Stirling Moss was the reason I developed an interest in motor sport. It’s June 1955, and I am a bored 10-year-old at a family gathering at my grandparents’ house. One of my uncles hands me a copy of the June edition of Motor Sport magazine with the words: “Here lad, have a look at this”.
I flicked through it, bored with most of it, until I found the legendary report by Denis Jenkinson of sitting beside Stirling Moss in their Mercedes 300SLR and winning the Mille Miglia by a margin of half an hour. After that I was hooked on motor sport and followed his career. What a legend: RIP Stirling.
Andy Burrows, Chesham, Bucks
I really got to know the man and his character after the motor sport accident I was a victim of in 2000. After several weeks in intensive care, I had been moved to a high dependency ward in London, and was settling down to an early night when there was a knock on the door to my room, followed by the man himself, a huge smile and two bottles of wine! A couple of weeks later he returned, this time with Lady Susie, and thoughtfully had purchased a then-new Billy the Bass singing fish to amuse me and the nurses on my ward!
From there we met with much more frequency, often at Goodwood events, and Stirling would always check on my progress back to health. And now the final chequered flag on a legendary life has come down.
I will miss him as a racer, and a friend. Goodbye, Old Boy; thanks for the memories.
Steve Tarrant, Sturminster Newton, Devon
I have just learnt that Sir Stirling Moss passed away. I am moved by this bad news. I’m French and I was three when he stopped racing. So why is he, along with Vic Elford, the driver I admired most? The more I read about Stirling Moss, the more I liked him. He drove so many cars in so many different championships. It seems that he had to race every weekend. It was his reason of life. His exploits are countless. Ha, The Mille Miglia with Jenks! It was very dangerous times, but this period until the early ’80s is what I call the very best of racing. The cars, the men, the tracks, the atmosphere.
For ending, just a little story. My friend is a photographer for the ACO (Automobile Club de L’Ouest). During an edition of Le Mans Classic, Stirling Moss was in the pits. My friend (a bit shy) saw him and asked “Is it possible to take a picture of you and me?” Stirling Moss answered with a big smile; “Yes, for sure” and he put his arm on the shoulders of my friend. For me, it says a lot about the man.
Vincent Moisy, Le Mans, France
I remember being at Goodwood on the day of Stirling Moss’s crash. I had gone with my husband, as we did quite often, and we were watching the racing and manning the track ambulance. Jim studied pathology and was trained in first aid, and I was a nurse at St. Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, and we had volunteered as medics that day. Moss was racing with Graham Hill at the time in the number 7, the number of the car he always drove, and the next thing you know he was in the bank at St Mary’s. Cars were racing by and I thought “how are we going to get across?”, because you still had cars going round. Eventually, we did find a gap, and we shot across before the medical team.
The car was red-hot, and petrol was pouring everywhere. I thought “Well, I’ve got to get him out”. And then I saw he was changing colour, a sort of purpley colour. I thought “Oh yes, they all chew gum, these drivers”, and it turned out that he had a bit of gum lodged in the back of his throat. Jim tried to move metal out of the way, and I managed to get my little fingers to the back of Stirling’s throat and hook out the gum. I still have burns on my hands from that day. People say I saved his life, but I was just doing what I was trained to do. After the accident he became a good friend of ours, and we watched him race with his lovely wife Susie. When his autobiography came out, he signed it for us and wrote: “You were there when I needed you most.” On the track he was a demon; off the track he was a lovely person.
Annie Strudwick, Emsworth, Hants
I was saddened to hear the news of Sir Stirling’s passing. I was born long after his horrific, career-ending crash at Goodwood. Nevertheless, I have always been a fan of Moss, and thoroughly enjoyed reading about his career and giant-killing feats against the likes of Ferrari and Lotus factory teams. I have been to many race meetings, but my favourite racing memory is still that of seeing Moss participating in the supporting historic race. I was awestruck as he drove by in a Jaguar C-type (a legend being driven by a legend). His talent transcended both his era and motor sport as a whole. RIP ‘Mr Motor Racing’.
Richard Newell, by email
Today is my birthday; I should be happy but I’m not, because the man I admired so much passed away yesterday. He was my hero right from when I was a boy, fascinated by motor racing and racing cars. Like many other boys, when we spoke about motor racing, the first name mentioned was that of Stirling Moss.
At Aintree for the ‘200’ practice in 1958 I had a photograph of Stirling which I asked him to sign. He willingly obliged with his characteristic kind smile, and I always kept the photo. From that day, I followed his races closely. As time rolled on I became involved in Historic Racing and met Stirling many times when he was present either as a ‘personality’ or just a simple spectator. He could always be relied on to spend time talking, always courteous and friendly. Then at the Oulton Park Gold Cup meeting in 2010 he signed my treasured photo again.
Many people knew him much better than I, but I feel tremendously privileged to have had what little time I did spend in his company. My photo will always remind me of a man for whom I had the greatest admiration – the greatest driver in the world. I’ll miss him.
Tom Powell, Aberdeenshire
When I was at boarding school my father posted Motor Sport to me monthly. To this day, I recall being enthralled by Jenks’ account of the painstaking preparation for the Mille Miglia and his providing essential navigational support to Stirling in the most magnificent win of his illustrious career.
This article has sustained my admiration for Stirling’s capabilities over all these years and I was very fortunate to watch their retention up close in the early 2000s at an HGPCA/VSCC meeting at Donington. I was standing only about 20 metres from the blind downhill exit from the Esses. Stirling emerged very quickly into my view driving a C-type Jaguar to suddenly see in front of him a spinning Bugatti. Stirling’s amazing reactions and skill in avoiding what had seemed to be an unavoidable collision were breathtaking and very memorable!
Jenks’ article created in me an ambition to go to see a Mille Miglia ‘commemorative rally’ which I achieved in 2017, accompanied by one of my sons. On arrival in the enormous scrutineering hall in which there were about 450 immaculate sports-racing cars, I remarked to my son “This is what heaven must look like!”.
Malcolm Reid, by email
Many people have a treasured Stirling Moss story. Here is mine. In 1954, driving his Maserati 250F, Moss won the Gold Cup at Oulton Park. Aged five, I was there with my father. It was the instant my father said, “Look, Stirling’s waving at you,” that my lifetime of racing memories began. There he was, waving at me from his car. I was the proudest little boy in the crowd, not seeing that Stirling was waving at everyone.
In 2004, at the Goodwood Revival, Moss was presented with a silver pin by Jürgen Hubbert of Mercedes Benz, a replica of the one given to him by Mercedes for winning the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree. The original had been lost. The ceremony took place on the start line, after a lap in an open Mercedes, with Sir Stirling being driven by Jürgen Hubbert. That day, I was the pitlane and podium commentator. I stood on the track, microphone in hand, ready to talk to them. In front of the packed grandstands, as the car came towards me, Stirling was waving. It was an intense moment.
Around 10 years ago, at the Silverstone Classic as a member of the commentary team, I was in the pit garages where sitting alone on a pile of racing tyres was Sir Stirling Moss. I introduced myself and told him about that instant at the Gold Cup and the day at the Revival. He listened intently, and with that almost unnerving total focus. I had a book with me, which he signed with the words: “Russell, now I can see the person I waved at so long ago!”
Russell Douglas, Lighthorne, Warwickshire