Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stirling, Say It's Not True / Stirling Moss

As the years would saunter by, I would usually see Stirling Moss at the Monterey Historics driving some kind of ancient machine. It was as if the world was still OK ... here's someone I never saw race, but always heard the amazing stories and there he was, out on the track.

There is little doubt that Stirling Moss was the greatest driver ever not to win the World Championship.
Where his friend, mentor and arch-rival Fangio excelled in Grand Prix racing, Moss was a brilliantly versatile all-rounder who could perform as well in grueling sportscar events such as LeMans, the Targa Florio or the Tourist Trophy as he did in Formula One. From 1948-1962 Stirling entered 527 races, races finished, 375, races won, 212.

Moss's active career in top line competition ended when his Lotus left the road at Goodwood during a Glover Trophy race in1962, and he received serious head injuries.  In 1980 he made a brief comeback in British Touring Car racing with Audi. Since then he has been active in the Motorsports arena, including Vintage Car Racing. However, 60 years after his first race, he has announced his retirement from the sport.

Looking back, some 50 years ago he was just 800 meters from a win at the Targa in a Porsche RS60 when a transmission failure put an end to his day. Last year, in his own near-identical Porsche RS60 Spyder at the Monterey Historic Reunion, the car spun without warning during a morning warm-up and was hit hard by a Lotus XI. The car has since been rebuilt, and even though testing seemed promising at a recent practice day, he called it quits.

"This afternoon I scared myself
and I have always said that if I felt I was not up to it,
or that I was getting in the way of fellow competitors,
then I would retire" --Stirling Moss.

James Garner and Stirling at the 1970 Times Grand Prix at Riverside Raceway.  Image ©  Bob Lampert.

Moss driving in the Mercedes Benz 300SLR in the 1955 Mille Miglia along with Denis Jenkinson. They won the race. Image © Daimler Chrysler.
Stirling Moss at the wheel of an Aston Martin.
Moss in a Lotus winning the German GP at Nurburgring in 1961.

Stirling Moss at the wheel of his Mercedes Grand Prix car.
Related post: Talking About Stirling

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