The Guild recognised the unique achievement of winning titles on two and four wheels by awarding John our Driver of the Year Trophy, which was presented to him at the 1964 Annual Dinner.
He kept the trophy until, with The Guild’s full blessing, he re-dedicated it in memory of his son Henry, who had been tragically killed racing at Brands Hatch in 2009. The trophy is now awarded annually by the BRDC to the most promising young driver.
On 4 June this year, a number of Guild members, as well enthusiasts and fans gathered at the Celtic Manor resort, Newport in South Wales, to pay tribute to John on the 50th anniversary of his Formula One Championship.
On the Wednesday evening there was a dinner for 26 people, including John, Jack Sears, Mike Wilds and a number of important sponsors of the event. From Thursday midday a buffet lunch was provided as those attending gazed at cars and bikes from John’s illustrious career.
In the afternoon, rides could be bought in exotica ranging from Guild president Nick Mason’s 250 GTO, through an XK120, first production E-type drop head, 330 GTC Ferrari and an exacting D-type replica.
Those who took rides reported themselves ‘well satisfied’, and those left to watch also had the chance to drive an F1 simulator or race Carrera evolution slot-cars, have their picture taken with John, or buy signed items to benefit his Henry Surtees Memorial Foundation.
The evening featured a Gala Champagne reception, thanks to Shell, and then a banquet supper, whose interval entertainment was Guild member Simon Taylor interviewing John from the stage. This part of the event ran 100 per cent over its allotted time, but many people said they could have carried on listening for hours.
For the full story, see the July/August of Update, The Guild newsletter.