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Surtees celebration at the 2024 Goodwood Revival

 

‘Unique’ is an over-used word, but, in the case of John Surtees, it’s entirely appropriate. He is still the only person in history to have won F1-level world championships on two and four wheels.

 

Surtees in action during the 1960 500cc Dutch TT – Joop van Bilsen

 

John Surtees would have celebrated his 90th birthday on 11th February this year and this year’s Revival in September will reflect on a truly extraordinary motorsport career, covering everything from his excellence on 250cc, 350cc and 500cc motorcycles, through to Formula 1, Can-Am and GT racing.

The 81st Members’ Meeting presented by Audrain Motorsport will see a collection of Can-Am monsters descend on the Goodwood Motor Circuit for a raucous demonstration of a legendary era of limitless sports cars. It was Surtees who won the inaugural Can-Am championship in 1966 with his own team.

Surtees’ motorsport career was intertwined with the history of Goodwood. He tested his first car there in 1959 before making his debut on four wheels in Formula Junior, racing for Ken Tyrrell at the 39th Members’ Meeting in 1960. He finished second behind Jim Clark.

The remainder of that season was remarkable. Having started his first race on four wheels in March, he made his F1 debut in May. 

He achieved his first podium two months later at the British Grand Prix and a pole position in August at the Portuguese Grand Prix. All this while maintaining his two-wheeled schedule, where he won the 350cc and 500cc world championships for MV Agusta.

Surtees was a Patron of the original Festival of Speed and rode his 1952 Vincent up the Hill on that weekend. He returned to Goodwood on numerous occasions, racing at the early Revivals and reigniting the memory of his tremendous successes at Goodwood in period.

Goodwood is keen to remember a great man who was as fiercely competitive on track as he was calm and gentle off it.

 

Surtees at the 1969 Dutch Grand Prix – Joost Evers

 

“As an eight-time world champion and the only man to achieve the honour on both two and four wheels, John Surtees was not only a huge figure in the history of the Goodwood motor circuit, but also played a big part in the establishment of our modern events,” said the Goodwood Duke of Richmond.

“Along with Stirling Moss, John was a Patron of the Festival of Speed and was deeply involved from the very beginning. 

“More than anything, he was an exceptional racer and a great friend.”

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