A sur­prise pho­to­graph

Classic Driver - - HOLMAN -

turned up out of the blue re­cently, and it was like piec­ing to­gether an im­por­tant part of New Zealand mo­tor-sport­ing his­tory abroad.

It showed a very young 20-year-old Chris Amon talk­ing to my suave, sun­glassed good­self in the pad­dock at Monza in 1963. Half a century ago! Chris won­dered whether it was Monza as there was no sign of a pit counter but it was on the cob­bled pad­dock area with the Par­nell Lola in the fore­ground.

“If it is Monza ’63 then on the Satur­day I ended up in the trees at the sec­ond Lesmo fol­lowed by a long stay in hospi­tal, firstly in Monza and then in St Thomas’s in Lon­don.”

In Forza Amon, the bi­og­ra­phy I wrote on Chris 10 years ago, he re­mem­bered that crash. “I’d done about three laps when I fell into the trees in the sec­ond Lesmo. I just plain lost it and this was be­fore seat belts. I re­mem­ber go­ing off side­ways. The front end hit a tree and the back end hit a tree and I car­ried on over the side. I was taken to hospi­tal in Monza with bro­ken ribs and a gen­eral knock­ing about and I was the fo­cus of at­ten­tion for all the other pa­tients when they found out that I was a rac­ing driver.

“I had one night in hospi­tal and then they put me on the plane back to Eng­land with the rest of the teams on the Sun­day night. Ev­ery­body feels sorry for you when you’ve hurt yourself and they try and cheer you up and make you laugh. And be­lieve me, laugh­ing with bro­ken ribs is no laugh­ing mat­ter…”

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