John Surtees Awarded CBE Honors, Still Not a Knight Despite Being a Living Racing Legend

John Surtees 1 photo
John Surtees was appointed a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the New Year’s Honours List. Now, aged 81, Surtees is one of the biggest names in last century's road racing scene on both two and four wheels.
A former GP500 rider, Surtees also raced in the 350cc class, and after hanging his motorcycle leathers, he went on to win the Formula 1 championship. Surtees has no less than four 500cc world titles to his name, as he dominated the 6th decade of the 20th century.

John Surtees was crowned a World Champion in the motorcycle Grand Prix in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960, but he also took the 350cc title in '58, '59 and '60. During three years (1958-1960), Surtees authoritatively dominated the two-wheeled racing scene, winning 32 out of the 29 GP rounds, including five of the six GP rounds at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, in the 350cc and 500cc classes.

The only man in history to have won both the GP and Formula 1 championships

John Surtees, CBE, remains, to date, the only racer to have won both the motorcycle GP and Formula 1 world titles. Judging by how things roll today, it will be still a long time until someone manages to achieve the same performance.

After joining Formula 1 at the beginning of the '60s, John Surtees won the World Championship in 1964 and then ran his own team until 1972. He is also the oldest Formula 1 and motorcycle GP world champion alive, after Jack Brabham died in 2014, and Geoff Duke passed away last year.

Looking back at his legendary achievements in sport, it's still not clear why he wasn't knighted already, as what he has done for the Empire is more than recommendable for such an honor. And not posthumously, as some believed about Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister would be.
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