All his career in one photograph… that was the promise over the Tannoy shortly after 1.30 today as drivers, fans and cars came together on the Motor Circuit to honour the hero of this year’s Revival – Sir Jackie Stewart OBE.
Mark Webber, taking part in the tribute parade behind the wheel of the Matra Cosworth MS80 that gave Sir Jackie the first of his three Formula 1 world championships in 1969, told Goodwood Road & Racing: ‘The word legend is bandied around but Sir Jackie is a true legend.
‘What Jackie has done for our sport on and off the track, the things he has achieved and what he has stood for, makes him an extraordinary person. He has been instrumental in my life since I first came to Europe to race, and he is a very good friend.
‘He’s an absolute quality guy.’
Sir Jackie is also a lot shorter than Mark: ‘I haven’t driven the Matra Cosworth before and I don’t think I really fit it. Jackie told me it’s one of his favourites. I won’t be caning it. I think I might just get it into second gear. Cars like this have won their races… let’s just enjoy them now.’
Heading the tribute parade on the circuit was Sir Jackie in the Tyrrell Cosworth 006, the car in which he won his third and final title in 1973 – before retiring from F1 after competing in 99 grands prix.
It was 50 years ago this year that the three-times F1 world champion first drove a single-seater here at Goodwood, leading to an F3 contract with Tyrrell.
It was the springboard to fame of a man described by Lord March as ‘a driver against all others were measured… faster and smarter than his rivals, he was able to win consummately in all types of car and in all conditions.’
Sir Jackie’s first single-seater from that debut Goodwood test, the Cooper-BMW T72, was part of the parade, driven on the Saturday by Jackie’s son Mark Stewart.
‘It’s an enormous privilege for me to drive my father’s Cooper,’ Mark told us just before the parade hit the track. ‘I think he won 11 out of 15 F3 races in it in his first season. It’s an important car. I am looking forward to driving it for the first time. It’s a big day for the Stewart family, specially with Mark (Webber) here and my brother Paul as well.’
What does the Goodwood tribute mean to your dad?
‘An awful lot. It amazes and surprises him that people still recognise him, and recognise what he did all these years later.’
Twenty nine cars from Sir Jackie’s motor racing career took to the Motor Circuit for the parade laps, with other racing legends present including Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees and Jack Sears.
Sir Jackie’s short (just 13 years) but varied racing career was certainly reflected in the cars as they lined up on the grid – the cars included the ‘Ugly Duckling’Marcos in which Sir Jackie competed, and won, his first motor race in 1962.
Others in the line-up were AC Ace-Bristol, Tojeiro-Buick, Ferrari 250LM, Lotus Climax 33, plus BRMs, Fords, Lotuses, Lolas, Marchs and McLarens. There was also the Rover-BRM –which alas didn’t quite make it off the start line…
It was as the commentary had suggested, the ultimate Jackie Stewart photo call. And of course all on a circuit where Sir Jackie, along with the late Jim Clark OBE, still holds the lap record, as Lord March pointed out in his tribute speech.
Lord March told Revival: ‘I first met Jackie at a party in the house when I was 10. I remember my grandfather saying to me, “keep an eye on him, he’s a future world champion.”’
Lord March went on: ‘Sir Jackie has had a stellar career, and is F1’s most successful ever triple world champion driver. Eloquent and articulate, with his trademark cap and sunglasses he is one of the most recognisable figures on earth. He used his pre-eminence and media superstardom to fight fearlessly for a safer form of motor racing. It is testament to the regard in which Sir Jackie is held that so many of the professional drivers at this year’s Revival have joined us on the grid to pay tribute. It is no exaggeration to say that many owe him their lives.’
Sir Jackie told the crowds that that day at Goodwood 50 years ago was one of the biggest days of his life. He paid fulsome tribute to all the people who have helped him in his career, calling Ken Tyrrell ‘a genius’.
And one favourite car? That’s a tie he said between his first championship winning car, the Matra-Cosworth MS80, and the Tyrrell Cosworth 006.
Revival crowds lapped up the words and the sight of so many cars in what was a poignant and heartfelt tribute to a great champion – the original Flying Scot.