Part 3 focuses on the end of Moss’s career.
Read part 1 here Stirling Moss: The Greatest to Never Win the Title? – Part 1
Read part 2 here Stirling Moss: The Greatest to Never Win the Title? – Part 2
After the closure of Vanwall, Moss joined Rob Walker’s race team, who he had competed for in Argentina, full time for 1959.
He won two Grands Prix that year in Portugal and Monza and finished third in the title, which went to Australian Jack Brabham.
Moss achieved 4 pole positions throughout the season and set a lap record in Reims before being disqualified for getting a push start after gearbox issues late in the race.
It was a similar story during the 1960 F1 season.
Stirling Moss at the Dutch Grand Prix 1960
Moss again scored two victories and a disqualification, this time for driving in the opposite direction after trying to get going again after a spin.
Moss won in Monaco and at the Riverside raceway in the USA.
Brabham once again won the championship in a league of his own with 5 wins in a row in the middle of the season.
In 1961, Moss scored two more wins, the first, at Monaco by 3.6s from the famous sharknose Ferrari.
Moss at the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix
And the second came in Germany where a risky gamble to run with wet tyres played into his hands and the more nimble Lotus he was driving was able to beat the grunt of the Ferraris.
He finished third in what was his final F1 season.
The Goodwood Crash
The Glover Trophy was a non championship F1 race held at Goodwood from 1949-65.
Moss had won the race twice in 1956 and 59.
It had been won by other succesful drivers of the day in other years as well such as Innes Ireland and John Surtees.
Moss took pole position for the 10th Glover Trophy in 1962. Graham Hill was in second and Bruce McLaren in third.
Moss at Goodwood 1962
McLaren had just won the Lavant cup on the same day at the same circuit and was in the form of his life.
Moss lost the lead to Hill on lap 3 and had to pit later on due to gearbox issues.
He resumed the race 3 laps down and set about trying to achieve the fastest lap of the race whilst Hill cruised out front.
Moss was in a duel with Surtees, who had also come into trouble, for the lap record.
Surtees had spun early on and had been through the pits twice.
Surtees set a 1m.22s lap which Moss matched and whilst trying to go faster still, crashed at St Mary’s after coming up behind Hill on lap 37.
He had been trying to go round the outside of Hill and his car had shot off the track into a bank with spectators on it.
It took him half an hour to be freed from the wreckage and he was taken to hospital.
He was stated to be suffering from head injuries, lacerations, and a suspected fractured leg and was kept under observation in a Neuro Surgery overnight.
The accident put Moss in a coma for a month afterwards.
When he came to, he was partially paralysed across his entire left side.
Moss however, ever the fighter, would only allow himself to make a full recovery.
Moss toasts the nurses who treated him at a theatre in London.
A year later in 1963, he was ready to drive again and conducted a test, back at Goodwood.
He was in a Lotus 19 and lapped only a few tenths slower than he had previously done before the accident.
However, he believed he had lost his instinctive skill and simply pulled up back in the pits after half an hour and said “I am retiring.”
Moss does not remember anything from the crash having been knocked unconscious at the incident and not waking up for a significant amount of time.
The last thing he remembers is going onto the grass and heading for the bank.
The wrecked Lotus
Speaking in the Daily Mail years later he speaks about waking up from his coma.
“The doctors weren’t sure I’d survive but I woke up in hospital four weeks later. Rather than feeling relieved, however, I was annoyed I was stuck in hospital and not able to get back out on the track. I’d broken my back and legs before and come back so I was determined to do so again – despite my mother not wanting me to.”
“But when I returned a year later at Goodwood it was obvious the level of concentration needed to compete had gone. I knew that if I didn’t get out I’d kill myself and maybe somebody else. So, at 32, my plans of continuing to race until my late 40s like my hero Fangio were over.”
Sources: Motorsport Magazine – 1062 Goodwood F1 Glover Trophy report
The Guardian – Stirling Moss badly hurt at Goodwood
Daily Mail – Former racing driver, Sir Stirling Moss, 82, relives the horrific crash 50 years ago that put an end to his career
Moss never really competed again at full flight motorsport but was very proud of his achievements.
“I hope I’ll continue to be described as the greatest driver who never won the world championship but it doesn’t really matter as the most important thing for me was gaining the respect of the other drivers and I think I achieved that. I had a fantastic innings and you couldn’t think of a better life for a young man.
“You go to a race, you go out and the girls are after you, and I would sometimes pour water over my overalls so they’d stick to me and hopefully they’d think that was quite sexy. So really I was very lucky.”
He continued to be a Mercedes Ambassador late into his life and became commonplace at events such as the Goodwood Revival driving old cars of his such as the W196 and the 300SLR.
He has always been synonymous with speed and the supposed standard question police were to ask British speeding motorists was “Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?”
When Moss was stopped he had rather a difficult time proving that he was. [Daily Telegraph]
To all in motorsport Sir Stirling Moss is one of the best.
It is rare to get drivers these days who do not believe so strongly in themselves and their personal self belief is what drives them on providing us with the thrill of the competition.
Those competing Moss however believed that he was the best. Simple as that.
The greatest to never win the world championship is a negative moniker for such an incredible driver.
He is much more than that.