Few would dare argue that Sir Sterling Craufurd Moss is anything less than a national treasure and proper VIP member of MotorPunk’s ‘Tally-ho Hero’ hall of fame. Not just because he won 212 of the 529 races he ever entered – including 16 F1 Grand Prix – but because he still says what he bloody well thinks. And in this modern age of watch sponsorships, supermodel WAGS, product placement, agents and PR spin, that’s a very rare thing.

OK, so he might have upset a few yoghurt-eaters when he said that women lacked the mental capacity for F1 (which was odd considering his sister Pat was the finest lady rally driver of her generation), and he raised a few manicured eyebrows when he said he wouldn’t want a ‘poofter’ to play him should a film about his racing career ever be made. But the truth is he is a man of his convictions … and he still stands by both those statements by the way.

Moss Vanwall Monaco

Moss was one of the first to decry the haters when Vettel was being booed early last season, and the public listened. He’s a racing driver from the old school that rubbed the FIA up the wrong way when he publicly complained that circuits like Silverstone were now too safe. Even at 84 with failing health he still seems to have a zest for life and can be seen bombing around the swankier parts of London on his motorized scooter managing his portfolio of rental properties. He’s remained ferociously passionate about motor racing and the politics of F1, and is still in big demand on the public speaking circuit, even if he is prone to going ‘off piste’ with rambling tales of ‘chasing skirt’ in his younger days.

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But it was on this day in 1958 that Sir Sterling showed the world what a true gentleman racer he was. At the Portuguese GP Moss battled his Vanwall through driving rain to take the chequered flag in front of 50,000 cheering spectators, just ahead of his fellow countryman and main rival Mike Hawthorne in a Ferrari. However, drama unfolded when the stewards threatened to disqualify Hawthorne for restarting the race in the wrong direction after a spin – hardly something he could have avoided. Moss leapt to Hawthorne’s defence claiming he was on the pavement when he was restarting and so not in violation of the rulebook. Based on Moss’s statement the Stewards eventually changed their minds and Hawthorne kept his seven driver’s points (six for second place and one for setting the fastest lap).

Mike-Hawthorn-Sterling-Moss

In the final race of the 1958 F1 season at the Moroccan GP in Casablanca, Hawthorn took 6 points for second place – 1 minute 24 seconds behind Moss’s Vanwall – but clinched the driver’s title from him by a single point.

I doubt we’ll ever see another gentleman racer quite like Sir Sterling Moss, and that is why we are pleased to celebrate his achievements as MotorPunk’s Tally-Ho Hero of the month.

Dr. O (not a woman or a poofter)

Photocredits: LAT Photographic & Wikipedia

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