Goodwood will be swaying to the strains of ‘Happy Birthday’ when the 120,000+ visitors to the Goodwood Revival sing in harmony to wish Sir Stirling Moss – a.k.a. Mr Goodwood – their heart-felt best wishes for his 80th birthday.
Sir Stirling Moss will reach this landmark on Thursday 17 September, the relaxed ‘acclimatization’ day at Goodwood before the action-packed 2009 Revival weekend gets fully underway the following day. Stirling Moss will celebrate his 80th in style at the Revival along with his many racing friends and adversaries, plus thousands of his most ardent fans.
Taking to the track each day will be a fabulous collection of cars raced by the great man during his illustrious career, representing all his most important results and significant performances. Goodwood is confident that this will be the finest collection of ex-Moss and Moss-associated cars ever assembled, with 80 cars gathered (one for each year of his life) of the 96 vehicles that he is known to have driven during his racing career. Expect to see a few surprises in what promises to be a great tribute to the man.
Stirling Moss is arguably Britain’s greatest ever driver, with a proud racing career inextricably linked with Goodwood. His very first official race was at Britain’s inaugural post-War motor race meeting, held at Goodwood on 18 September 1948, the day after he turned 19. Stirling won this, his first race, in a 500cc Cooper JAP II. Having begun his racing career at Goodwood, he also sadly ended his career at the West Sussex circuit in 1962 when he crashed his Lotus in the Glover Trophy race. Stirling has subsequently returned to Goodwood to race in all of the Revival meetings, since the event’s inception in 1998.
During his remarkable racing career, Stirling Moss has had many famous drives, including his first of 16 Grand Prix wins at the British GP at Aintree in 1955 at the wheel of superb Mercedes-Benz W196, as well as the his legendary victory in the Mille Miglia road endurance race of the same year. Partnered by motoring journalist Denis Jenkinson (affectionately known as Jenks) as his navigator over the gruelling Italian 1,600km route, Moss drove his Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (famously numbered 722, to mark its 7:22am start time) like a man possessed to take a decisive victory in record time.
Another major highlight of his racing career took place half a century ago at Goodwood with arguably the Circuit’s single most famous race. The 1959 Tourist Trophy at Goodwood was the final race of that season, and the World Sportscar Championship points winning decider between arch rivals Aston Martin and Ferrari.
Against the odds in a truly astonishing race, which included Moss’s Aston being destroyed in a refuelling fire in the pit lane, Stirling came through to take the chequered flag and win the 1959 World Sportscar Championship for Aston Martin. The 50th anniversary of this momentous event will also be celebrated at this year’s Goodwood Revival, with Stirling being reunited with his Championship-winning Aston Martin DBR1.