motoring correspondent
21-03-2000 of Former motor racing driver Sir Stirling Moss after he received his Knighthood from the Prince of Wales
Racing knight: Moss in 2000 after his investiture at Buckingham Palace Credit: John Stillwell/PA

三级成人视频It’s hard to think of a racing driver quite so loved by the public. Anyone hearing that you were on your way to interview Sir Stirling Moss, the racing knight, would invariably pass on best wishes, or reminisce about one of his races.

“Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?” was the fabled traffic policeman’s admonishment; one even said it to Sir Stirling himself.

三级成人视频“A policeman did once ask me,” he said, “but I couldn’t work out if he was taking the p---.”

From the start Moss was the real deal; very quick, easy on the machinery and intelligent. Alfred Neubauer, the famed Mercedes-Benz racing manager, said that Moss could “feel” his way into a crash better than any driver, which is a great if rather backhanded compliment.

三级成人视频At his first test in an HW Alta Formula 2 racing car in the winter of 1949, even legendarily taciturn race mechanic Alf Francis was moved to observe: “We all realised that here was a youngster who could really handle a fast car.”

Moss demonstrates his smooth style in a Maserati 250F during the 1956 Monaco Grand Prix Credit: Bernard Cahier/Hulton Archive

And that was in spite of the fact that the 20-year-old budding ace managed to crack the car’s sump on one of the landing lights at Odiham airfield.

三级成人视频Moss the maestro’s talent had been noticed and in the freebooting, arbitrary way of grand prix racing, he was on his way, although he was generous enough to credit Francis with being his “presiding genius”.

三级成人视频In an era where drivers died in handfuls every season, it’s easy to forget what a precocious talent Moss’s was. “Driving is like a balancing act or a dance,” he said. Contemporary photographs show a shrieking, high-speed ballet, elegant and skilled; if precarious and supremely hazardous. 

His finest hour: reunited with the Mercedes 300SLR in which he famously triumphed at the Mille Miglia in 1955

Moss didn’t boast; there was no need. It was axiomatic that if he said a car wouldn’t go any faster, it couldn’t; that if something was “hairy”, it was; and if a particular rival was a good driver, he jolly well was. And Moss was modest to a fault, even back in the day. “Who are the most important people in motor racing?” he asked rhetorically in his 1975 book How To Watch Motor Racing三级成人视频. He named spectators, “who pay all the bills”. Sadly they are no longer a constituency taken too seriously by today’s motor racing moguls

Yet in spite of his uncanny abilities (15 grand prix victories between 1951 and 1961), Moss never won a Formula One world championship. Basic decency saw him lose out to Mike Hawthorn in the 1958 title race. Hawthorn had (at Moss’s suggestion) bump-started his car against the direction of race traffic and Moss defended him in a subsequent stewards’ enquiry. Moss won the race, but in retaining his second place Hawthorn won the championship.

For Moss was generous and played a straight bat. He might have gained a reputation for bringing a business edge to the job of racing fast cars, but he had to, for unlike many racers of the day there was little family money behind him. Besides, it was possibly his innate sentimentalism and patriotism which saw him driving primarily for English racing teams, which were not always the most competitive.

At Silverstone in 1959. A patriot, he predominantly raced for British teams Credit: hulton archive

Did that “best driver never to have won the F1 world championship” label ever rile him? Not Moss, who had a way of seeing a silver lining to the blackest cloud. “It gives me my exclusivity,” he told me, “and makes me different, so it’s been a bonus. When I lost it to Mike I did feel bad, because I reckon I was quicker. By the second year, though, I thought it doesn’t really matter, provided I had the respect of other drivers.” 

三级成人视频Winning more than 40 per cent of his 529 competitive races meant that there were some great moments. In 1955 he became the first Englishman to win a British Grand Prix, finishing just 0.2 seconds ahead of his life-long rival and Mercedes team-mate, Juan Michael Fangio. Moss felt his greatest victory was the 1955 Mille Miglia, where he drove his fuel-injected, eight-cylinder Mercedes-Benz 300SLR round the 922-mile open-road circular course between Brescia and Rome in 10 hours 7.48 minutes. Journalist and sidecar champion Denis Jenkinson was in the passenger seat reading the pace notes written on a circular drum of paper.

三级成人视频I still think his greatest was the 1959 Nurburgring 1,000-kilometre race, Aston Martin’s World Sportscar Championship year, with Stirling at the acme of his talent in the Stentorian DBR1. Rival Innes Ireland’s Ecurie Ecosse Jaguar was out of the running and it looked as though Stirling was, too, when his co-driver Jack Fairman slid off the road at Brünnchen corner and literally manhandled 1,900lb of car back on the circuit. All hope seemed lost until Fairman rumbled back into the pits and Stirling hauled him out and began a remarkable charge.

