLocal boy Jake Humphrey with his book The Inside Track at his book signing in Waterstones, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

The 34-year-old brought Waterstone’s in Norwich to a standstill on Saturday morning as a 70-strong queue of fans formed for him to sign copies of The Inside Track: Paddocks, Pit Stops and Tales of Life in the Fast Lane.

And afterwards he admitted he had been “blown away” by the reaction, which saw every copy of the book in Waterstone’s and Jarrold bought up by eager fans.

“I was a bit nervous before the signing, and a bit worried that no one would turn up,” he said.

“It’s like the feeling you have when you hold a birthday party, before everyone arrives. But it was amazing to turn up and see the queue.”

Mr Humphrey admitted to feeling “protective” over the book, which he has written himself without the assistance of a ghostwriter.

In it, he aims to offer an insight into his time jetting around the globe as the host of the BBC’s Formula 1 coverage, as well as a revealing anecdote or two about the sport’s biggest characters.

“I wanted it to be a book that could be read by people who are relatively new to Formula 1, but for it still to have plenty new stories even for the biggest petrolheads.

“There’s lots of things in there that people won’t know about, things that happen off camera, so I hope it’s a book that has something for everyone.”

Mr Humphrey said he had been determined to write every word of the book himself, even if it meant missing out on some of the highlights of the globetrotting life – though he did admit missing his publisher’s first draft deadline.

“It was a daunting thing to take on,” he said.

“But if I’ve got my name on the book, I want it to sound like me.

“After lots of the races earlier this season, everyone would be going out having fun, but I would be stuck up in my hotel room writing my book.”

The former Framingham Earl pupil said he had taken inspiration for the book from some of the negative reactions to his choice as the BBC’s frontman.

“I remember my wife calling me in tears because she had seen some things online.

“But that made me want to prove them wrong. That’s why I threw myself into doing it all – the blog, the tweeting – to show that I could do the job.

“I’m just a lucky boy from Norfolk, and I wanted to bring people closer to the sport. It’s the same with the book.”

Mr Humphrey will move to BT next year to front the channel’s Premier League coverage, and said he is looking forward to the new challenge.

He added: “I’ve had an incredible four years covering Formula 1 and this feels like a fitting full stop to it all.”

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