Legend John Surtees to be celebrated at 2020 Classic Isle of Man TT
Never has a racer been as accomplished as the late, great John Surtees CBE. The only man to ever have taken gold in the premier classes of both two- and four-wheel World Championships, Surtees was an undisputed legend, and a really nice guy.
And in celebration of the 60th anniversary of his final TT, where he won his sixth title in the Senior race, this year’s Classic TT presented by Bennetts will celebrate his life with a lap featuring a host of his race-winning machines.
Among the classic cohort will be the very MV Agusta aboard which Surtees’ won both that final TT and the 1960 World Championship, plus the 1949 Vincent Grey Flash that he won his first race on – his most cherished motorcycle. A Vincent Black Lightning from the same year will also feature, while Norton is represented with three bikes from the Surtees family collection – a 1953 Works Norton, a 1959 Manx Norton and an F Norton 500cc Experimental Prototype. In fact, the majority of the motorcycles are from the Surtees collection, with John’s wife Jane and daughter Edwina due to attend.
These machines, and many others, will feature in a display in the Classic TT Paddock, with a celebratory excursion around the Mountain course during Race Day 1 on Saturday 29th August. Esteemed riders will include 23-time TT Race winner John McGuinness, Mick Grant, Paul Hollywood, Steve Parrish, Steve Plater and Ian Skinner, John’s team mechanic for over thirty-five years.
Across his nine-year motorcycling career, Surtees won seven Motorcycle World Championships including consecutive 350 and 500cc double titles in 1958, 1959 and 1960. During this time, he contested 15 Senior TTs, achieving four wins, and a further four podiums. After turning his attention to Formula 1 in 1961, he took 24 podiums, six race wins and one championship – in 1964 with Ferrari – before ultimately retiring in 1972.
The 2020 Classic TT celebration will remember John Surtees’ incredibly successful racing career, while also raising awareness of the TT Riders Association, of which John was a former president.