John Surtees virtually hung up his helmet in 1972 but, as usual, debuted his new Formula One model (TS9B) late the previous season.
He retained chassis 5, the most successful example, until last winter when it joined arch Surtees enthusiast John Bladon’s historic stable. Mike Hailwood drove this chassis for the the bulk of 1972, finishing second at Monza, fourth in Belgium and Austria, and coming second once again in that year’s Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. He also set fastest lap in the South African Grand Prix at Kvalami and was pressuring the Tyrrell-mounted Jackie Stewart for the lead when a bolt dropped out of the Surtees’ rear suspension on lap 29.
“It was stripped down to every last component and racked up when I rebuilt it,” said the car’s rebuilder Terry van der Zee.
A fuel pick-up problem showed up when Bladon shook it down on the Monday before Coys, thwarting his attempt to debut it in the Force Classic GP event. Put down to the pump, which was changed, it returned when Surtees gave it a short blast in Saturday’s Fl demo.
“When John came in, with everybody around us, and said it was undriveable, I wanted to disappear into the ground,” said van der Zee. “Fortunately, he then went on to say that despite a high tickover and the pick-up fault, the chassis felt absolutely superb.
“That encouraged us and we now plan to race it at Zolder in August.”