John Surtees

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John Surtees
John Surtees.JPG
John Surtees sitting in his Ferrari signing autographs at Brands Hatch in 1964
Nationality United Kingdom British
Born (1934-02-11) 11 February 1934 (age 80)
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years 1952 - 1960
First race 1952 500cc Ulster Grand Prix
Last race 1960 500cc Nations Grand Prix
First win 1955 250cc Ulster Grand Prix
Last win 1960 500cc Nations Grand Prix
Team(s) Norton, MV Agusta
Championships 350cc - 1958, 1959, 1960
500cc- 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960
Starts Wins Podiums Poles F. laps Points
49 38 45 N/A 34 350
Formula One World Championship career
Active years 19601972
Teams Lotus, Cooper, Lola, Ferrari, Honda, BRM, McLaren, Surtees
Races 113 (111 starts)
Championships 1 (1964)
Wins 6
Podiums 24
Career points 180
Pole positions 8
Fastest laps 11
First race 1960 Monaco Grand Prix
First win 1963 German Grand Prix
Last win 1967 Italian Grand Prix
Last race 1972 Italian Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 19631965, 1967
Teams Scuderia Ferrari
Lola Cars/Team Surtees
Best finish 3rd (1964)
Class wins 0

John Surtees, OBE (born 11 February 1934, Tatsfield, Surrey) is a British former Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and Formula One driver from England. He was a four-time 500cc motorcycle World Champion – winning that title in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 – the Formula One World Champion in 1964, and remains the only person to have won World Championships on both two and four wheels. He founded the Surtees Racing Organisation team that competed as a constructor in Formula One, Formula 2 and Formula 5000 from 1970 to 1978. He is also the ambassador of the Racing Steps Foundation.

Motorcycle racing career[edit]

Surtees is the son of a south London motorcycle dealer.[1] He had his first professional outing in the sidecar of his father's Vincent, which they won. However, when race officials discovered Surtees's age, they were disqualified.[1] He entered his first race at 15 in a grasstrack competition. In 1950, at the age of 16, he went to work for the Vincent factory as an apprentice.[1][2] He made his first headlines in 1951 when he gave Norton star Geoff Duke a strong challenge in an ACU race at the Thruxton Circuit.[1]

In 1955, Norton race chief Joe Craig gave Surtees his first factory sponsored ride aboard the Nortons.[1] He finished the year by beating reigning world champion Duke at Silverstone and then at Brands Hatch.[1] However, with Norton in financial trouble and uncertain about their racing plans, Surtees accepted an offer to race for the MV Agusta factory racing team., where he soon earned the nickname figlio del vento (son of the wind).[3]

In 1956 Surtees won the 500cc world championship,[4] MV Agusta's first in the senior class.[3] In this Surtees was assisted by the FIM's decision to ban the defending champion, Geoff Duke, for six months because of his support for a riders' strike for more starting money.[5] In the 1957 season, the MV Agustas were no match for the Gileras and Surtees battled to a third place finish aboard a 1957 MV Agusta 500 Quattro.[1][4][6]

When Gilera and Moto Guzzi pulled out of Grand Prix racing at the end of 1957, Surtees and MV Agusta went on to dominate the competition in the two larger displacement classes.[1] In 1958, 1959 and 1960, he won 32 out of 39 races and became the first man to win the Senior TT at the Isle of Man TT three years in succession.[4][7]

John Surtees at the 1965 1000 km Nürburgring.
John Surtees (left) and Mauro Forghieri in 1965

Racing car career[edit]

In 1960, at the age of 26, Surtees switched from motorcycles to cars full-time, making his Formula 1 debut racing for Lotus in the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. He made an immediate impact with a second place finish in only his second Formula One race, at the 1960 British Grand Prix, and a pole position at his third race, the 1960 Portuguese Grand Prix.[2] After spending the 1961 season with the Yeoman Credit Racing Team driving a Cooper T53 "Lowline" managed by Reg Parnell and the 1962 season with the Bowmaker Racing Team, still managed by Reg Parnell but now in the V8 Lola Mk4, he moved to Scuderia Ferrari in 1963 and won the World Championship for the Italian team in 1964.[2][8]

On 25 September 1965, Surtees had a life-threatening accident at the Mosport Circuit (Ontario, Canada) whilst practicing a Lola T70 sports racing car.[2] A front upright casting had broken. Surtees made a full recovery and competed with a T70 in the inaugural Can Am series in 1966, winning three races of six to become champion over other winners Dan Gurney (Lola), Mark Donohue (Lola) and Phil Hill (Chaparral) as well as the likes of Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon (both in McLarens).

