As “Strietzel” was relating this tragic event to me, I began to wonder why no one had yet come up with the idea of filming the story of Ronnie and Barbro Peterson – a story with all the ingredients of a great Hollywood drama: courage and heroism, victory and defeat, love and death. I’ve never read anything about it either. Someday, I said to myself on Canada’s Dempster Highway, I’m going write it down. Now, twenty-one years later – I truly am a lazy dog – I’ve finally gotten around to it.
My story starts in 1969, on the dance floor of the Prisma Night Club in Örebro, an unexciting small town in central Sweden that is home to a castle, a university and a water tower. A shy, clumsy young man – twenty-five years old, 1.85 meters tall, roundish baby-face, melancholic gaze – gathers up all his courage and approaches a woman three years his junior, who, with her long blond hair, full lips and thoroughly seductive overbite, looks a bit like Brigitte Bardot. In any case, she was the most beautiful secretary in all of Örebro. But where did the baby-faced young man get all that courage from? Quite simple: He was – hard to believe, because he was yawning all the time – the fastest Formula 3 driver in the world with sixteen victories in the last season! A few months before, he had won the prestigious race in Monaco, and now he had a pre-contract for Formula 1 in his pocket. With such laurels, of course, you can easily make a pass at a blonde you wouldn’t normally even dare to dream of. The son of a baker was an elevator mechanic by trade. And like the secretary Barbro Edwardsson, he was from Örebro.