ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sir Stirling Moss and the Mille Miglia

Updated on September 18, 2015

"I certainly had an appreciation of the danger which to me was part of the pleasure of racing. To me now racing is - the dangers are taken away: if it's difficult, they put in a chicane. So really now the danger is minimal - which is good, because people aren't hurt. But for me the fact that I had danger on my shoulder made it much more exciting.”

- Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss OBE on retiring

There is absolutely no hyperbole in calling Sir Stirling Moss one of the greatest drivers who ever lived. To list his many accomplishments behind the wheel would take hundreds of pages just to get started. We’re just focusing on the Mille Miglia for now.

Moss participated in a number of Mille Miglias, but he truly made history in 1955 when he was the first Englishman to win the endurance race which had been dominated by Italians and two German wins in the races prior.

Stirling Moss’s victory at the 1955 Mille Miglia can be chalked up to two things: Pure driving skill, and intelligence.

It’s said that, for a true master of a game, be it sports racing, Chess, or Donkey Kong, the game is won before he or she ever steps into the field of battle. They simply have the abilities and the knowledge on their side from the beginning, and there’s nothing the opposition can do about it.

Stirling Moss

For Stirling Moss, the game began not at the starting line, but several days earlier, when he and his navigator, British journalist Denis Jenkinson, had driven along the course several times over with Jenkinson taking notes of the area.

The Italian drivers already knew the area, having been born and raised in Italy, and this is a major component of the near endless streak of wins Italy has had in the race. Simply put, foreigners have always been at a disadvantage from the start of the Mille Miglia. By familiarizing themselves with the course beforehand in their Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, Moss and Jenkinson were evening the playing field, so to speak, and may the best driver win.

Sir Sterling Moss, Mercedes-Benz, the number 722 and the 1955 Mille Miglia

Stirling Moss and Denis jenkinson at the 1955 Mille Miglia

Throughout the race itself, Jenkinson would feed Moss notes and information, more than just simple “turn right here”, he kept Moss up to speed on everything from how the weather would affect a given road to when the next train was coming. This was still an innovative technique at the time, but certainly more than a few have employed it since. In fact, this is pretty much where the whole concept of “pacenotes” got started.

There was one other thing that helped Moss take that race: Amphetamines.

At the time, amphetamines were entirely legal, and Moss certainly wasn’t the only driver in the 1955 Mille Miglia using a concentration-aid to keep his mind active, so it would be false to say that this compromised the sanctity of the race. In fact, Moss has always been a diehard proponent of good sportsmanship, even when it costs him the race, as it did in 1958, when his rival Mike Hawthorn was threatened with a penalty when he was accused of reversing in the track after a spinout at the Formula 1 World Championship. Hawthorn finished the race exactly one point ahead of Moss, costing Moss his shot at a championship (this was Hawthorn’s only win to Moss’s four that year).

Moss and Jenkinson sped over the finish line with a record time of ten hours and seven minutes, nearly a full half hour ahead of teammate and rival Juan Manuel Fangio, shattering the pattern of Italian winners that had persisted in the eight previous years. Fangio, one of Moss’s greatest rivals, was actually a much more sombre character, preferring to drive alone after the loss of his co-pilot in South America.

If you want to do yourself a real favour, get a copy of Jenks: A Passion for Motor Sports. The book collects many of Jenkinson’s best articles on sports racing including With Moss in the Mille Miglia, documenting the entire journey from beginning to end, the report is considered one of the finest in the history of sports journalism.

Sie Sterling Moss after 1955 Mille Miglia

The Legend Loves On - the new McLaren SLR 722

This hub brought to you...

by Julie-Ann Amos, professional writer, and owner of international writing agency www.ExquisiteWriting.com

Why not create your own HubPages? It's fun and you can make revenue from Adsense and other revenue streams on your pages. JOIN HUBPAGES NOW

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ or send a letter to CreativeCommons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California94105, USA.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      jrminvestor 

      8 years ago

      Mille Miglia and Rally enthusiasts,Stratus Media Group (SMDI.ob) has purchased the U.S. rights to the brand Mille Miglia and will stage a 1000 mile race along the California coast. An Italian style Rally with pre-World War II automobiles. Will be a huge event! Anyone interested in classic racing cars 1940 and older should check out their site http://www.stratusmediagroup.com/news/press_releas...

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)