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Motor sport legend John Surtees OBE roars through Edenbridge High Street

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Edenbridge, Kent came to a standstill yesterday, as thousands of spectators lined the streets to cheer on motor sport legend, John Surtees OBE, McLaren test driver Oliver Turvey and ex Formula 3 Champion Robbie Kerr in Surtees Edenbridge built Formula 1 and 2 cars. 

The racing drivers were joined by noted motoring journalist Steve Cropley driving a McLaren Supercar, and John’s daughter Edwina driving a Gullwing 300 SL Mercedes-Benz, plus two Grand Prix motorcycles from John’s past. 

Leading the way was an Aston Martin Course Car driven by David Barzilay. The vehicles roared through Edenbridge High Street on Monday 27th May 2013 for 2 laps. The event in Surtees' home town was organized by the Eden Valley Chamber of Commerce as an attraction to the town to showcase what it has to offer. 

The two motor cavalcades formed part of the Edenbridge Fun Day, which also had an objective of raising awareness of the activities of the Henry Surtees Foundation. Speaking at the event John Surtees said: “It’s not often people get to see Formula 1 cars up close and it was amazing to have the High Street closed on a busy Bank Holiday weekend so we could give them a blast. It was a great turn out, and everybody looked like they thoroughly enjoyed it, I certainly did. I hope that it helps to put Edenbridge on the map.”

Peter Kingham, Chairman of The Eden Valley Chamber of Commerce said: “The whole event was a huge success and it has always been our intention to make this an annual event centring on the town's racing construction heritage. The day surpassed all our expectations and we were thrilled to see the town packed out with so many happy smiling faces. This event will help us to put Edenbridge on the map to attract inward investment into the town. Personally, I would like to thank John for all the help and effort he, his staff and friends put into making it such a great day. I hope that this will further promote the work of The Henry Surtees Foundation.”

The Team Surtees and John Surtees related vehicles that took part in the parade included:

·       A TS7 Formula 1 car which John Surtees raced at the British Grand Prix in Brands Hatch in 1970 driven by John Surtees.

·       The TS15 2-litre Formula 2 car which won the prestigious Interlagos race in Brazil in 1973. Driven by past Formula 3 British Champion and A1 Grand Prix runner-up Robbie Kerr.

·       The TS14 Formula 1 car which Mike Hailwood drove to second place in the 1972 Italian Grand Prix was displayed statically.

Engineers associated with John Surtees’ career on two wheels rode the motorcycles including:

·       A 1960 MV Agusta four-cylinder GP motorcycle – John Surtees won seven motorcycle championships riding for MV Agusta.

·       A 1954 BMW Rennsport twin-cylinder motorcycle – John Surtees raced for the factory team at the Nurburgring in 1955.

The vehicles were displayed throughout the day outside the Bradford shop, Station Road, where they were built and designed by predominantly local residents.

The special event featured static displays and a parade of rarely seen race cars and bikes as well as veteran and classic vehicles. Road cars and motorcycles in the parade ranged from two TVR sports cars to several Lambretta and Vespa scooters. There was also a 1968 Jaguar S Type Police car in its original black livery and complete with radio, bell, klaxons and two 'uniformed officers' (mannequins) in the back! The 1932 Alvis Firefly was one of the first to be built and displayed on the company's stand at the Motor Show of that year – where it was sold for £495 (more than four times the price of a new Austin 7). A 1995 Reliant Scimitar Sabre Mk2 is one of just 30 still in use – only about 60 of them were made. Even rarer was the 1938 Scott Prototype Clubman Special, of which only four were built.

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