Motoring News

Surtees: Giant of motorsport honoured again

LONDON, England – John Surtees, now 81, still the only person to win World championships on two and four wheels, has been awarded a CBE
(Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II in Britain’s 2016 New Year’s Honours list.

He’s also one of history’s most distinguished motorsportsmen.

JOHN SURTEES: Possibly the most successful track racer in history on two and four wheels. He's been honoured again by Queen Elizabeth II. Image: Newspress
JOHN SURTEES: Possibly the most successful track racer in history on two and four wheels. He’s been honoured again by Queen Elizabeth II. Image: Newspress


The order “recognises distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service and work with charitable and welfare organisations of all kinds” and follows Surtees’ being made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 1959 and an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 2008.


It recognises the motor-sportsman’s services to motorsport and the charitable work of the Henry Surtees Foundation, named in honour of his son, who was killed in a Formula 2 crash at Brands Hatch in 2009. The foundation provides vital support for those who have suffered injuries in accidents.

Surtees told Carman’s Corner in a media release: “It is recognition, as far as I am concerned, not only for myself but for the world of two- and four-wheeled sport and the teams I have worked with. Fast forward to more recent times and I thank and include in this honour all those that have helped and supported our dreams, ambitions and work for the Henry Surtees Foundation.”

John Surtees had a glittering competitive career that included dominating British racing circuits in 1954 and 1955 before starting his World
championship career on two wheels by winning the 500cc Isle of Man TT and the 500cc World championship. He rode for Triumph, Vincent, REG,
NSU and Norton before joining MV Agusta.


He won 38 motorcycle GP races and four 500cc and three 350cc World titles from 1956-1960 as well as six Isle of Man TT victories – the world’s most
dangerous motorcycle racing..

Surtees combined contesting and winning two World motorcycle championships in 1960 with being invited to join Colin Chapman’s Lotus Formula 1 team to drive when his motorcycle commitments allowed. He was second in the British Grand Prix and took pole position, set a record lap and led the Portuguese GP until having to retire late in the race

He retired from motorcyles at the end of 1960 after a seamless transition to four wheels, took his first Formula One GP win at the Nurburgring in 1963 in his first year at Ferrari, and went on to win the World championship in 1961.


He was second in the 1966 F1 championship driving in two marques of car after he split from Ferrari and joined the Cooper Maserati team. He won
the inaugural Can-Am Sports Car championship in America in a Lola T70 and a move to Honda followed for 1967. The RA 301 in which John played
a large development role won for him the 1967 Italian GP at Monza.

Surtees also enjoyed considerable success in prototype sports cars by winning at Sebring, Nurburgring and Monza. He gained reached the Le Mans 24-Hours podium in 1964.

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