By Ben Cussons, Club Chairman
A notable member once said to me “the better the person and the greater their contribution, the harder it is to say goodbye”. The passing of Sir Stirling Moss will leave a huge gap in all our lives.
Whilst his record on track is well documented and affords him a well-deserved place in the pantheon of motor racing greats, in my own personal ‘Ladybird book of Heroes’, he is the all-time number one. I was too young to see him race in period but he was such an all-round ‘good egg’ that even in retirement his reputation preceded him.
His driving style mirrored his approach to life; super smooth and relaxed but absolutely determined to do his best. Coupled with an astonishing memory for detail and a fondness for his fellow competitors, he was an outstanding raconteur who could bring to vivid life his remarkable career: when he spoke you listened, for it was always gold dust!
Stirling epitomised a team player, even when it might benefit the opposition. His defence of Hawthorn in 1958 meant Hawthorn won the Championship, but he did the right thing, he always did. Stirling defined what it was to be a professional racing driver – everybody else took their lead from him.
When he returned to Historic Racing, another generation of drivers were able to enjoy the skill and passion that he brought to the track. For everyone it was a privilege to watch that fluid style and then to have the bragging rights of “When I raced Stirling Moss”, even if you had been overtaken by the master!
As a Mayfair resident he was a regular in Pall Mall and it was a great honour for the Club when we were able open Stirling’s at Woodcote Park to celebrate the man and his career.
Of course, the greatest team he created was the one that he forged with Susie, they were inseparable and brought joy to all who had the pleasure to spend time with them. She was devoted to him as she nursed him in the last few years, nurturing the precious spark of cheekiness and humour that made him so unique. Our thoughts are with her and the family.
Stirling, you were a hero, you gave so much and you fought to the last. God speed and I hope you are on pole in the Heavenly GP!