The 1966 season saw the introduction of new, larger 3-litre engines to Formula One. Surtees's debut with Ferrari's new F1 car was at the 1966 BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone, where he qualified and finished a close second behind Jack Brabham's 3-litre Brabham BT19. A few weeks later, Surtees led the Monaco Grand Prix, pulling away from Jackie Stewart's 2-litre BRM on the straights, before the engine failed. A fortnight later Surtees survived the first lap rainstorm which eliminated half the field and won the Belgian Grand Prix.

Due to perennial strikes in Italy, Ferrari could only afford to enter two cars (Ferrari P3s) for the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans instead of its usual entry of three prototypes (a third P3 was entered by the N.A.R.T. and driven by Pedro Rodríguez and Richie Ginther). Under Le Mans rules in 1966 each car was only allowed two drivers per car. Surtees was omitted from the line-up and one team Ferrari was to be driven by Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti and the other by Jean Guichet and Lorenzo Bandini. When Surtees questioned Ferrari team manager as to why, as the Ferrari team leader, he would not be allowed to compete, Dragoni told Surtees that he did not feel that he was fully fit to drive in a 24-hour endurance race due to the injuries he has sustained late 1965. This excuse was deeply upsetting to Surtees, and he immediately quit the team. This decision, cost both Ferrari and Surtees, the Formula 1 Championship in 1966. Ferrari finished second to Brabham-Repco in the manufacturers' championship and Surtees finished second to Jack Brabham in the drivers' championship.[2][9][citation needed] Surtees finished the season driving for the Cooper-Maserati team, winning the last race of the season and finishing second in the drivers' championship, 14 points behind Brabham.

Surtees moved to the new Japanese Honda team for the 1967 season.[2] He took pole position for the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, but the car's V12 engine suffered from reliability problems in the race. At the Italian Grand Prix Surtees slipstreamed Jack Brabham to take Honda's second F1 victory by 0.2 seconds. Surtees finished fourth in the 1967 drivers' championship.[8]

The same year, Surtees drove in the Rex Mays 300 at Riverside, near Los Angeles, in a United States Auto Club season-ending road race. This event pitted the best American drivers of the day — normally those who had cut their teeth as professional drivers on oval dirt tracks — against veteran Formula One Grand Prix drivers, including Jim Clark and Dan Gurney.

In 1970, Surtees formed his own race team, the Surtees Racing Organisation, and spent nine seasons competing in Formula 5000, Formula 2 and Formula 1 as a constructor.[2] He retired from competitive driving in 1972, the same year the team had their greatest success when Mike Hailwood won the European Formula 2 Championship.[10] The team was finally disbanded at the end of 1978.

After Formula One[edit]

John Surtees in 2006

For a while in the 1970s Surtees ran a motorcycle shop in West Wickham, Kent and a Honda car dealership in Edenbridge, Kent. He continues his involvement in motorcycling, participating in classic events with bikes from his stable of vintage racing machines. He also remains involved in single-seater racing cars and held the position of chairman of A1 Team Great Britain, in the A1 Grand Prix racing series from 2005-7. His son, Henry Surtees competed in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, Formula Renault UK Championship and the Formula BMW UK championship for Carlin Motorsport,[11] before he died whilst racing in the Formula 2 championship at Brands Hatch on 19 July 2009.[12]

In 1996, Surtees was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.[13] The FIM honoured him as a Grand Prix "Legend" in 2003.[14] Already a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.[15]

In 2013 he was awarded the Segrave Trophy in recognition of multiple world championships, and being the only person to win world titles on 2 and 4 wheels.

Racing record[edit]

Motorcycle Grand Prix results[4][7][edit]

