F1 Gold | Stirling Moss: How one of motorsport's immortals began his racing career

Stirling Moss in the early years of his career. Image: Getty Images
Stirling Moss in the early years of his career. Image: Getty Images

The world of motorsport has been left with a near-unfillable gap following the passing of one of its greats: Sir Stirling Moss.

Moss was a racing legend, having graced many motorsport codes with his presence. His skill behind the wheel was virtually without peer, and could he achieve things from behind the wheel that his rivals could only dream of.

Though he has never won a Formula 1 world championship, how he performed was only but a glimpse into the mastermind that was Stirling Moss.

But who is he? Or rather - and with great respect - who was he? While many of us only know Stirling Moss the racer, not much is often said of where and how he got into racing.

The more significant story is far too detailed and intricate to relay in just one sitting, but there's always a moment to reflect on this great legend while sipping on your sixth cup of coffee during lockdown.

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Stirling Moss (right) and Niki Lauda, who passed away in 2019. Image: Getty Images

Just a kid

Moss was 19-years-old when he took up racing, but it was in his early years that his parents groomed him for a career in motorsport.

It all started with his name. In the years following his time as a racing driver, Moss would often tell in interviews how his mother wanted to name him Hamish, but his father was adamant that he would be called Stirling.

READ: Motorsport great Sir Stirling Moss dies aged 90 - F1 fans react

Both his parents were amateur racers. His mother competed in numerous hillclimb events in her youth, while his father finished 16th in the 1924 Indy 500. Racing was in the family’s blood, and it was just a matter of time before Stirling would follow in those footsteps.

Stirling Moss tackled his first race in his father’s BMW 328, followed by a move to 500cc single-seaters, and eventually F1. What made him an even bigger favourite among fans, was the fact that he’d score victories in race cars that were nowhere the fastest on the grid.

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Stirling Moss driving one of race cars. Image: Getty Images

Know when to stop

But just as everything in life has a beginning, so, too, does it have an end. In 1962, during an event at Goodwood, England, Moss suffered a horrific accident that left him in a coma for a month. And as expected, the public was restless on any news regarding their favourite racing son.

Moss would eventually awake from his coma, but one side of his body was left paralysed. Once he recovered from it and had full mobility of all his limbs, he got back into a race car for his first test after his accident.

READ: 'Everyone regarded him as the man' - Damon Hill hails Sir Stirling Moss as F1 'great'

Sadly, Moss acknowledged that the skills and instincts that drove him throughout his racing career were not there anymore. This forced him to call time on his career. For more than six decades, Moss continued his involvement in motorsport but never donned his racing suit for competitive reasons ever again.

We remember a legend. We remember a hero. We remember the great Sir Stirling Moss.

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Stirling Moss giving Lewis Hamilton some pointers. Images: Getty Images

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