My tale of chasing Stirling Moss when I was a kid

I loved drawing in my spare time so I did a couple of drawings of Stirling in the Rob Walkler Lotus 18, one depicting his famous win against the might of the new Ferraris at Monaco in 1961.

So I decided to make contact with Val Pirie his secretary and arrange to visit him and ask him to sign my drawings in his famous home in Mayfair during my half term brake (in those days we had one day off) and was thrilled to have my request accepted. I think my dad was also pretty excited by my initiative so he met me in London at the station and took me round to the Moss house/office.

I’m glad to say that he did not embarrass me and come inside with me but even he had to get a glimpse of the great man, a real legend in his own lunchtime!When I bought my little Cooper S I lived in Dorking, Surrey, where the Rob Walker Racing Garage was, and I would often cruise by and se if Moss was parked outside.

These were in the days when testing the racer before a Grand Prix entailed a quick trip up the Mickleham bypass, one of the earliest dual carriageway roads in the UK through the famous “deceptive” bends round the Givons Grove roundabout and back down to Dorking and into the garage before the cops were alerted, complete with open exhaust and open wheels!

Anywaythis particular day Moss was there and had his 997 Mini Cooper there (SM 777). So I waited outside for him to get in his car and proceeded to follow him.To my joy he left Dorking in the direction of Guildford along the A25 right past my home and along my local race track! I knew the road intimately, but here I was following the most famous racing driver in the world just him and me, I cannot describe the feeling of anticipation. Out through Westcott up Coast Hill along all the sweeping bends towards Abinger Hammer with a little kink past the famous striking man with the hammer and anvil on the clock and I was glued to the rear of his car, God knows what he thought?! I was shaking with excitement as we came up to the railway arch coming into Gomshall, a kink right followed by a sharp left exit.

I thought I knew everything about driving fast on the road but I learnt a new skill dimension following him through there! But if Stirling could do it in a Mini so could Nick Faure!

We progressed out of the village to the 3 lane Shere bypass and my little short stroke 999cc car had the edge on his 997 long stroke car, so there I was overtaking my hero the Great Stirling Moss, the problem was I did not know what to do then, so I rushed up Newlands Corner trying to show my confidence to the world’s greatest racing driver glued to my rear bumper, I turned sharp left at the top following the road down past the golf course into Merrow, but I didn’t know where he wanted to go so when we got into the town I slowed to let him by and I got a wave of acknowledgement. To this day that was one of the most meaningful waves that I have ever had in my entire career!