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Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss OBE 1929-2020

Sir Stirling Moss at the Goodwood Revival in 2013

Sir Stirling sits back and relaxes at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Sir Stirling sits back and relaxes at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed after being interviewed by the author

It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Stirling Moss over the Easter weekend. He died on 12 April 2020 in Mayfair, London, England at the age of 90 following a long illness, with his wife, Lady Susie Moss by his side.

Buenos Aires 1000 km, 26 January 1958: Stirling Moss at speed in the #48 Porsche 550 A Spyder
Buenos Aires 1000 km, 26 January 1958: Stirling Moss at speed in the #48 Porsche 550 A Spyder in which he and Jean Behra finished a fine third overall. This was the last outing by a 550 A Spyder as a works racer

An inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1990, Moss won 212 major international races across several categories of competition. It has been said before, but frankly you cannot overemphasise the fact that he was “the greatest driver never to win the World Championship.” He finished second in the FIA Formula One World Championship for four consecutive years between 1955-1958, finishing third in the following three years 1959-1961.

Stirling Moss waits in the car – Brussels, 10 April 1960
Stirling Moss waits in the car – Brussels, 10 April 1960

Formula 2, World Championship, Flugplatz Zeltweg, 18 September 1960: Here Stirling Moss is at speed in his 1.5-litre Porsche 718/2
Formula 2, World Championship, Flugplatz Zeltweg, 18 September 1960: Porsche won the Formula 2 World Championship this year. Here Stirling Moss powers his 1.5-litre Porsche 718/2 (R.R.C. Walker Racing Team) to victory in the race, helping him to a shared third place (with Jo Bonnier) in the Championship

Stirling Moss powers his #7 Cooper-Borgward to a fine second place finish
6th South African Grand Prix, East London, 1 January 1960: Stirling Moss powers his #7 Cooper-Borgward to a fine second place finish

7th South African Grand Prix, East London, 27 December 1960 photo call
7th South African Grand Prix, East London, 27 December 1960: The drivers stand for the media photo call at the South African Grand Prix (from L-R) Jack Brabham, Jo Bonnier and Stirling Moss

Where it all began

Stirling Craufurd Moss was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK, on 17 September 1929. Moss’ father, Alfred, was a dentist and racing driver (he once raced in the Indy 500) and his mother, Aileen was a trial and rally driver. His sister, Pat Moss, was a successful show jumper and rally driver, being the only woman ever to have won the Liege-Rome-Liege outright. Having been born into such a sporting family, it was a forgone conclusion that the young Stirling would make his way in motorsport too.

Targa Florio, 30 April 1961: Stirling Moss at the wheel of the #136 Porsche 718 RS 61 Spyde
Targa Florio, 30 April 1961: Stirling Moss at the wheel of the #136 Porsche 718 RS 61 Spyder which he shared with Graham Hill. With Moss in the lead on the last lap, the crown wheel and pinion gave up the ghost and the car was forced to retire – they were classified as NRF

Stirling Moss made his competition debut in 1947 at the tender age of just 18 years, and the following year did a full season in Formula 3. In 1949, he made his international racing debut in Formula 3, competing in races all over Europe and scoring five wins that year. The 1950 season saw him competing in over fifty events, including his first ‘works’ team drive for HWM. He took part in Grands Prix in Paris, Rome, Berne, Bari, Naples, notching up 18 race wins in all, including the RAC Tourist Trophy in a Jaguar XK120, while still just 21 years of age! In 1952, he finished second in Monte Carlo on his international rallying debut, and then followed this up with a class win on the Alpine Rally.

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