We pay tribute to a racing legend in the week he officially retires from competitive driving
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Many accolades have been heaped upon Stirling Moss in his time. 'The greatest driver never to win the world championship' is one, 'the quintessential British racing driver' is another. 'The man who survived falling down his own domestic lift shaft' is one he probably wishes to forget.
But the point is that Moss is indubitably one of Britain's true motorsport heroes, and the news this week that he is officially to hang up his helmet and retire from competitive racing after 60 years and at the age of 81 seems like an opportune moment to reflect on one heck of a glorious career.
Of course, with Moss there are literally hundreds of motorsport moments to choose from but we've picked out two that we feel are among the most significant.
The first is that most famous of moments in motorsport time, the finishing line of the 1955 British GP at Aintree, where Moss beat Mercedes Team mate Juan Manuel Fangio to the chequered flag by just 0.2secs, becoming in the process the first Brit to win his home GP. Did he beat Fangio? Or did the gentlemanly Argentinian let him win? It's something we'll never know the answer to.
The second picture comes from the 1957 Pescara Grand Prix in Italy, where Moss took a Vanwall to victory around a gruelling 16-mile circuit (the longest ever to stage a World Championship GP) in front of a crowd of more than 200,000 fans and just over 3m 13s ahead of Fangio's Maserati 250F (you can find out more about this particular feat in 'The Last Road Race', a fantastic book by Richard Williams).
Look after yourself, Stirling; we'll miss seeing you out on the circuit...
Stirling Moss.. SIR Stirling Moss.. England/Britains greatest racing driver.. arguably the world's greatest EVER racing driver.. how so?? In an era when the stars of the day drove [almost] everything in every class at small and major events.. Moss was always the yardstick.. the MAN..the one to beat. His abilities are legendary.. heroic in single seaters.. look at his always under-powered GP wins..his 1961 Monaco GP win ranks alongside fangio's 1957 German GP win surely..? Underdog..and some.! In sportscars..well, where to start..perhaps the 1957 Nurburgring..or the 1959 finale at Goodwood, both in Astons, both spectacular, both snatched victory from disaster and certain defeat.. time and again. And that's without touching on his short but stunning rally career, I fully accept that rallying then was nowt like today..but, 2nd in the Monte.? something going on here,surely.. Todays driver ARE unquestionably fab at what they do, but, in truth, in comparison with those of Moss' era, they do in fact, very little.. one trick ponies anyone..? Stirling Moss.. SIR Stirling Moss.. for some of us.. the greatest of all time.. and most definately.. THE GREATEST LIVING ENGLISHMAN. Thank you Bill Ferry
bad company19 Jun 2011
I met SM on a cruise last Xmas / New Year. A real gent.
scarecrow19 Jun 2011
Is it true he lost the world title because he stopped mid race to help a crashed driver?