Announced this week was the news, probably unsurprising, that Sir Stirling Moss was retiring from public life. The old boy is 88, not in the greatest of health and considering the era he drove in it was quite an achievement to reach 30.
Quite probably the greatest driver never to win the F1 crown but certainly forever to be remembered for the greatest motorsport performance ever. The legendary 1955 Mille Miglia. A young Stirling Moss and a beardy journalist Denis Jenkinson pummelled round a thousand miles of Italian back roads at an average of nearly 100mph. For anyone who has driven those roads (I have) it is scarcely to be believed.
The original article by “Jenks” can be read hereand I’d heartily recommend it. A little excerpt of classic understatement.
They were probably doing in excess of 170mph at the time.
And of course the car itself remains probably the most iconic and sought after item in motorsport history. The 300SLR no. 722 now safely tucked away in the Mercedes Stuttgart museum. (apart from occasional run-outs with a rather special pilot) They would never sell but can there be any doubt that it would be the most expensive car ever were it to come to auction? I can’t think of anything else with such worldwide appeal and lord alone knows how much it would fetch.
Anyhow, just thought he deserves a last flash of the spotlight before it goes out forever, there aren’t too many of his kind left.
Its a sad commentary that these days when you see “retiring from public life”, you presume “sexual misconduct allegations”.
I remember an older gentleman one year at Goodwood, who told me that there were only three pure racers he had seen in his life; Senna, Andretti and Moss. Wish I had been alive to see the last two in their prime.
I was big into auto racing when I was a kid, in the 1970s, and Mario Andretti was one of my favorite drivers. He’s still the last American driver to win the Formula One championship (1978), and what impressed me even back then (and even moreso now) was his versatility: he also won the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, four IndyCar championships, two IROC championships, and the 24 Hours of Daytona.
I confess, while I knew the name, and that he’s considered one of the all-time greats in auto racing, I never really knew a lot about him (since he retired three years before I was born). Reading about his career now. Wow.