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John Surtees' career to be celebrated at 2020 Classic TT

John Surtees’ remarkable career will be celebrated at this year’s Classic TT presented by Bennetts.

Surtees, the only man to ever win two and four wheel World Championships, will be recognised with a celebration lap featuring some of the bikes that are inextricably linked with his name, ridden by well-known TT riders and guests connected to John’s motorcycle racing.

The 2020 event will mark the 60th anniversary of John’s final TT appearance, where he won his sixth and final TT Race claiming the Senior TT title. In total John Surtees won seven Motorcycle World Championships including consecutive 350 and 500cc doubles in 1958, 1959 and 1960.


The 1960 MV Agusta that John rode to victory in the World Championship and Senior TT will take centre stage for the celebration lap and feature in a one off display in the Classic TT Paddock along with a number of other iconic machines from the Surtees family collection.

Other bikes include the 1949 Vincent Grey Flash that John won his first race on – a machine, which he considered the most important of his life and a Black Lightening Vincent from the same year. John’s time riding Nortons is also reflected with three bikes from the family collection – an F Norton 500cc Experimental Prototype, a 1959 Manx Norton and a 1953 Works Norton.

Riders confirmed to appear in the parade lap on Saturday 29th August include 23 time TT Race winner John McGuinness, Mick Grant who has ridden a number of John’s bikes over the years, Paul Hollywood, who became a firm friend of John’s after filming the BBC Legends documentary, Steve Parrish, Steve Plater and Ian Skinner, John’s team mechanic for over 35 years.

John’s record on the Isle of Man included six TT race wins – four of which were in the blue riband Senior TT with a further four podiums from only 15 race starts - and only one DNF - before moving to four wheels and Formula 1 in 1961, clinching the World Championship in 1964 with Ferrari.

The event has been organised with the Surtees family to celebrate John’s life and career and John’s wife Jane and daughter Edwina will be attending. The celebration will also highlight the work of the TT Riders Association of which John was a former president.

Bikes that will run

1960 MV Agusta four-cylinder GP motorcycle - John Surtees won seven motorcycle championships riding for MV Agusta and six Isle of Man TTs.

1949 500cc Vincent Grey Flash, the motorcycle on which John Surtees won his first ever race and considered it the most important race of his life. John Surtees built the Vincent Grey Flash motorcycle in 1979 using a large number of parts from the original machine that he built in 1950 whilst working as an apprentice at the Vincent Company. It was the first of many wins before he transferred to a Norton to compete in International events.

Norton 500cc Experimental Prototype - John purchased the remains of this bike in 1992, working with the former Chief Mechanic of the Norton works team, Charlie Edwards the pair scoured the country to locate original parts. They were fortunate to find the unique trailing link front forks that the bike was tested with and a number of other parts. They worked closely together to make sure they got the restoration right. In 1998 the machine was finally started up and John ran it for the first time at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.


Vincent Black Lightning - John Surtees built the engine originally in 1953 using some parts from his father’s 1949 Black Lightning.

1959 350cc Manx Norton R.Petty Special - Ray Petty was a noted tuner and preparer of Manx Norton’s. This machine has shorter stroke engine to standard; Ray copied the 78mm x 73mm Bore & Stroke of the Joe Craig Works Nortons of 1954.

1953 500cc Works Norton - This Works Norton is one of the last works machines built by the original Norton Company in the early Sixties and features an ultra-short-stroke engine of 86mm x 60mm and outside flywheel.

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