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John Surtees

Record type: Motorsport Biographies

Biography: Age 24, John Surtees of Catford comes from a racing family, for his father, Jack Surtees, was well known as the pilot of a road racing sidecar outfit and it is very largely due to parental encouragement that John has reached the top of the ladder so quickly. He made his racing debut at the age of 17, riding on a 500 cc Vincent, but it is on Norton machines tha he has scored his greatest number of victories.

In the 1954 TT series, John's first visit to the Island, he was 11th in the Junior race and 15th in the Senior, winning two silver replicas. His short circuit victories included ' doubles' at Snetterton, Ibsley, Oulton Park and Crystal Palace and 'trebles' at Cadwell, Castle Combe, Aberdare and Brand's Hatch. He was winner of the 350 cc Championship race at the Hutchinson 100 meeting and won the British Senior Champion title at Thruxton. In all, he started in 71 races in 1954 - and won 56 of them! - and finished the year by being awarded the Pinhard Prize. In 1955, as a works Norton rider John was fourth in the Junior TT and 29th (after pushing in) in the Senior. His wins on the home circuits were again innumerable and included Scarborough. Castle Combe, Thruxton, Snetterton, Ibsley, Aberdare, Brough, Aintree and Silverstone.

In 1956 John won the Senior TT at a speed of 96.57 mph and set up fastest lap at 97.79 mph. He had an impressive record during the season and comfortably won the World Championship 500 cc class with an eight point lead over runner up Walter Zeller (BMW). His wins included the 500 cc and Dutch TT and the 350 cc and 500 cc Belgian Grands Prix, whilst he was second on the Junior MV in the Dutch. During a duel with Bill Lomas in the 350 cc German Grand Prix John crashed and broke an arm. This injury put him out of action for the remainder of the season.

Turning to MVs last year, John was fourth in the Junior TT and second in the Senior, and at the end of the month he won the 500 cc class of the 'Dutch'. He was also successful again at short circuit meetings, winning many races at Crystal Palace, Oulton Park, Scarborough, Thruxton, etc. He has already won four big races this year - the 500 cc class at Imola, Italy, the same class of the Spanish Grand Prix and both 350 cc and 500 cc c;asses at Mettet last month. John is one of the 'official' MV team for both races.

(TT Special, Friday, June 06, 1958 p24)

Competed in

RacePositionTimeSpeedMachine
1960 Senior TT12:12:35.20102.44MV
1960 Junior TT22:22:24.2095.39MV
1959 Senior TT13:00:13.4087.94MV
1959 Junior TT12:46:08.0095.38MV
1958 Senior TT12:40:39.8098.63MV
1958 Junior TT12:48:38.4093.97MV
1957 Senior TT23:05:04.2097.86MV
1957 Junior TT42:52:37.6091.8MV
1956 Senior TT12:44:05.8096.57MV
1956 Junior TTRMV
1955 Senior TT293:05:13.6085.56Norton
1955 Junior TT42:54:52.2090.63Norton
1954 Senior TT151:53:04.6080.09Norton
1954 Junior TT112:12:31.6085.41Norton

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