I hope that your weekend was as good as mine, the sun was out, the sky was blue, it was warm and the bike just flew ! Ok I know that over here there are still 8 days until spring but I am glad that the weather seems to have forgotten that. The twisty ride out that I took was wonderful, there was a background warmth and the smells of the countryside were noticeable once more. (No not those smells, the nice ones!) Now I am waiting for the subtle sign that there will be no going back to the misery of winter, and that is the smell of the wild garlic on my favorite corner..Winter is leaving!
It is always a sad day when one of your heroes passes on. There is a little gap left in your life that was filled by them and can’t be filled by anyone else. Heroes inspire us to be better, to make the most of what skills we have and to take life and do all we can with it. Many people talk about Valentino Rossi as the GOAT , the greatest of all time, but there are a few who could equally wear that crown and one of them died last Friday.
John Surtees has a claim to the title, GOAT that I think nobody else will ever emulate. He is the only person to have ever won the World Championship on both a bike and a car. In 1956, at the age of 22 yrs old, he became the 500cc motorcycle World Champion and he did not just win it once, he won it again in 1958, again in 1959 and finally again in 1960. I guess I should also mention that he won the 350 championship 3 times as well, in 58 ,59 and 60 to! He rode for two great teams, Norton and MV Augusta and in total won 49 Grand Prix including 6 Isle of Man TT wins.
Then in 1960, he switched full-time to car racing, and was crowned Formula One World Champion in 1964 driving for Ferrari. At the age of 30 he had become the only man ever to win a World Championship on two wheels and four.
There has been no one since, and perhaps there never will be another capable of doing what he did. However John Surtees did suggest back in 2004 that a certain young Italian might be able to do it… ““If anybody is going to do it at this time in particular then it is Valentino,” Surtees said, “because he is a true racer.”
The admiration went both ways and it was Surtees who inducted Valentino into the motorsport hall of fame in 2016.
John Surtees died on the 10th March 2017 at the age of 83.
"The main thing is that whatever I’ve done, I’ve done from the heart. I have loved being involved in first building and riding motorcycles and then driving cars – but above all, competing.”