John Surtees is almost the forgotten man of British F1. The only man to win the World Championship on two wheels and four, unlike Sir Jackie and Sir Stirling he still lacks a knighthood despite his achievements and his work for charity.

Surtees won his seven motor cycle world championships racing for Italian manufacturer MV Augusta at a time when the championship included the daunting Isle of Man TT, an event he won three times. When he was 26 he switched to racing cars making his debut with Lotus. But he is best remembered on four wheels for winning the 1964 World Championship with Ferrari. After he left Ferrari he briefly raced for Honda before founding his own team in 1970. His greatest success as a team owner was winning the F2 Championship in 1972, his winning car being driven by fellow ex Motor Cycle champion Mike Hailwood. He folded his team in 1978 to concentrate on other interests. His son Henry was also a promising racer tragically killed in a freak accident during a F2 race in 2009. Since then Surtees has concentrated his efforts on the Henry Surtees Foundation, that raises money for those afflicted with brain injuries, and also on encouraging young drivers to make the step up to professional motor sport.

Surtees was one of the principal guests at Autosport International and he and others assembled for display a fine collection of the cars he raced and built. His championship winning Ferrari in particular is a rare sight in the UK, usually residing in California. As this is the 50th anniversary of Surtees’ F1 World Championship the cars are touring the country. Catch them at Mercedes Benz World, Brooklands in June. And join the campaign to get John the knighthood he so richly deserves..

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Championship winning Ferrari 158 – rare UK visitor

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immaculate Team Surtees cars – iconic 70’s racers

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One of my favourite liveries as a boy – a racing car with my preferred toy car manufacturer emblazoned on the nose. Certainly more attractive than the later Team Surtees Durex sponsored cars..

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