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6
Points 8 6 4 3 2 1

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Class Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Points Rank Wins
1952 500cc Norton SUI
-
IOM
-
NED
-
BEL
-
GER
-
ULS
6
NAT
-
ESP
-
1 18th 0
1953 125cc EMC IOM
DNS
NED
-
GER
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
ESP
-
0 - 0
350cc Norton IOM
DNS
NED
-
BEL
-
GER
-
FRA
-
ULS
-
SUI
-
NAT
-
0 - 0
500cc Norton IOM
DNS
NED
-
BEL
-
GER
-
FRA
-
ULS
-
SUI
-
NAT
-
ESP
-
0 - 0
1954 350cc Norton FRA
-
IOM
11
ULS
Ret
BEL
-
NED
-
GER
-
SUI
-
NAT
-
ESP
-
0 - 0
500cc Norton FRA
-
IOM
15
ULS
5 †
BEL
-
NED
-
GER
-
SUI
-
NAT
-
ESP
-
0 - 0
1955 250cc NSU FRA
-
IOM
-
GER
Ret
NED
-
ULS
1
NAT
-
8 7th 1
350cc Norton IOM
4
GER
3
BEL
-
NED
-
ULS
3
NAT
-
11 6th 0
500cc Norton ESP
-
FRA
-
IOM
29
BEL
-
NED
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
0 - 0
BMW GER
Ret
1956 350cc MV Agusta IOM
DSQ
NED
2
BEL
1
GER
Ret
ULS
-
NAT
-
14 4th 1
500cc MV Agusta IOM
1
NED
1
BEL
1
GER
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
24 1st 3
1957 350cc MV Agusta GER
Ret
IOM
4
NED
Ret
BEL
Ret
ULS
Ret
NAT
Ret
3 10th 0
500cc MV Agusta GER
Ret
IOM
2
NED
1
BEL
Ret
ULS
Ret
NAT
4
17 3rd 1
1958 350cc MV Agusta IOM
1
NED
1
BEL
1
GER
1
SWE
-
ULS
1
NAT
1
48 1st 6
500cc MV Agusta IOM
1
NED
1
BEL
1
GER
1
SWE
-
ULS
1
NAT
1
48 1st 6
1959 350cc MV Agusta FRA
1
IOM
1
GER
1
SWE
1
ULS
1
NAT
1
48 1st 6
500cc MV Agusta FRA
1
IOM
1
GER
1
NED
1
BEL
1
ULS
1
NAT
1
56 1st 7
1960 350cc MV Agusta FRA
3
IOM
2
NED
1
ULS
1
NAT
Ret
26 1st 2
500cc MV Agusta FRA
1
IOM
1
NED
Ret
BEL
1
GER
1
ULS
2
NAT
1
46 1st 5

† The 500 cc race was stopped by bad weather, and the FIM excluded the race from the World Championship.

Complete World Championship Formula One results[8][edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 WDC Points
1960 Team Lotus Lotus 18 Climax Straight-4 ARG MON
Ret
500 NED BEL FRA GBR
2
POR
Ret
ITA USA
Ret
14th 6
1961 Yeoman Credit
Racing Team
Cooper T53 Climax Straight-4 MON
Ret
NED
7
BEL
5
FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
GER
5
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
12th 4
1962 Bowmaker-Yeoman Racing Team Lola Mk4 Climax V8 NED
Ret
MON
4
BEL
5
FRA
5
GBR
2
GER
2
USA
Ret
RSA
Ret
4th 19
Lola Mk4A ITA
Ret
1963 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156 Ferrari V6 MON
4
BEL
Ret
NED
3
FRA
Ret
GBR
2
GER
1
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
MEX
DSQ
RSA
Ret
4th 22
1964 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 158 Ferrari V8 MON
Ret
NED
2
BEL
Ret
FRA
Ret
GBR
3
GER
1
AUT
Ret
ITA
1
1st 40
North American Racing Team USA
2
MEX
2
1965 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 158 Ferrari V8 RSA
2
MON
4
BEL
Ret
FRA
3
5th 17
Ferrari 1512 Ferrari Flat-12 GBR
3
NED
7
GER
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA MEX
1966 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312/66 Ferrari V12 MON
Ret
BEL
1
2nd 28
Cooper Car Company Cooper T81 Maserati V12 FRA
Ret
GBR
Ret
NED
Ret
GER
2
ITA
Ret
USA
3
MEX
1
1967 Honda Racing Honda RA273 Honda V12 RSA
3
MON
Ret
NED
Ret
BEL
Ret
FRA GBR
6
GER
4
CAN 4th 20
Honda RA300 ITA
1
USA
Ret
MEX
4
1968 Honda Racing Honda RA300 Honda V12 RSA
8
7th 12
Honda RA301 ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL
Ret
NED
Ret
FRA
2
GBR
5
GER
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
Ret
USA
3
MEX
Ret
1969 Owen Racing Organisation BRM P138 BRM V12 RSA
Ret
ESP
5
MON
Ret
NED
9
FRA 11th 6
BRM P139 GBR
Ret
GER
DNS
ITA
NC
CAN
Ret
USA
3
MEX
Ret
1970 Team Surtees McLaren M7C Cosworth V8 RSA
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
BEL NED
6
FRA 18th 3
Surtees TS7 GBR
Ret
GER
9
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
5
USA
Ret
MEX
8
1971 Brooke Bond Oxo / Team Surtees Surtees TS9 Cosworth V8 RSA
Ret
ESP
11
MON
7
NED
5
FRA
8
GBR
6
GER
7
AUT
Ret
ITA
Ret
CAN
11
USA
17
19th 3
1972 Team Surtees Surtees TS14 Cosworth V8 ARG RSA ESP MON BEL FRA GBR GER AUT ITA
Ret
CAN USA
DNS
NC 0

