F1 Legends: John Surtees
Surtees & Clark, Germany, 1963, thanks to The Cahier Archive
A legend on both four wheels and two, John Surtees needs no introduction. Take some time out this weekend to enjoy this chat with him about life and his magnificent motorsport career.
With his first motorcycle races under his belt in 1951, Surtees picked up a sponsorship from Norton in 1955 and backed it up with his first win at the 1955 250cc Ulster Grand Prix.
At the end of the season MV Agusta offered him a ride and he would race both 350cc and 500cc for them in 1956. He won the Isle of Man TT, Dutch TT and the Belgian Grand Prix (where he won 350cc as well), and secured his first championship title.
He dominated both 350cc and 500cc titles in 1958, ’59 and ’60 on the MV Agusta, before moving to Formula 1 in 1960.
In just his second Formula 1 World Championship race, the 1960 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, he finished second. It would take only a few years for him to improve on that effort by claiming his first win in the ’63 German Grand Prix.
In 1964 he outran Jim Clark and Graham Hill to claim the Formula 1 drivers’ title in a fiercely competitive season, and in doing so became the only person to have won world championships on both two and four wheels.
He raced in Formula 1 until 1972, and went on to form the Surtees Racing Organisation in 1970, contesting Formula 1, Formula 5000 and Formula 2 until the end of the ’70s. His contributions to motorsport have continued since then, and his status as a Legend of Formula 1 is in no doubt.
Set aside a few minutes, and enjoy his chat with Steve Rider.