At the age of 83, the 1964 Formula One and multiple motorcycle World Champion John Surtees CBE has passed away. Just before 4 pm on the 10th of March 2017, the Surtees family announced the passing of the racing legend.
Surtees had been in St Georges Hospital since February being treated with a pre-existing respiratory condition. It was after a short period of time in the intensive care unit that the 1964 World Champion “passed away peacefully” surrounded by his wife, Jane, and two daughters, Leonora and Edwina.
A statement from the family posted to the Henry Surtees Foundation facebook page read: “John was a loving husband, father, brother and friend. He was also one of the true greats of motorsport and continued to work tirelessly up until recently with The Henry Surtees Foundation and Buckmore Park Kart Circuit.
“We deeply mourn the loss of such an incredible, kind and loving man as well as celebrate his amazing life. He has set a very real example of someone who kept pushing himself at his peak and one who continued fighting until the very end.
“We would like to thank all the staff at St George’s Hospital and The East Surrey Hospital for their professionalism and support during this difficult time for us. Thank you also to all of those who have sent their kind messages in recent weeks.”
Surtees started his career on two wheels, winning the 500cc World Championship four times in his 18 years of Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing. He had 111 starts in Formula One, with six wins to his name and had the honour of racing for teams like Honda, McLaren, and Ferrari, where he won his World Championship.
He was a great man who did a lot for motorsport. The Henry Surtees Foundation was started after his son was tragically killed in a Formula 2 accident at Brands Hatch in 2009. Before which, he was an avid supporter of his son’s career. He made a great impact on the karting circuit Buckmore Park, renovating the facility to be a lot better than it used to be and creating a wonderful track for up-and-coming racers to get some great karting experience.
The Motor Sports Association chief executive Rob Jones has paid a moving tribute to the great racer, saying: “John’s passing is an enormous loss to motorsport in so many ways: the legend, the history, the heritage, the passion and the commitment, not to mention the success, which will not be surpassed.
“I recently spent some time with John at his home, where despite his family he was as enthusiastic as ever to talk about further plans for BUckmore Park, the development of the karting generally, and of course his beloved Henry Surtees Foundation.
“We send our condolences to John’s wife, Jane, and to his daughters, Leonora and Edwina.“
John Surtees was an iconic British racing driver and will be sorely missed from all in motorsport.