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23rd Jun, 2021

Tribute to a legend of the track

Rob George 10th Jun, 2021

A COUNTY Civic Society will unveil a tribute to one of Britain’s greatest Formula One drivers during a packed weekend of events at Shelsley Walsh.

A blue plaque to remember Sir Stirling Moss will be unveiled at the iconic Worcestershire venue on Friday (June 11) to remember the British legend at one of the oldest motorsport venues in the world and one of his favourites.

The plaque has been created by Worcester Civic Society to commemorate the achievements of eminent people who have had an association with the city and county.

Stirling began his career by entering speed hillclimbs and in particular, those at Shelsley Walsh. He competed at Shelsley in September 1948 (1st in Class), June 1949 (securing the record for the fastest un-supercharged car) and again in September 1949 when he took Fastest Time of Day (FTD). He regularly returned to Shelsley in more recent years until his health declined.

The permanent tribute will be unveiled to kick off the Jaguar E-type 60 Anniversary celebrations, hosted by his friend Philip Porter, co-founder of the E-type Club.

Stirling’s first major international race victory came on the eve of his 21st birthday at the wheel of a borrowed Jaguar XK 120 in the 1950 RAC Tourist Trophy at Dundrod, and he always described this as his great break.

It led William Lyons (MD of Jaguar Cars) to ask him to join the planned Jaguar Works Team. In 1951 he raced one of three C-types at Le Mans, went on to break the lap record with an average speed of 105.1mph and ‘broke’ the opposition, leading to Jaguar taking a victory that did more to establish the brand worldwide than anything else in its entire history.

He went on to win the TT six more times and continued to race for Jaguar until the end of 1954. He remained a dedicated Jaguar fan.

Author and publisher Philip Porter said: “To me, Stirling was simply the greatest. Not only was he the finest all-round motorsport competitor who has ever lived, he was probably the world’s first sporting superstar – the James Bond and David Beckham of his era.”

“Admired worldwide but loved by the British, he was the English crusader who went to foreign lands and, against the odds, conquered. His victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia is remembered as one of the greatest sporting achievements of all time.’

“Stirling was pre-eminent in sports car racing in the ‘50s and also Formula 1 after multiple World Champion Fangio’s retirement. Unusually for a racing driver, he was also successful in international rallying and record-breaking.

“When he died last April, the world lost one of its greatest ever sportsmen and Britain lost one of its greatest heroes.

“It gives me great honour to unveil this blue plaque in memory of my dear friend,” he added.

Visit www.etype60.com for more on the weekend.

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