SIR STIRLING MOSS reached his 90th birthday on Tuesday and Goodwood extended its warmest wishes to him and his family on the landmark occasion.
At the weekend’s Goodwood Revival, a special celebration was held in Sir Stirling’s honour, at which the Duke of Richmond addressed a capacity crowd and drivers including four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, former F1 driver David Brabham, nine-time Le Mans 24 Hour winner Tom Christensen, three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and five-time Le Mans 24 Hour winner and 1986 World Sportscar champion Derek Bell.
Following the address, the Duke accompanied Sir Stirling’s wife, Lady Susie Moss, in an Aston Martin DBR1 – a car synonymous with Moss and Goodwood – at the head of a parade that numbered some of his most celebrated cars.
In his speech, the Duke of Richmond said: “Seventy-one years ago, next week, on September 17, 1948, an aspiring young racing driver celebrated his 19th birthday.
“The following day, on September 18, the Goodwood Motor Circuit opened its doors for the very first time and Stirling Craufurd Moss entered his very first motor race.
“Driving a 500cc Cooper-JAP, Stirling didn’t just win his first motor race, he overwhelmed the opposition. In a three-lap race lasting just over six minutes, he won by nearly 30 seconds.
“It was the shape of things to come and the birth of a legend.”
Over the course of the next 14 seasons, Stirling would compete in a further 62 races at Goodwood, winning 22 times in total and taking 12 podium places.
The Duke said it wasn’t just the numbers of appearances or victories, or the fact that his first and last races both took place at Goodwood.
He said he seemed to have a natural affinity for the place, and if he loved Goodwood, then in equal measure Goodwood loved him.
He continued: “Some regard him as the greatest driver of all time, others the greatest never to win the world championship or even the greatest all-rounder. To us he is, and always will be, simply Mr Goodwood.
“When the Festival of Speed began here at Goodwood in 1993, followed by the Revival in 1998, Stirling became a fixture at Goodwood once more: a patron of the festival and an ever-present superstar at the Revival, always supported by his wonderful and amazing wife, Susie. I am proud to be able to call them both friends. And I’m delighted to say that the wonderful Susie is here with us today.
“And it became a tradition over the years for Stirling to celebrate his birthday with us here at Goodwood. In recent times, his 70th and 80th birthdays were both marked at the Revival with great fanfare and an enormous cake.
“Sadly, ill-health means he can’t be with us here today to celebrate his 90th so our celebration is tinged with sadness. But still, we raise a toast to our ultimate hero of the Goodwood Motor Circuit over so very, very many years. Happy birthday, Sir Stirling! Thank you for all the amazing memories: we miss you more than we can possibly say.”