Often described as the greatest British driver never to win a World Championship, racing legend Sir Stirling Moss has given motorsport fans many memorable moments on and off the circuit. The Easter of 1962 however, had fans holding their breath as it took 30 minutes to free Moss from the wreckage of the Lotus V8 he was driving. An eerie silence descended on Goodwood as fans watched in disbelief.
During the closing stages of the International 100 race for Formula 1 cars at Goodwood, Moss was trying to overtake rival Graham Hill’s BRM. Entering St Mary’s, Moss shot from the outside bend onto the grass verge and into a low bank protecting spectators. At 32 years old, the racer sustained lacerations, a fractured leg and severe head injuries that led to a month in a medically induced coma and temporary paralysis down the left side of his body.
In an interview in 1970, Moss would later say of the crash that ended his professional career “It isn’t that my reflexes are slower. In the old days before Goodwood when I said to myself, I’m going to beat the record this lap, I would have driven that bit faster, but the reactions would have followed each other in a flow without me being aware of them. If I did it now, I would be doing the same things correctly, but they would not flow anymore”.
Thankfully for motorsport fans, Stirling Moss recovered and continued to be an active presence on the motorsport scene. Meanwhile, Graham Hill, who won the fateful race, went on to secure his first World Championship.