We have had a week of deserved tributes to the man who was, depending on your point of view, either arguably or emphatically Britain’s greatest racing driver.
Statistics don’t enter into it. Titles have minimal bearing. Here was a man whose youth and skill held the motoring world spellbound, and who became the living embodiment of speed and style for decades afterwards.
There have been endless recitals of his achievements in the past week and there’s no point adding another. If you are visiting this page then you probably know it all already.
If you don’t then settle down in the sunshine with a copy of Richard Williams’s The Last Road Race, which is by no means definitive but at least gives a strong account of itself at capturing Stirling’s world at its peak. It’s a glimpse of the moment when he ascended to claim Fangio’s throne as the greatest driver in the world and the sort of racing that Stirling so revelled in – the sort in which the game was one of life and death – was at its most astounding.
At the S&G, as in many places across the country, there remains a vacuum. Sir Stirling Moss may not have been present and visible for some considerable time but he was there, we wished him well and we hoped that he may yet rally. Perhaps that as much as anything is a measure of how vital he was for so long.
There has been much reflection here on the many encounters with Stirling that were part and parcel of life in the sport – from first meeting him during his British Touring Car days with Audi to many sporting and social gatherings that followed.
Most of all I treasure the last encounter, at Goodwood in 2015, when Lady Susie gleefully cajoled him into signing a photograph of him driving to victory at Monaco in 1956 for my son, whose middle name is Stirling.
“Is it spelt right?” he demanded. Having been suitably assured, he cheerily did the deed and will forever remain the measure of what a racing driver should look like to my seven-year-old. And his father.
All thoughts are with Lady Susie, the Moss family and his many friends – and with our sport, which is infinitely the poorer for his absence.