John Surtees at 80

F1
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Alex Harmer

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As well as being Motor Sport‘s 90th year, 2014 is also a landmark for John Surtees – he turned 80 in February.

In tribute to his career and the fact that – even 50 years after he won the F1 World Championship – he’s still very much active in motor sport, we spoke to some of his peers about the talents he possesses.

A word that gets used a lot about Surtees these days is underrated, which is absurd when you look at what he achieved. On two wheels he won four 500cc titles, plus three on 350cc machines. He started 49 GPs and was on the podium in 45 of them. Thirty-eight of those were wins.

Jim Clark’s first single-seater victory at Goodwood in 1960 was a big deal, but the man in second had never raced a car before, and by his own admission had never even been to a car race. Four years later Surtees would be world champion with Ferrari. The inaugural Can-Am cup was his in 1966, followed by an F1 stint with Honda, helping to bring the Japanese manufacturer onto the world stage. Then there’s the long list of sports car wins, his eponymous team in the ’70s, his work with young drivers…

It probably won’t take long for one of you to register your displeasure in the comments over the fact that it’s still not Sir John Surtees. If there’s a knighthood going, we can’t think of many more deserving.

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