But it is Goodwood that book-ended his professional career: his debut at the Sussex circuit came the day after his 19th birthday and was only the second race meeting he’d attended, the first at anything recognisable as a racetrack today. Driving a Cooper-JAP MkII he finished half a lap clear of the field. He took part in a further 56 races at Goodwood over the next 14 years, finishing 46 and winning 21. Of those 46 races he failed to make the podium on just 12 occasions. In this time he won races for Cooper, HWM, Kieft, Maserati, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Lotus and Ferrari in formulae as disparate as 500cc F3, F1 and sports car racing.
Four of his seven Tourist Trophy wins were claimed at Goodwood, two in Aston Martin DBR1s, two in Ferrari 250 SWBs. And anyone doubting that Moss was still getting better at the time of his career-ending encounter with the bank at St Mary’s should consider that in his last three full seasons he raced at Goodwood 11 times, by this stage against the world’s greatest drivers, won seven of the races and missed the podium (by a single place) just once.
As a person, Stirling Moss was as unreconstructed as they come, once describing his life as one of ‘racing cars and chasing women’, yet for the last 40 years of his life was blissfully happily married to Lady Susie Moss, who was his constant companion and business partner and who did so much to preserve the Stirling Moss brand over the years. They had a son together, Elliot, (Stirling already had a daughter, Allison, from a brief earlier marriage to Elaine Barbarino) and lived in the house in Mayfair Stirling had bought as a literal bombsite after WW2 and converted into one of the most high tech residences in London. It was down the lift shaft of this house that an 80-year-old Stirling fell in 2010, smashing his ankles and damaging his back again. To everyone’s astonishment he not only recovered but raced again. They also owned homes in Florida and Arizona.
To strangers, Stirling could seem brusque and at times little less than rude, though those who got to know him would soon realise this was simply a coping mechanism for the shyness that stayed with him all his life. That said he suffered fools not at all, was often impatient and could be sharp-tongued with those he felt had let him down, often in quite trivial ways.