The cars, bikes, drivers and riders gathered in John Surtees’ memory (Simon Hildrew, Jakob Ebrey Photography).


he sixth annual Henry Surtees Foundation Team Karting Challenge was staged once

again at Mercedes-Benz World on 11th July and raised the highest sum ever – an incredible £81,573.48 for the Henry Surtees Foundation and Brooklands Museum before direct costs to contractors.

The 2017 event was the highest profile event yet and featured a special tribute to the charity’s founder, John Surtees CBE, who sadly passed away in March. During the karting interval, celebrity drivers and riders took to the Mercedes- Benz track for a spectacular demonstration of vehicles (both two and four-wheeled) to honour John. They included the Lola T70 to commemo- rate John winning the inaugural Canadian- American Sports Car Championship in 1966, a car that was also raced by Graham Hill; TS7, the first Formula One car built by Team Surtees at its Edenbridge base, which John raced at the British Grand Prix in Brands Hatch in 1970 and which was driven in the demonstration by five times Le Mans winner Derek Bell MBE; TS10, the Surtees Formula Two car designed and built in Edenbridge and in which John won the Japanese GP and Imola Gold Cup in 1972, demonstrated by Alexander Simms; TS15, an F2 car designed and built by the Surtees team which Carlos Pace car drove to victory in the prestigious Interlagos race in Brazil and TS19, an F1 car which was the subject of a controversial sponsorship deal with Durex but went on to win an advertising award, driven in the demonstration by Oliver Turvey. The motorcycles demonstrated included the 1949 500cc Vincent Grey Flash on which John won his first ever race, which he considered the most important of his life. It was ridden in the demonstration by former road racer Freddie Spencer; the Norton 500cc Experimental


Prototype – John purchased the remains of this bike in 1992 and working with the former Chief Mechanic of the Norton works team, Charlie Edwards, the pair scoured the country to locate original parts. They were fortunate to find the unique trailing link front forks that the bike was tested with and a number of other parts. In 1998 the machine was finally started and John ran it for the first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It was demonstrated by Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles; the 1959 350cc Manx Norton R Petty Special – Ray Petty was a noted tuner and preparer of Manx Nortons and this bike was ridden by British former GP motorcycle road racer and saloon car racer Stuart Graham, the only winner of TTs on both two and four wheels (post-war); and the 1960 MV Agusta four- cylinder GP motorcycle on which John won seven motorcycle championships and six Isle of Man TTs. This was ridden by former TT racer Mat Oxley. The full grid of 35 teams for the kart race consisted of 140 professional and amateur drivers, all battling it out in a two-hour endurance race in Daytona’s high-performance, two-stroke Dmax karts. The race was started by Derek Bell. There was exciting action all down the field and the unpredictable weather caused drama with multiple yellow flags, bunching up, spectacular manoeuvres and spins.

As Jane Surtees, John’s widow, dropped the chequered flag it was Team Titan that won, maintaining their place on the podium for the third consecutive year with their four-man team comprising of Martin O’Neil, his sons Jack and Andy and Owen Jenman. In hot pursuit and in second place was Choctails with its drivers Simon Delamare, George Turner, Alex Burgess and Calum Jones, who were also awarded the Corporate Award for the second consecutive year.

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