Non-Championship Formula One results[edit]

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
1961 Yeoman Credit
Racing Team
Cooper T53 Climax Straight-4 LOM
3
GLV
1
PAU BRX
Ret
VIE AIN
4
SYR
Ret
NAP LON SIL
Ret
SOL KAN
3
DAN
Ret
MOD
Ret
FLG
10
OUL
Ret
LEW VAL RAN NAT RSA
1962 Bowmaker-Yeoman Racing Team Lola Mk4 Climax V8 CAP BRX
Ret
LOM
Ret
LAV
Ret
GLV
Ret
PAU AIN
Ret
INT
3
NAP MAL
1
CLP RMS
Ret
SOL
WD
KAN
Ret
MED DAN
Ret
OUL
Ret
MEX
Ret
RAN
3
NAT
1963 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 156 Ferrari V6 LOM GLV PAU IMO
WD
SYR
WD
AIN INT
Ret
ROM SOL KAN MED
1
AUT OUL RAN
1
1964 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 158 Ferrari V8 DMT NWT SYR
1
AIN
WD
INT
Ret
SOL
2
MED RAN
1965 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 158 Ferrari V8 ROC
Ret
SYR
2
SMT INT
2
MED RAN
1966 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312/66 Ferrari V12 RSA SYR
1
INT
2
OUL
1967 Honda Racing Honda RA273 Honda V12 ROC
Ret
SPC
3
INT SYR OUL ESP
1968 Honda Racing Honda RA300 Honda V12 ROC
Ret
INT OUL
1969 Owen Racing Organisation BRM P138 BRM V12 ROC
DNS
INT MAD OUL
1970 Team Surtees McLaren M7C Cosworth V8 ROC
Ret
INT OUL
1
1971 Brooke Bond Oxo / Team Surtees Surtees TS9 Cosworth V8 ARG ROC
3
QUE SPR
Ret
INT
12
RIN
3
OUL
1
VIC
6
1972 Team Surtees Surtees TS14 Cosworth V8 ROC BRA INT
3
OUL REP VIC

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Noyes, Dennis; Scott, Michael (1999), Motocourse: 50 Years Of Moto Grand Prix, Hazleton Publishing Ltd, ISBN 1-874557-83-7 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Formula 1 Hall of Fame". formula1.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Smith, Robert (January–February 2013). "Last of the Breed: MV Agusta 850SS". Motorcycle Classics 8 (3). Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d "John Surtees career statistics at MotoGP.com". motogp.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Geoff Duke Must Finish Six Months' Suspension". The Bulletin. 18 August 1956. p. 8. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Alan Cathcart (July–August 2007). "1957 MV Agusta 500 Quattro". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  7. ^ a b "John Surtees Isle of Man TT results at iomtt.com". iomtt.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "John Surtees Formula One statistics". 4mula1.ro. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans. by A.J.Baime Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. ISBN 978-0-618-82219-5
  10. ^ "1972 Formula Two results". formula2.net. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "How to become F1 champion". Sarah Holt. www.bbc.co.uk. 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  12. ^ "John Surtees' son Henry killed in Formula Two accident". The Telegraph. 19 July 2009. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "John Surtees at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame". motorsportshalloffame.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "MotoGP Legends". motogp.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58729. p. 13. 14 June 2008.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Geoff Duke
500cc Motorcycle World Champion
1956
Succeeded by
Libero Liberati
Preceded by
Libero Liberati
500cc Motorcycle World Champion
1958-1960
Succeeded by
Gary Hocking
Preceded by
Jim Clark
Formula One World Champion
1964
Succeeded by
Jim Clark
Preceded by
Inaugural
Can-Am Champion
1966
Succeeded by
Bruce McLaren
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ian Black
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
1959
Succeeded by
David Broome
Preceded by
Jim Clark
Hawthorn Memorial Trophy
1964
Succeeded by
Jim Clark