John Surtees died on March 10, 2017. Respiratory failure took the seventimes motorcycling world champion at the age of 83. He is, so far, the only man to have won the biggest crown on both two wheels and four and the racing world globally recognised the passing of one of its greats on a cold morning in London. Mr Surtees was born in Tatsfield, Surrey and grew up under the watchful eye of his father Jack. Surtees Senior had spent years as a bus driver but a passion for powered competition had filled his spare time with sidecar racing and ownership of a motorcycle shop in Croydon, two elements that were to heavily influence Surtees Junior. Whilst John’s father took to the grass on a 500cc Excelsior B14 motorcycle and sidecar outfit, the young John travelled to events with his mother Dorothy (who was a fine motorcycle rider herself, often passengering for Jack in off-road trials sidecar events). Whilst the Excelsior stayed in the family fold for the trials events, Jack acquired a 596cc Norton for the grasstracks. During the Second World War Jack joined the Royal Corps of Signals but was invalided out of the Army in 1943 after falling asleep on a motorcycle, crashing and breaking his femur. That led to an 18-month-long recovery – and a plan to get back to racing. Which is where the young John Surtees comes into the story, taking those first, faltering steps, getting his first proper taste of racing that would lead to one of the most successful racing lives of all time.