WORDS: NATHAN CHADWICK | PHOTOS: GOODWOOD
John Surtees, the only person ever to win World Championships both in cars and on motorcycles, will be the focus of celebrations at the 2024 staging of the UK’s Goodwood Revival. Surtees won the F1 World Championship 60 years ago, and this year would have been his 90th birthday.
The late, legendary racer had already claimed seven motorcycle World Championships between 1956 and 1960, and he then settled into the world of Formula 1 by claiming the driver’s title in 1964, driving for Ferrari. As such, the Revival meeting will celebrate Surtees’ life by amassing a large collection of cars and bikes associated with him, from 250cc, 350cc and 500cc motorcycles to Grand Prix winners, unlimited sports cars and GTs.
Goodwood played a key part in the Surtees’ move from two wheels to four – in 1959, the circuit was the first place he would test a racing car. A year later, he made his racing debut in a Formula Junior Cooper run by Ken Tyrrell, at the 39th Members’ Meeting in March 1960, finishing a close second to Jim Clark. It was another highlight of an astounding year that saw him make not only his F1 debut, but also his first podium and pole on four wheels – all while winning the 350cc and 500cc motorcycle World Championships for MV Agusta.
Surtees also played a key role in the modern incarnation of Goodwood. He was the first-ever Festival of Speed patron, and he proved invaluable in providing contacts who could unleash their motorcycles on the hillclimb. He also rode his 1952 Vincent up the hill, and would race at the early Revival meetings as well. After his passing in 2017, the 75th Members’ Meeting paid tribute to him with an anniversary race on the anniversary of his first four-wheeled race in 1960.
“As an eight-time World Champion, and the only man to achieve the honour on both two and four wheels, John Surtees was not only a huge figure in the history of the Goodwood Motor Circuit, but he also played a big part in the establishment of our modern events,” said the Duke of Richmond. “Along with Stirling Moss, John was a patron of the Festival of Speed, and he was deeply involved from the very beginning. More than anything, he was an exceptional racer and a great friend.”
More details about the Revival can be found here.