A Double Champion

klemcoll, John Surtees, Cooper, Oulton Park

John Surtees, seen above, was already a famous motorcycle racer having won a total of seven World Championships on both 350cc and 500cc machines for MV Agusta. Now he was thinking about trying four wheels…

So here he is on the grid at Oulton Park on April 2, 1960 aboard a Cooper-BMC T52 FJr. entered for him by Ken Tyrrell’s team. It was only two weeks earlier when Surtees had his first race on four wheels at Goodwood in the same car where he finished second to the already famous Jim Clark who was driving the new Lotus 18 and ahead of such already well known drivers such as Trevor Taylor, Peter Arundell and Mike Spence.

Here at Oulton the day was less successful as Surtees was forced to retire with gearbox woes. However, Colin Chapman, always on the lookout for another potential champion, immediately convinced Surtees to move up to an F1 car for the BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone on May 14th. There Surtees qualified an excellent sixth but had to retire early in the race with an oil leak. However, Surtees came back for Lotus at the British Grand Prix in July where he qualified only 11th and behind teammates Jim Clark and Innes Ireland but drove well to finish second overall after winner Jack Brabham and well ahead of Ireland in third with Clark having retired.

Thus began an eminent career which would culminate in another World Championship, this one on four wheels for Ferrari in 1964.

Photo by Edward Eves ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com

To see more photos from our archive go to: http://www.klemcoll.com/TheGallery.aspx

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