Sir Stirling Moss (1929 - 2020)

A personal tribute to Sir Stirling Moss by David & Kate Cottingham

Over the last week, I have been reflecting on the loss of Sir Stirling Moss and his influence over virtually my entire life.

For seven decades the man whom, in my eyes, was the greatest British racing driver and sportsman of all time, figured in my decisions and passion for Historic Motor racing and cars in general.

It all started when at the tender age of eight, I became aware of the newly produced Jaguar XK 120 and fixed pictures on my bedroom wall.

I clearly remember at the time Stirling’s achievement in being part of the Jaguar factory team and accomplishing seven days and seven nights averaging over 100 miles per hour at the Montlhery circuit in an XK 120 Fixed head coupe LWK 707.

In 1953 I started to read Autosport every Thursday and took a major interest in following Jaguar cars and Stirling’s many competition successes.

In August of 1960 and again in 1961 I was with a group of pals at the Goodwood Circuit for Stirling’s overall victories in the Tourist Trophy race with the Ferrari Short Wheelbase owned by Rob Walker.

I was not present for that fateful day in April 1962 when Stirling came so close to losing his life. The daily reports in Lord Beaverbrook’s Daily Express during the long period of Stirling being in a coma, and eventual lengthy recovery was followed with trepidation and thankfulness for his slow but astonishing eventual recovery.

I purchased the ex-Bob Berry lightweight XK 120, MWK 120 in 1963 and commenced (unbeknown to my mother) initially in sprints and then progressed to circuit racing virtually every weekend.

Through the 60s, 70s, and 80s I restored and competed with numerous other Jaguars including the works XK 120s JWK 977 and JWK 988, a Fixed Head XK 120, MHP 682, and the ex Lumsden Sargeant Lightweight E Type 49 FXN. After that, I switched to Ferraris and raced various models including a 166 MM Barchetta 0068M, and of course 500TRC 0682 MDTR. In the early 80s, our company (DK Engineering) restored and maintained both of the Rob Walker TT winning 250 Short Wheelbases, which led to many rides in the passenger seat with Stirling at the wheel for both myself, my wife Kate and my sons Justin, Jeremy and James.

Throughout my last five decades of competing and involvement with Historic racing, I have been blessed with my paths crossing those of Sir Stirling and Lady Susie year in year out. Their Christmas card was always regularly received and both were always so welcoming, enthusiastic and friendly, to be competing in events with Stirling was always most special.

Events that stand out in my memory include the 1985 Mille Miglia when I was in the freshly restored XK 120 JWK 988 (Stirling won the 1950 TT in this car) and Stirling was driving the Mercedes SLR in which he and Jenks achieved the outstanding Mille Miglia victory in a time which is beyond the comprehension of anyone who is familiar with the Mille Miglia roads

In 1992 with MWK 120 at Dundrod race circuit, Stirling also participated and helped to make happen, a fantastic historic event on the totally unchanged and challenging original TT circuit. (John Watson was also a participant)

The World Endurance Sports car races were organised by Valentine Lindsay in the early 80s with Stirling as Patron and fellow competitor in most of the events.

Stirling regularly participated in the Mille Miglia, Laguna Seca, Bahamas Speed Week (retrospective) Silverstone Classic, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival, Tour Auto, the list goes on.

Stirling also graciously joined us and opened the ‘new’ DK Engineering premises in Watford in 1985. A very happy event.

Stirling has been an outstanding Ambassador for Motor Sport, a great supporter of car clubs and a thoroughly good friend to myself and Kate and to countless others.

I feel most honoured and privileged to have been a colleague during his years of Historic Motor Racing.

Nothing is forever, but for sure Stirling had a damn good try and consistently gave his all in every aspect of the sport.

I join everyone in saying how much we will miss you Stirling.


David & Kate Cottingham

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