Moss eases the Aston Martin DBR1 to victory in the 1958 1,000 km race at the Nurburgring Credit: Hulton Aarchive

三级成人视频“I drove out to the Flugplatz,” wrote Ireland. “A couple of miles from the start. The circuit there goes over a hump, then over a bridge and into an uphill right-hander. Stirling would come hurtling through there with the DBR1 and you could see he was miles faster than anyone else and really motoring! 

“Every lap he was visibly closer to the Ferraris and the spectators were hanging out of the trees, from skyhooks, you name it, waving and cheering him on. As he came over the bump the car got terribly light, then it banged into the dip and up to the right-hander and Stirling – driving right on the door handles and with bags of opposite lock – was waving back at them! I thought: ‘S---, this is something else.’”

Stirling caught and passed the Ferraris and won by 41 seconds. What a drive! What a driver! Reading Ireland’s words still sends shivers down my spine, almost as if I’d been there watching the bouncing, dancing, wailing DBR1, the smell of oil, the grin, the wave and the flash of Aston racing green through the Green Hell...

Moss was famously denied becoming Britain's first F1 world champion when his sportsmanship allowed Mike Hawthorn (right) to take the 1958 title. Left is famed racing team owner Rob Walker

三级成人视频Mind you, Moss had had to nail it, since he’d undertaken to pay for the entire trip after Aston racing manager John Wyer had told him that the company’s owner David Brown wouldn’t countenance the expenditure.

三级成人视频“I cannot believe I did that,” he once told me. “I remember going to John Wyer and saying; ‘We’ve got to go over to the Nürburgring, the car is suited to the circuit and by God I reckon we could win the race and that would give you the world title’. I can’t remember his exact reply, but it would have been something about DB’s [David Brown] pockets being tight and so I made this ridiculous offer that if they wouldn’t go then I’d pay for it. 

三级成人视频“As soon as the words were out, I thought, what have I done? Luckily it wasn’t put to the test. It could have cost me a lot of money...”

Moss’s reputation for being tight with his money certainly had some precedent, but he could also be extraordinarily generous with his time and advice. “Just bring a couple of bottles of Wolf Blass chardonnay,” he would instruct. “It’s Lady Susie’s [Moss] favourite tipple.”

Sir Stirling and Lady Moss in 2010 Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA

And for a couple of bottles of the amber wine he’d open up his memory, pulling down his meticulously assembled scrapbooks to check facts, reminiscing, laughing, advising (“Get your teeth fixed in Bangkok,” he once told me) and then give you a tour of his latest gadgets and cars, of which he’d be inordinately proud. I’ve spent hours in his Mayfair house and filled notebooks as a result.

三级成人视频Andrew Frankel, journalist and racing driver, had similar experiences. "It was one of the happiest and most privileged moments of my life," he recalls of a meal with Moss at the Monaco Historic race meeting in 2014. " I should think any one of the crowd would have queued round the block to have a chance of dining with Sir Stirling Moss, yet he chose to eat with me, my brother and Lady Susie.

三级成人视频"I remember not the food, or the restaurant, but of laughing and laughing, because what people don't realise is what a tremendous sense of humour he had. And while he did have a reputation for being irascible and curmudgeonly, that was partly because he was an immensely shy man who took a lot of time to get to know people, but once he did, he was great, great company."

A crash at Goodwood on Easter Sunday in 1962 put paid to his racing career aged 32 Credit: Antonia Hille/Hulton Archive

It was all cut short of course, with that terrible crash at Goodwood on Easter Monday 1962 which effectively ended his racing career. Moss reckoned the accident was one of the few regrets of his career. “I was only 32 and Fangio retired at 47,” he said, “so I still had a good few years – that’s my only regret.”

He was always cheerful about things though, reminding himself that he’d been very lucky not have been called Hamish, which was his mother’s choice of name. “I think that if I’d been Hamish Moss, it wouldn’t have been as easy to say, or as recognisable,” he said.

And now he’s gone and while he hadn’t been well for some time, his passing is still a shock for everyone. At this strange and sad time Moss is joining a litany of fine folk gone to meet their maker.

三级成人视频And even as I pass on condolences to his family and friends I can’t help wondering if he’ll be meeting Fangio up there.

Moss said of the Argentinian driver: “Such a fantastic man, charming, extremely fast and very genuine. I could beat him in sports  cars, but in Formula One I only beat him in the British Grand Prix. Otherwise we were known as ‘the train’ and I would literally follow him for the whole three hours. 

“I learned an awful lot and I was quite happy and proud to be second to the best driver in the world.”

What a ethereal racing grid that would be, but I still think Sir Stirling would beat him by a nose, waving all the way…

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