John Surtees: One of a Kind

John Surtees: One of a Kind


It had never been done before and it’s vanishingly unlikely ever to be done again. John Surtees’s achievement in becoming world champion both in motorcycle racing (four times) and in a Formula One car (just the once, in 1964) is unique.

Surtees died earlier this year, aged 83, but it would have enhanced this profile to source a few vintage sound bites from the man himself. Instead we have a range of experts acclaiming his prowess as a racer on two wheels or four (“He was a warrior, a wonderful racing animal,” says one) and plenty of evocative clips of 1960s Grands Prix – always a pleasure.


The life of the motor sport icon, who is the only man to reach the pinnacle on both two wheels and four. Surtees won seven motorcycling world championships in the 350cc and 500cc classes between 1956 and 1960, then switched to Formula 1 and secured the championship in 1964.