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Surtees made CBE in New Year Honours list

NEWS STORY
31/12/2015

John Surtees has been made Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to motor sport.

Already a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), following his success on two-wheels, he was later appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.

Whilst the CBE falls far short of the Knighthood many - including this publication - believe the legendary racer so richly deserves, it is at least further recognition not only of our sport but of a man who has dedicated his life to it, a man of whom nobody has a bad word.

Surtees, who won his title with Ferrari, remains the only man to win the World Championship on four as well as two wheels - having won seven titles in the 350cc and 500cc classes.

Having made his F1 debut with Lotus in 1960, he was to drive Coopers and Lolas before joining Ferrari in 1963.

Like many Ferrari drivers he had a difficult relationship with certain people within the organization, though not founder Enzo Ferrari, and quit the Italian team after two rounds of the 1966 championship… a season that many regard as being his finest.

He subsequently spent two seasons with Honda, scoring a sensational, and highly emotional, win at Monza in 1967, then one season with BRM before forming his own team (Team Surtees) in 1970.

Other than bikes and F1, Surtees was outstanding in Sports Cars, enjoying wins at Sebring, the Nurburgring and Monza. However, he was lucky to survive an accident at Mosport in 1965, while running his own Lola T70. Even so, he spent many weeks in hospital recovering form the serious back injuries he incurred.

His own team was active and successful in F5000, F2 and F1. However, due to finance issues the team was wound-up in the late 70s.

Never too far away from the action, Surtees was appointed team boss of the British A1 Grand Prix team whilst also guiding the career of his son Henry who was rapidly rising through the ranks.

Tragically, Henry was killed in a freak accident at Brands Hatch in 2009 during an F2 race.

Whilst many feared Surtees' love affair with the sport was over, he subsequently devoted himself to charity work with the Henry Surtees Foundation as well as a number of projects aimed at assisting upcoming talent.

A highly knowledgeable engineer, a great racers, a man who doesn't mince his words, who tells it straight, Surtees is rightly regarded as one of the true legends of motorsport.

Following the death of Jack Brabham in 2014, Surtees is Formula One's oldest living world champion. Indeed, he is also the oldest surviving 500cc motorcycle world champion.

Though the word 'legend' has been somewhat devalued due to its overuse in recent years, this is not the case when one talks of John Surtees, a man who has done his sports and his country proud.

Congratulations Sir.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Paolo, 04/01/2016 17:07

"Why no Knighthood? a travesty I will be writing to my MP!"

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2. Posted by White Lightning, 31/12/2015 15:44

"Still no Knighthood, but a worthy recipient of this honour nonetheless. Congratulations Big John."

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3. Posted by Cobra Driver, 31/12/2015 11:52

"Early in my vintage racing career, I was piloting a 1959 Gemini Formula Junior. I had heard rumours that John Surtees had, on occasion, raced the marque. I wrote to John to enquire and was delighted to receive a reply indicating that he had not raced the Gemini but he knew first hand that Jimmy Clark had done some work in the Junior. I have that letter in my scrapbook. John Surtees is truly a gentleman and a credit to the sport. The racing community is the beneficiary of Mr. Surtees involvement.
Commander, I salute you.
Ken Chevis
Toronto Canada
"

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