By Pete Vack
Photos by Jonathan Sharp and Hugues Vanhoolandt
On October 25, 1964, as he won the Formula One World Championship driving for Ferrari, John Surtees achieved what no man before or since has accomplished, becoming a world champion on both two wheels and four. Catching up with the indestructible 67-year-old champion at the Amelia Island Concours in 2001, we were granted an exclusive interview with the Champion and learned firsthand the perils and pleasures encountered while racing for both MV Agusta and Ferrari. This interviewed originally appeared in Forza magazine in 2001 and we reproduce the full text below for the first time in VeloceToday. This is part 1 of 2.
He is still instantly recognizable, though most photos one might see of him date from the 1960s. The eyes are sharp, clear and blue, and if he has a bit less hair than he once did, he is as energetic as ever. His complexion, once much the concern of Ferrari Team Manager Dragoni, is as pale as it has always been. He speaks calmly, slowly, containing each word with an accent very similar to actor Michael Caine, also from South London. Now living in Edenbridge, Kent, John Surtees is very much at home with himself, at ease with the past, comfortable with the present, and confident of the future.