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Phil Perry

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John Surtees, one of the early 'Greats' of motor sport, died yesterday.


He was the only man to have won world championships on both two and four wheels. .


The video below is not very helpful, as it is a series of random stills showing him manly in cars, and having the almost regulatory incongruous music track. .!


It reminded me of a radio interview he did many years ago which, for me, summed up all that is wrong with management in the UK.


Back in the 1950’s as a privateer Surtees had just won the 350cc world championship. He had written to Norton’s MD in Birmingham proposing, based upon his racing performance over previous years, that Norton supply two works Manx Norton’s, a 350 and a 500, to contest the world championships in the coming year.


After several weeks without any reply he phoned Norton’s to see what was happening and a meeting with the MD was arranged.


At the meeting the MD informed Surtees that they had discussed his proposal and thought it had much merit. However they could not proceed with it.


Surtees asked why and was told “Do you realise that if, as expected, you win both World Championships next year the prize money would mean you earned more than the Chairman of the Norton Company. . . .? "



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Look what happened to Norton. They certainly didn't overachieve in comparison to Surtees.


He was one of the greats at the time when the champions were really champions. nowadays the GP racing is nowhere near as good to see. Very humdrum.



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