Andrew Frankel: Beating the drum for disc brake pioneers Moss and Dewis

“Unlike many, Stirling Moss and Norman Dewis truly deserve to be called heroes”

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Some of you may recall that, back in the July issue, I used this spot to recall the time in 2012 when I and sundry others took Sir Stirling Moss and Norman Dewis back to Brescia on the 60th anniversary of their participation in the 1952 Mille Miglia, the event on which they proved the disc brake was not just a viable option for cars, but far preferable to the drums in universal use to that time.

And if I somehow managed to retain your interest to the end, you will have read of the film we made and my lament that for reasons unknown it never reached the light of day, signing off with: ‘How good it would be now to celebrate their extraordinary lives with its airing.’ I am ashamed to admit I may have had more than one motive for saying so.

For what I knew then was that the principal film-maker, Al Clark from Outrun Films, upon hearing of Stirling’s passing had taken it upon himself to delve back through the hours of footage and re-cut the film from scratch as The Racers That Stopped The World. And, apart from a few mercifully fleeting seconds where I prove that mine is indeed a fine face for radio, it is the most beautiful tribute to two men who unlike most who gain the title, really are worthy of being called heroes. And then there are fine contributions from Sir Jackie Stewart, Murray Walker, Martin Brundle and Derek Bell.
I don’t know anyone who knew Stirling and/or Norman who’s been able to get through it without welling up, and plenty who never met either but feel such a bond that they find themselves equally damp-eyed.