Goodwood pays tribute to motor racing legend John Surtees

Goodwood bosses have paid tribute to John Surtees '“ the only man to win world championships on two wheels and four.

Saturday, 11th March 2017, 7:51 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:02 am
John Surtees prepares to drive a 1967 Lola T70 Spyder at Goodwood Revival in 2014 / Picture: Malcolm Wells (142598-1503)

Surtees, who died on Friday afternoon, had raced at Goodwood during a glittering career and more recently been a regular at events such as the Festival of Speed and Revival for many years – and was a huge crowd favourite at the West Sussex track.

A statement issued by Goodwood said: ‘Everyone at Goodwood is saddened to hear the news today that motorsport god John Surtees has died after a short illness, at the age of 83.

‘The only man, almost certainly in perpetuity, to win the World Championship on two and four wheels, Surtees was a gritty racer, successful team boss and tireless charity campaigner who held a special place in the hearts of race fans all over the world.

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‘Appropriately, he made his four-wheeled debut in a Formula Junior race here at Goodwood in 1960, duking it out with fellow future world champion Jim Clark.

‘Surtees’ extensive CV includes seven motorcycle world titles in the 1950s, the Formula 1 crown for Ferrari in 1964, the inaugural Can-Am title in 1966 and numerous World Sportscar Championship race wins for Ferrari.’

It is expected that tributes to Surtees will be a theme of Goodwood’s motorsport events this year.

Surtees, who won the F1 title with Ferrari in 1964 to add to his 500cc motorcycle world titles from 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960, ‘passed away peacefully this afternoon’ his family announced. His wife Jane and daughters Leonora and Edwina were by his side.

Their statement added: ‘It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our husband and father, John Surtees CBE.

‘John, 83, was admitted to St George’s Hospital, London in February with an existing respiratory condition and after a short period in intensive care he passed away peacefully this afternoon.

‘John was a loving husband, father, brother and friend. He was also one of the true greats of motorsport and continued to work tirelessly up until recently with The Henry Surtees Foundation and Buckmore Park Kart Circuit.

‘We deeply mourn the loss of such an incredible, kind and loving man as well as celebrate his amazing life. He has set a very real example of someone who kept pushing himself at his peak and one who continued fighting until the very end.

‘We would like to thank all the staff at St George’s Hospital and The East Surrey Hospital for their professionalism and support during this difficult time for us. Thank you also to all of those who have sent their kind messages in recent weeks. Funeral details will be announced in due course.’

During a motorcycle career which saw him race for Norton and MV Augusta, he also became the first man to win the Senior TT on the Isle of Man three years in succession.