John Surtees, the only man in history to win world championships on both two and four wheels, will be the focus of one of the major celebrations at the 2024 Goodwood Revival.
To mark 60 years since his historic Formula 1 world championship triumph, we will be placing Surtees’s life and career under the spotlight to celebrate his achievements, and the impact his life continues to have on motorsport to this day.
He would have celebrated his 90th birthday this Sunday 11th February, and this year’s Revival will reflect on a truly extraordinary motorsport career, covering everything from his excellence on 250cc, 350cc and 500cc motorcycles, through to Formula 1, Can-Am and GT racing.
The 81st Members’ Meeting presented by Audrain Motorsport will see a collection of Can-Am monsters descend on the Goodwood Motor Circuit for a raucous demonstration of a legendary era of limitless sportscars. It was Surtees who won the inaugural Can-Am championship in 1966 with his own team.
Surtees motorsport career was intertwined with the history of Goodwood. He tested his first car here in 1959 before making his debut on four wheels in Formula Junior, racing for Ken Tyrrell at the 39th Members’ Meeting in 1960. He finished second behind Jim Clark.
The remainder of that season was remarkable. Having started his first race on four wheels in March, he made his F1 debut in May. He achieved his first podium two months later at the British Grand Prix and a pole position in August at the Portuguese Grand Prix. All this while maintaining his two-wheeled schedule, where he won the 350cc and 500cc world championships for MV Agusta.
Surtees was a Patron of the original Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard and rode his 1952 Vincent up the Hill on that weekend. He would return to Goodwood on numerous occasions, racing at the early Revivals and reigniting the memory of his tremendous successes at Goodwood in period.
We can’t wait to once more remember a great man who was as fiercely competitive on track as he was calm and gentle off it.
“As an eight-time World Champion and the only man to achieve the honour on both two and four wheels, John Surtees was not only a huge figure in the history of the Goodwood motor circuit, but also played a big part in the establishment of our modern events,” said the Goodwood Duke of Richmond.
“Along with Stirling Moss, John was a Patron of the Festival of Speed and was deeply involved from the very beginning. More than anything, he was an exceptional racer and a great friend.”
Images courtesy of Getty Images and Motorsport Images.