NEWS FROM THE ZOO
Most of us have, over the years, found somebody to hero worship. My lifetime hero is Stirling Moss, the brilliant British driver who took his final chequered flag on April 12 at the age of 90.
Considered by many to have been the unluckiest person to have not won the world F1 championship – he was runner-up four times and placed third three times in a seven-year span. Moss won 212 of the 529 races and rallies he entered and competed in 107 different cars – something that would not and could not happen these days!
I was particularly drawn to him in my younger days as he was often at the wheel of inferior machinery but still managed to come through and win, taking 16 victories in Grand Prix races. He was particularly partisan to British cars and so was I at the time, backing struggling BRM and Vanwall as they took on the might of Germany and Italy in the comparatively small number of races that made up the F1 calendar in those days.
I was able to pay homage to my hero when I attended the 2009 edition of the Goodwood Revival Meeting in England with Ian Groat, Publisher of Automotive Refinisher. Stirling was honoured for reaching the age of 80 and drove several of the cars he had raced in the past around the historic circuit. (There were 80 of the cars present which he had raced or rallied in the past).
I then met him personally when he was one of the guests of honour at the Top Gear Festival at Kyalami.
He certainly lived a full life and made his mark in many spheres and continued to earn my respect to the end.
By Roger Houghton