Sir Stirling Moss recalled

THE passing of Sir Stirling Moss rekindled memories for several Midland Group members who had briefly met the great man over the years.

On a cool autumn day in 2014 several of us were invited by Jaguar to try out two of the company’s most iconic racing cars at its test track at Fen End near Kenilworth – with the added pull that Sir Stirling would be there.

In the end he and legendary Jaguar test driver Norman Dewis, who died in June last year, kept us enthralled as they reminisced over a lifetime of driving very quickly indeed.

The fact that both the Jaguar C-Type and D-Type at the track, between them four times winners of the Le Mans 24 Hours race, were nicely made replicas did nothing to dampen the spirits of the MGMW members who poured themselves into their snug cockpits.

Sir Stirling Moss with Norman Dewis and Midland Group stalwarts Taylor, Swift, Donaldson and Russon.

Many years before that – the autumn of 1996 – Sir Stirling had been on parade when Mercedes-Benz launched the first generation of its new SLK-Class roadster to the press at a posh hotel near Malaga in southern Spain.

Ever smiling and politely answering questions he must have heard a thousand times before, he happily took each motoring writer out for a spin, with the man himself at the wheel.

As Ian Donaldson recalls: “Stirling drove quite gently down the hotel’s long drive to the main road but turned up the wick a bit when we got there. He talked the whole time about how good the car was and was the perfect brand ambassador for Mercedes.

“It’s one of my most treasured memories from hundreds of press launches. He was a gentleman and a delight to know, however briefly.”