Coachlines - April 2020

18.04.20 Liveryman Roger Earl

A tribute to Sir Stirling Moss OBE

Sir Stirling Moss OBE

This day, Sunday 12th April 2020, we lost a giant. Small in stature perhaps but a titan in every other way. Stirling was unique, irreplaceable, an icon of a like we shall not see again.

Charming, warm and fun to be with, loyal to a fault to those with whom he was involved (he never had nor needed a contract, it was all done on a handshake), the “maestro” would never say no to a fan asking for an autograph or, time permitting, even a chat. Delightful in any meeting or at any event, he stimulated and enthralled everybody involved in motorsport and more besides. And behind the wheel, he was the best, the very best.

Equally with great friend and sometime team-mate Fangio, he was the most famous racing driver of all time, arguably the equal of Juan Manuel in GPs and his better in sportscars. Revered, he remained universally a household name throughout the 58 years that followed his career-ending accident at Goodwood’s 1962 Easter meeting. And he was the truest of sportsmen, a consummate Corinthian – striving to win but only the right way. Remember his supreme act of honour in “gifting” the 1958 World Championship to Mike Hawthorn rather than take the title himself in circumstances he felt would be unfair. Not something that would be likely to happen today. A committed patriot in driving British cars whenever he could, he often denied himself the best machinery of the day, yet Stirling still won 212 of the 529 races he entered, 40%, and in the seven years from 1955 was runner-up four times in the Grand Prix World Championship, three of them to Fangio, and was third in the other three. Until the era of Schumacher and Hamilton, nobody else came close.

Stirling will be dreadfully missed, but his lustre will forever remain undimmed. A true hero. Goodbye old friend and rest in peace – we will all miss you more than words can ever express.