Stirling Moss received a Knighthood in her Majesty The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. On behalf of its readers, Motor Sport offers hearty congratulations to Sir Stirling — and of course Lady Susie — on an accolade not only richly deserved but also long overdue. We salute also John Cooper — who with father Charles gave Stirling his first drive in a 500cc single-seater — for being accorded a CBE for his services to the industry.
Moss is the first Briton to be honoured for his motor racing achievements. As his great friend and mentor Rob Walker reminded us, both Malcolm Campbell and Henry Segrave were knighted for their Land Speed Record exploits. And three times World Champion Jack Brabham, was successfully nominated by his native Australia having previously been passed over by Britain.
Walker, in whose cars Moss scored seven of his 16 Grand Prix victories — including career firsts for Cooper, Coventry-Climax and Lotus — has led the campaign to recognise his contribution to motorsport. “A group of us — including a fan, John Draper — has been trying for this for four or five years. I wrote to the Prime Minister and spoke to the Minister for Sport, and now he’s got it. I’m absolutely delighted. Stirling is the greatest ambassador for racing this country has ever had.”
The eponymous Cooper marque, which pioneered Britain’s volume production racing car industry, grew quickly from building spartan Formula Three cars to Grand Prix machines. Their Argentine GP triumph in 1958 — when the rear-engined 2-litre T43 defeated the Ferraris by running 200 miles without refuelling or stopping for tyres — is a defining point in the history of the World Championship. “I’m very pleased indeed for Stirling, who continues to do so much for the sport,” said Cooper. “He excelled in everything he drove, and I have so much respect for him. Even his name is wonderful — it means British!”
Moss’s unsurpassed winning record at Goodwood started with its first meeting in 1948. Ironically, the Sussex venue almost claimed his life in 1962. Lord March, who opened a new chapter in Goodwood’s history in 1993, and brought racing back to the circuit in 1998, was equally thrilled by the news: “Stirling is a quite remarkable man and I am so pleased for both him and Susie. On a personal level, Stirling has made a huge commitment to our Festival of Speed and Revival events and he thoroughly deserves the recognition of a knighthood. We look forward to welcoming Sir Stirling Moss back to Goodwood in 2000.” MP