1959 Nürburgring 1000Kms in Aston Martin DBR1 with Jack Fairman
In 1958, Moss had had to regain the lead once and later build one when his advantage had been wiped out by his slower team mate. A year later, he chose Jack Fairman to partner him as Jack was fast, reliable and consistent, rather than outstandingly quick. This one was really to stretch Stirling.
To add to the pressure, he had done a deal with Astons, who were intent on concentrating on Le Mans a fortnight later and the resultant publicity value should they be successful, to enter a single car at the 'Ring if he covered the expenses should it not win. Knowing Stirling's 'careful' attitude to financial matters, this was, as he now admits, pretty rash!
So, we had a lone Aston against the might of Ferrari and Porsche. The Aston was far from new and in fact this was the third successive year they had done this event, triumphing in the previous two. The Ferraris were quicker in practice. However, Moss made his usual brilliant start and led by 15 seconds after the first gruelling lap.
For his first 16 flying laps he was under his 1958 record and built up an incredible six-minute lead. However, when Jack Fairman took over, it began to rain and made the conditions even more challenging. Luckily, Fairman was a highly experienced driver but he was not in the very top league. Then: disaster. One of the cursed slower competitors got in his way and forced Jack off into a ditch. It looked impossible. The rear of the car was beached.
Now, as a young lad, Jack had worked for his father's laundry business. This often involved carrying very large, and heavy, baskets of clean laundry up several flights of stairs to the upper floors of commercial premises. As a result, Fairman developed exceptionally strong back muscles. He literally lifted the rear end of the big Aston out of the ditch.
Meanwhile, back in the pits, Stirling had given up hope and had started packing away his skid lid, goggles and shoes when someone yelled that Jack was on his way in.
Stirling yanked poor old Fairman out of the driving seat and set off with a 77-second deficit.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it from that moment on. Here, I thought, was a good excuse for me to have a go; if the thing broke people would not say, 'He's a car-breaker'. They'd say: 'Oh boy, he had a go.' I went after the two Ferraris and started dicing; I took the lead again on lap 29 and built it up again to plus two minutes by lap 33, when I gave it back to Jack for two laps. Once again the Ferraris went at him and, when he came in on lap 35 for me to do the final nine laps, Phil Hill was 22 seconds in front.”
Once again, Stirling pushed hard. Once again, the Aston responded and held together. By sheer brilliance, he once again caught and passed the flying Ferrari to take a fabulous victory for the duo and Aston Martin.
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