Sir Stirling Moss
RJ: Now, you’ve been involved in historic festivals & meetings for quite some considerable time…
SM: I’ve been involved, effectively since it started and I’ve been to every one with the exception of 1962, when I had the crash, and the odd one or two, and so they have been, and still are very important to me.
RJ: Now have you seen it – obviously it’s grown & expanded from previous years. Does it feel any different for you now than back, say, in the 1960’s and 1970’s?
SM: It is different, yes, because it’s so massive. It’s typical Charles (Lord March), because he does everything so well. He thinks of every item and the same really with the Revival… that one, you know, amazes me even more because people come dressed in old clothes, you know even the public and so you can embrace much more the feel of the place but also of the era being celebrated .
RJ: Now what do you enjoy the most about historic festivals, what attracts you the most about them, why do you always enjoy coming back?
SM: Oh, meeting the people. I mean, going up the hill is an aside really, but we meet so many friends, some we haven’t seen for a while, but also some we’ve never met –people.. sometimes people like the guys from NASCAR and so on, and meeting them is a joy too.
RJ: Now… Roary the Racing Car, something slightly different – my 3 year old nephew absolutely loves it and that’s obviously brought you to a new audience and looking around this weekend, there’s loads of kids around as well. These kind of events and Roary etc. do a fantastic job of attracting children to the sport, do you think?
SM: Oh yes – and I think Roary the Racing Car is something kids can now identify with and what it is all about, whereas they probably, certainly couldn’t before and look at a Ferrari, say, in the same way and that’s why I do it and as you can see, I have my Roary braces on, and it’s an entirely new world for me and I enjoy that.
RJ: Looking at your post-Grand Prix career.. or more, specifically, the Goodwood accident completely stopped the career you would’ve normally had – do you think there were any events that you would’ve eventually tried – would you have done Indianapolis, for example, like your father did?
SM: Oh yes, I would’ve liked to have raced there. I was sorry I never did, and that was part of my career which would’ve been a beautiful proposition and the problem I had with it was that it would mean me giving up four weeks – at the very least – of doing the rookie tests and all the things that go with that and it just wasn’t worthwhile – as that would mean four races that I might not – or would not win – over here. So, a possible four wins over here had to outweigh a possible.. maybe a win over there, so you can see my point. I do, however, regret I missed it.
RJ: Going back a few years now, there was the Grand Prix Masters which briefly did very well. Do you think there should be something like that, specifically, for old Grand Prix drivers or is it better to have a wider range of drivers at places like the Revival?
SM: I think – it’s only worth doing something if it can be successful and whether something like that would be successful.. I don’t know. I would depend very much or the organisation, how they would do it, the experience they’ve got on board and that sort of thing. I’d like to see it as maybe an event in something like Goodwood, rather than perhaps a series.
RJ: Would you still race in something like that if it did come about?
SM: Nowadays, I’m now in a situation where my competence would go into racing sportscars, 2 litre sports car racing and to think go beyond that and drive things like the 250F.. I’m sure I would like it, but to drive it flat out, I wouldn’t feel that I could do it as much or as well as I would like to. When I drive my 2-litre OSCA, I feel with that, although I’m not as fast as the fastest I can be, I can do reasonably well with it, and I’m happy with that.
RJ: With the internet, and it’s expansion, and new technology, you have people – I suppose like me, and even younger – people who have learnt from their father’s or grandfathers about you & your racing career – do you actually find you’re more popular and well-known now then you were in your racing prime?
SM: Well, I’m busier now, than I’ve ever been. I have contracts and contacts and people to see – I’m very busy in Australia and all over the World. It’s very gratifying you know, because I can go all round the World and be at the places I want to be and want to see, and it’s very good.
RJ: Finally, is there anything else you would’ve liked to have done – we mentioned Indianapolis – anything else you never quite did, that you would’ve liked to have done?
SM: No, no, in truth, it’s worked out well – with the exception of Indianapolis – the Mille Miglia, I’m glad I did that. The Mille Miglia, though, was actually the last thing I want to do. I was very nervous about that, but in fact, I was still nervous about it until I went down the ramp and once I got going, I didn’t look back. I’ve done the Targa, I’ve done…the good and pleasurable thing about my career is that Formula 1 was only a small portion of it. I don’t care what it is, I like to try anything – I would’ve been just happy with sportscars and Formula 1 and Fangio wasn’t just a GP driver of course – he raced in all those rallies. I personally, the way I was, back then, sportscars were a great attraction and I just got into other things and events from there on.
Thanks to Sir Stirling Moss for his time and graciousness in allowing an interview, especially when he was still recuperating from his near-fatal lift shaft fall a few months previously. Many thanks to Gabby Zajacka who went above and beyond her role as media liasion officer to help secure the interview which was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2010.