tested it in Japan. It developed good power initially, which faded as it warmed up, then there'd come distinct tang! tang! noises from the engine, head studs snapping! They'd be incandescent. It just wouldn't cool.'
John shakes his head at the memory, but observes: I think we did Honda a favour. He abandoned his oil/air-cooling, built proper production cars and swept the world. It was really tragic that at Rouen Jo Schlesser had crashed that air-cooled car, and been killed.
'I had been disappointed by the Honda performances, then spent a very frustrating year with BRM in 1969, and so we built our own first Formula 1 car, the TS7, for 1970.
While I had been struggling with the Formula 1 BRMswe had introduced our own Surtees Formula 5000 team, with the TS5s. We then built and raced our own F1 cars 1970- 78 and, when we finally withdrew, our last car was the TS21 in which Gordon Smiley won at British non-Championship Formula 1 level.'
Surtees in his own Surtees-Ford at Sitverstone, 1971, His fondest memory with these cars is of taking the 1972 F2 Japanese Grand Prix in theTSIO.
In his Surtees cars, John won a couple of Oulton Park Gold Cups in 1970 and '71, and it was disappointing when Mike Hailwood's airbox on the TS9B came loose after a retaining clip broke at Monza, which was probably all that stopped him winning the 1972 Italian Grand Prix-he lost 200-300rpm flat-out, yet still finished second.
In 1973 pre-season testing ourTSU was quicker than the Lotus 72s, but then Firestone standardised its tyres around the Lotus. I think my most satisfying programme was with the little TS10, in which I won the 1972 Formula 2 Japanese Grand Prix'
Today, at 75, John is focused upon establishing a charity commemorating his son Henry by enabling disadvantaged young people to experience some aspect of motor sport from the inside, hopefully leading them to a better life. John and wife Jane's charitable activities have also supported the pre-existing Headway Foundation. And none will fight harder for a chosen cause than motor sport's most resilient - and accomplished - warrior. ^
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