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Historics: Sir Stirling Moss charms Lime Rock Park fans

Historics: Sir Stirling Moss charms Lime Rock Park fans
Historics: Sir Stirling Moss charms Lime Rock Park fans
Connie Ann Kirk

As Special Guest for the Lime Rock Park Historic Festival 32, British racing legend Sir Stirling Moss charmed fans each day of the event starting August 29 and running through Labor Day, September 1. He signed autographs for thousands of fans, entertained others with a Q&A storytelling session with former American racer Sam Posey, gave out awards for the Sunday in the Park concours on Sunday, August 31, and otherwise shared the pleasant late summer weather and happenings with spectators in the Connecticut Berkshires.

Historics: Sir Stirling Moss charms Lime Rock Park fans
Connie Ann Kirk

Lime Rock shared a recording of the Friday night Festival Drivers Welcoming Gala Q&A session with Stirling Moss and Sam Posey hosted by historic event organizer, Murray Smith for racers and guests.

"It's not too late for you to try Indy," Posey quipped in talking with Moss. "You heard it here first," Posey said to the audience.

Stories at the dinner Q&A included Moss telling, when asked by Posey, about getting thirsty at a race at Sebring many years ago and seeing someone offer him a Coca-Cola. He gave him a thumbs up, and on the next time around, he picked up the bottle of Coke. The next time around after that, he returned the empty bottle.

These are the kinds of racing stories that do not happen in 2014, so Moss's memories are not only his own but speak to the era of racing in the 1950s and 60s, a time some have called the golden days of professional motor racing.

Moss was scheduled for six autograph sessions over the four-day weekend -- people lined up at booths in the midway vendor area for an hour or more ahead of time. Seeing the line at the morning session on Saturday, Moss started signing 30 minutes early and signed later than the allotted time to try to reach everyone.

Hundreds of people lined up per session to meet him, most bringing items for him to autograph -- some bringing two or three. These mementos ranged from photographs to old magazines to models, big and small, to die cast car models of Moss-raced cars, to hats and shirts, and posters.

One fan brought a sizable, yellowed worn box. On the side of the box was printed "Aurora Stirling Moss Thunder Jet 500 Motor HD Scale." He asked the racer to sign the box.

Other fans brought old books, some they may have had since they were children or teens. Wives and others took photos and videos of their loved ones interacting with their hero. Some brought their children or grandchildren to meet him. Moss, and his wife, Lady Susie, posed for photos with fans, children, people arriving with the help of walkers; anyone who asked.

Some fans left with tears in their eyes after meeting a man they held in such high esteem, and perhaps for so long, in person. The Mosses know they can have this effect on people who come to see them, and they do not take it for granted.

Both Sir Stirling and Lady Susie wanted to make sure each fan they encountered had a good experience. When the line began to form again after Lime Rock officials closed it off for the Saturday afternoon session, it was Lady Susie who made sure that the additional people could meet her husband and have their souvenirs autographed.

Moss also met with the press at Lime Rock. At a press conference Saturday morning, Moss answered questions about his career, about Lime Rock, cars, Formula 1 racing today, and other topics. He said he enjoys Lime Rock because it is a "beautiful area" that is beautiful to look at and enjoy.

His favorite team to race for was Mercedes because it was "so efficient." As an example, he explained that after a race in those days a racer would come in quite dirty (classic racing photos of Moss show his face covered in grime around the white circles marking where his goggles were). When racing for Mercedes, he said, he would come in from a race and be met with a bowl of hot water and a towel to help clean himself up.

The "Mercs" as he called them, were "way above anyone else," he said. There was "nowhere higher." Of course, in the 2014 Formula 1 season, Mercedes dominates the constructors' championship as well.

On Saturday as well, Moss drove around the Lime Rock track with Lady Susie by his side before the start of the afternoon races. According to Lime Rock, Moss was supposed to drive about two laps of the track but ended up driving four.

"Sir Stirling Moss and Lady Susie took four hot laps -- two more than planned," reads a release from Lime Rock officials. "We couldn't get them to pit!" the release quips. Moss drove the O.S.C.A. MT4b in which he won the Sebring 12 Hour race in 1954. At Lady Susie's urging, Lime Rock said, he took the extra, "spirited" laps.

Fans visiting the Lime Rock Historic Festival had a chance to meet motor sport royalty over the weekend -- and they were treated royally by this couple in return.

Racing resumes at Lime Rock Park on Monday for the last day of the festival.

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