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John Surtees Dies: World Championship Car and Motorcycle Racer Was 83

Image: John Surtees Dies: World Championship Car and Motorcycle Racer Was 83

Motor racing legend John Surtees poses with his Commander of the Order of the British Empire medal, awarded by the Duke of Cambridge at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on March 15, 2016. (Dominic Lipinski/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 10 Mar 2017 03:55 PM

John Surtees, the only man to ever win the World Championship in both motorcycle and car racing, died Friday at age 83 in a London hospital after battling a respiratory condition.

Surtees started as a motorcycle racer riding sidecar with his father Vincent, who was a London motorcycle dealer. He won the 500cc world championship four times, the first time when he was only 22, before switching to car racing in 1960.

He then raced Formula One Grand Prix, winning the world title in 1964, just a year before a serious accident nearly killed him while he practiced in Canada. A number of shattered bones left Surtees’ body 4 inches shorter on one side after the accident until doctors could repair the breaks, The Sun reported.

Eventually, he recovered well enough to race again, winning several more Grand Prix races and forming the Surtees Racing Organization. He retired from competitive racing in 1972.

Surtees' son Henry raced Formula 2 as a teen, but was killed in a race in 2009 at the young age of 18. Surtees set up the Henry Surtees Foundation after his son’s death, devoting the last years of his life to fundraising for the organization.

Surtees is survived by his wife Jane and daughters Leonora and Edwina.

Twitter fans shared their condolences.

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John Surtees, the only man to ever win the World Championship in both motorcycle and car racing, died Friday at age 83 in a London hospital after battling a respiratory condition.
john surtees, dies, car, motorcycle, racer
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2017-55-10
Friday, 10 Mar 2017 03:55 PM
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