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SURTEES, John

John Surtees
was born on: 
11 February 1934
at: 
Tatsfield, Surrey, England
and died on: 
10 March 2017
at: 
London, England
Epitaph: 

Still the only person to win world championships on two wheels and four.

Obituary: 

There is little that can be said about John Surtees that is worthy of the man: a motorcycle racer who won several titles and was still riding fast bikes as recently as five years ago, he moved to Formula One where he had a stellar career, winning a World Championship and missing out on a second, it is widely felt, because his team denied him a drive due to injuries suffered in a previous race.

His own Surtees F1 team was launched during one of F1's periods of penury and like others, he found it impossible to secure enough sponsorship. That was possibly the only thing he didn't succeed in.

In later years, he carved out a career as a commentator. He suffered a loss when his son was killed in 2009 when he was hit on the head by a wheel that flew off a competitor's car. Surtees immediately launched a charity to help those who might suffer head injuries but not die as a result.

He was the voice of the A1 motor racing series in which countries raced against one another and in recent years provided commentary for many series: he had a style that was half-way between laconic and breathless, and a depth of knowledge of what was happening that puts "professional" commentators to shame.

Bryan Edwards
Publication: 
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