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Silverstone Honours John Surtees


John Surtees

John Surtees

 

Silverstone, 4 June, 2014

The astonishing and unique achievements of John Surtees OBE will be celebrated at this summer’s award-winning Silverstone Classic (25-27 July).

It was exactly 50 years ago in 1964 that Surtees added the Formula One World Championship to his four 500cc motorcycle titles to become the first – and only – man to win World Championships on both two and four wheels. Marking that very special anniversary, Surtees will be guest of honour at this year’s BRDC Silverstone Classic Dinner.

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Held in the state-of-the-art Silverstone Wing building, the BRDC Silverstone Classic Dinner was initiated 12 months ago and has quickly established itself as one of the major highlights at the World’s Biggest Classic Motor Racing Festival. This year’s dinner takes place on the evening of Friday 25 July and will be compered by Johnnie Walker MBE, the veteran radio disc jockey and broadcaster.

“It promises to be a very special evening,” enthused Derek Warwick, President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club. “We are incredibly proud and privileged to be honouring John – a true racing legend whose remarkable accomplishments “will never ever be equaled”. Clearly this is an extremely special year for him, and the BRDC is delighted to be paying its own tribute to one of its most outstanding members.”

Surtees himself has strong historic links with Silverstone. He remembers watching his father compete at the famous Northamptonshire venue soon after it opened back in the late forties and has himself raced countless cars and bikes at the circuit. Indeed, his first experience of F1 came at Silverstone, as did his first grand prix podium.

“Formula One started for me at Silverstone when Colin Chapman – after I had tested his Lotus 18 there – said: ‘John drive for me when you are not racing your bikes’,” recalled Surtees – now 80. “It was then rather satisfying to get second place in the British Grand Prix with Colin in that first year of switching between two and four wheels in 1960. Obviously a lot has happened since then both in my career and that of Silverstone. The Formula One Grand Prix makes Silverstone the hub of motor sport in this country and none of this would have been possible without the ownership and development of the circuit by the BRDC.”