My Incredible Life on Two and Four Wheels, by John Surtees (with Mike Nicks)
© Evro Publishing (ISBN 9780992820923)

Published to mark the 50th anniversary of John Surtees becoming Formula 1 World Champion, in 1964, this long-awaited photographic memoir charts the story of the only man to have won World Championships on motorcycles and in cars.

Containing nearly 300 photographs from Surtees’ own collection as well as from the world’s finest motorsport picture libraries, this book presents a complete visual record of Surtees’ life accompanied by fascinating commentary written in collaboration with co-author Mike Nicks.

Surtees is, of course, no ordinary subject when it comes to a memoir. This is the man who jumped straight to four-wheeled competition after winning seven motorcycle World Championship titles; he then went on to win the 1964 F1 title with Ferrari before later becoming a team owner.

Charting the early years of a post-War childhood spent on motorbikes and his early races in a Vincent Grey Flash, the memoir also looks in detail at how he became established and subsequently a World Champion seven times over.

In 1960, he started his transition to four wheels and finished on the podium in just his second ever Formula 1 Grand Prix – what’s more, it was on home soil in a Lotus! In

1963, he switched to Ferrari and won his first four-wheeled race – the Sebring 12 Hours for sports cars – and then went on to win the World Championship crown a year later. In 1966 he won the CanAm Championship title and split with Ferrari to join Honda’s burgeoning F1 programme the following year, peaking with victory on his old employer’s home soil at Monza.

While Surtees’ career achievements and anecdotes are many, this isn’t too text heavy as a title. The book is liberally supported by the enormous collection of archive imagery, which do as good as a job as Surtees at telling the stories.

There were plenty of lows too, particularly transitioning into becoming a team boss after hanging up his helmet, and more recently coming to terms to the devastating loss of his son Henry who was killed in a freak accident in a Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch in 2009.

Fittingly, royalties from sales of the book will go to the Henry Surtees Foundation, which was set up by John to honour the memory of his son. 

My Incredible Life on Two and Four Wheels is currently available at all leading book resellers. Our recommended partner, Automoto Bookshop, is selling exclusively signed copies of the book for $199.50 (including GST) or at $109.95 for unsigned copies – click here to order a copy to be shipped worldwide.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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