Today is the 80th birthday of Sir John Surtees (he's a knight to me), who was not only one of the world's greatest champions of motorsport in his youth, but has subsequently been a successful race car constructor, a powerful supporter of young talent, a constant font of wisdom and a tireless worker for charity.

Let's hope the whole automotive community rises today to congratulate this man who managed to cross what to others has proved an impenetrable barrier – to be world champion on both two wheels and four. It will never be done again.

Surtees was awarded an OBE some years ago, but has mysteriously not attained the knighthood awarded to some of his peers. For many of his admirers this glaring oversight constantly rankles, and makes them doubt the fairness of the system. Perhaps they're right: motorcycling may be deemed a shade too grubby to be honoured.