moss formula

George Harrison on a racing motorcycle (note the number 43), Aintree Racecourse, 1950′s. Photo © Harrison Family.

“Come the start of the New Year [1978], it was time sorrowfully to head back to Henley [on Thames], to return the Ferrari to the garage from whence it had come. While I was there, in walked George Harrison, who had arrived to take delivery of a new, black Porsche 911 Turbo.

Over the years I had come to know George a little, for our paths had crossed at the races. For all his fame, he was one of the least pretentious celebrities I ever met, an unalloyed motor racing enthusiast who loved occasionally to come to a Grand Prix, to hang out in the paddock and chat. That morning he at once began talking animatedly about the forthcoming Lotus 79.

In came a salesman with the keys for the 911, and George got up to leave. ‘D'you want to come for a spin?’ he said, and so away we went. It was a bright morning, but still freezing hard, so no time for heroics. After a while we stopped at a pub for coffee, and George got to talking about his first Grand Prix, at Aintree in 1955.

By chance it had been mine, too, and we happily reminisced about that hot, humid afternoon when the Mercedes quartet finished 1-2-3-4 and Stirling Moss won a Grand Prix for the first time. ‘I’d seen Stirling before,’ George said, ‘but that day I couldn’t believe that I was actually seeing Fangio with my own eyes…’

Thereafter, whenever I encountered a W196 I thought of Aintree, yes, but also that morning in Henley, and it was just so at the Goodwood Revival in September. George Harrison, sadly, has been gone for 10 years now, but as I wandered around the collection of Fangio’s cars - which included two W1 96s, a streamliner and a conventional monoposto - in the paddock I thought how much he, too, would have revelled in it.” - “Reflections” by Nigel Roebuck, Motor Sport Magazine, December 2011