Stirling Moss - Mission Impossible 2, by Philip Porter
Continuing our occasional series highlighting that Stirling was, above all, a racer.
1959 Dutch Grand Prix in Cooper-Climax at Zandvoort
The Dutch Grand Prix which took place in 1959 was one of the races in which Moss suffered from the Colotti gearbox which blighted his season. Stirling was driving Rob Walker's 2½-litre Cooper, now fitted with double wishbone rear suspension for the first time. In practice, with a head-on wind down the straight, he was getting 6,750rpm in fifth gear, a speed of 150mph plus.
In this race, the handicap was provided by Moss himself. Though sitting on pole, he most uncharacteristically made a dreadful start.
‘It was Bonnier's BRM which led first time round from Gregory's Cooper,’ Stirling recalled, ‘with Brooks's Ferrari third chased by Schell, Brabham, Behra and Graham Hill, all ahead of me. Gregory passed Bonnier to take the lead and for several laps they fought it out with Brabham watching it all in third place. I was sixth on lap 12, and Graham Hill in the Lotus and I were being baulked by Behra, who was holding us up badly.
‘Not until lap 24 did I scrape past him into fourth place, and then ran right away from him to try to make up the third of a lap I had lost on the leaders whilst trying to pass the Ferrari. On lap 34 I was 11 seconds behind Bonnier. By lap 40 I had reduced this to eight seconds. On the 49th lap, I passed Jack into second place and closed up on the BRM. On the 60th lap I was through into the lead, with just 15 laps to go.’
Once again, it had been a great comeback drive but this one was not to have a happy ending. With just 12 laps to go, he was out with a broken ball race in the bell-housing. Though there was no glory on this occasion, it had still been a terrific drive and proven, if proof be needed, Stirling's pre-eminence at this time once again.
Click on the following link to read 'Mission Impossible 1, by Philip Porter'
Click on the following link to view the Stirling Moss book collection.