Formula One legend Stirling Moss, ‘Mr. Motor Racing,’ dies at 90

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LONDON — Stirling Moss, a daring, speed-loving Englishman regarded as the greatest Formula One driver never to win the world championship, has died. He was 90.

Mr. Moss died peacefully at his London home following a long illness, his wife, Susan, said Sunday.

“It was one lap too many,” she said. “He just closed his eyes.”

A national treasure affectionately known as “Mr. Motor Racing,” the balding Moss had a taste for adventure that saw him push cars to their limits across many racing categories and competitions. He was fearless, fiercely competitive and often reckless.

British driver Stirling Moss fastens his helmet at the 1961 U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, International (AP Photo/stf FILE).

That attitude took a toll on his slight body. His career ended early at 31, after a horrific crash left him in a coma for a month in April 1962.

“If you’re not trying to win at all costs,” he said, “what on earth are you doing there?”

By the time he retired, Moss had won 16 of the 66 F1 races he entered and established a reputation as a technically excellent and versatile driver.

“The sporting world lost not only a true icon and a legend but a gentleman,” Mercedes, one of the many teams Moss represented, posted on Twitter. “The team and the Mercedes Motorsport family have lost a dear friend. Sir Stirling, we’ll miss you.”

Arguably his greatest achievement was victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia – a 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) road race through Italy – by nearly half an hour over Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine great who was Moss’ idol, teammate and rival.

An F1 title didn’t follow, though – a travesty to many in motorsport. Moss finished second in the drivers’ championship four times (1955-58) and third on three occasions.

In 1958, Moss lost out to Ferrari’s Mike Hawthorn by one point despite winning four races to his rival’s one. His sportsmanship cost him the title, with Moss defending the actions of Hawthorn following a spin at the Portuguese Grand Prix, sparing his rival a six-point penalty.

In 1959, Moss’ car failed during the final race at Sebring International Raceway when leading and again in with a chance of the title.

“I hope I’ll continue to be described as the greatest driver who never won the world championship, but it doesn’t really matter,” Moss once said. “The most important thing for me was gaining the respect of the other drivers, and I think I achieved that.”

When his resolve to drive solely for English teams waned, Moss raced for Maserati, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz – partnering with Fangio in an all-star line-up. In total, Moss raced in 107 types of cars and boasted a record of 212 wins in the 375 competitive races he finished.

“A prodigious competitor, supremely talented racer, and consummate gentleman, he leaves an indelible mark of greatness on the history of international motorsport,” F1 team McLaren said.

Moss was born in 1929 into a racing family. His father, Alfred, competed in the Indianapolis 500; his mother, Aileen, was English women’s champion in 1936. The young Moss learned his trade during a racing boom in England after World War II.

Sir Stirling Moss and Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton shared a moment at Silverstone on May 31, 2013 (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images).

His knowledge of racing cars was second to none and he took his profession to the extreme, experimenting and risking his own safety in the process.

Moss broke both legs and damaged his spine in a crash in 1960. Even worse was the accident in Goodwood, England, two years later, when he smashed into a bank of earth at 100 mph (160 kph) without a seatbelt while competing in the Formula One Glover Trophy.

It took 45 minutes to cut him from the wreckage. He suffered brain injuries, and his body’s left side was partially paralysed for six months. With his eyesight and reflexes also permanently damaged, Moss quit racing.

“I knew that if I didn’t get out, I’d kill myself and maybe somebody else,” Moss said.

Moss then became a successful businessman, selling property and designing gadgets out of his state-of-the-art home in central London and working as a consultant to car manufacturers. He received a knighthood in 1999.

In 2010, he broke both ankles and hurt his back in a fall three floors down an elevator shaft at home.

Six years later, Moss was taken ill with a chest infection while on a cruise in Singapore and was hospitalized for 134 days before he could return home. The family described it as a “subsequent slow and arduous recovery” that led to Moss retiring from public life in 2018 at the age of 88.

Stirling Moss attended the 2009 British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, FILE).

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.