The Glasgow Herald / April 1 1985

Respectable return behind the wheel for Moss at 55

A relatively short piece on the Herald’s sport page completely masks the turmoil in a young man’s breast when attending his first ever motor racing event in the pits. The sheer abundance of beautifully blonde young women is something I can never forget. The other thing is what absolute gents I was sent to interview. Both Stirling Moss, who got a racing driver’s equivalent of the yips after a crash that should have killed him and was back at the wheel for the first time anywhere, and dear Innes Ireland, the Scot who ran Scotland’s first and only racing team Écurie Écosse and was, as the piece says, the Herald’s former racing correspondent, could not have been kinder. The piece barely does justice to either, and it was a wonderful day.

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STIRLING MOSS got back behind the wheel of a competition racing car on Saturday for the first time in 23 years.

Moss, now 55, had his racing career and most everything else shattered in a catastrophic crash at Goodwood in 1962. He had not been back on the race track in “serious” competition until now.

Moss, who at first lost his ability to concentrate, has long been back in top physical and mental form, and is “still the same as he’s always been,” said Innes Ireland.

It was Ireland who coaxed Moss over to take part in the six-race series called the Playboy US Endurance Cup in California. Saturday’s six hour race, like the others, carried a purse of $20,000 plus other sweeteners, including a $50,000 “contingency” reward from Goodyear if the overall winner came in on Goodyear tyres.

They did not. A pride of Chevrolet Corvettes swept to victory, with Moss-Ireland’s slower Porsche well to the fore, finishing thirteenth in a field of less macho cars.

Ireland, formerly the Herald’s motoring correspondent, drove an exciting race, although his stint was actually shorter than of either Moss or Joe Cogvill, the car’s American owner-driver. An airlock in the fuel tank took up room intended for petrol, forcing Ireland’s premature return to the pits.

Meanwhile, the scheme to have Stirling drive the remaining five races rests on the team’s ability to come up with some sponsorship. Saturday’s race cost an estimated $250,000 to put on.

The most money Moss ever won in a race was £1000 for the 1961 German Grand Prix.

SCOTTISH rally champion, Ken Wood, suffered another cruel blow on the York National Rally based in Teeside on Saturday.

Engine failure on the second special stage of the event meant that Ken was robbed of his second consecutive finish in the Shell Oils/Autosport National Rally Championship.

His Golden Wonder-sponsored Rover Vitesse has a special hand-built engine. The next round of the championship is in three weeks, and Wood will have a race against time to find a makeshift engine.

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