CHRIS AMON

OUR TRIB­UTE TO A NEW ZEALAND MO­TOR SPORT LEGEND

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Words: Ash­ley Webb, Michael Clark, Donn An­der­son Pho­tos: Adam Croy, Michael Clark, Donn An­der­son, Jack In­wood

The year 2016 marks the 50th an­niver­sary of the vic­tory for Chris Amon and Bruce Mclaren at Le Mans, when the Kiwi duo won the fa­mous 24-hour race in a Ford GT40. That vic­tory did not go un­no­ticed at Fer­rari, and, for 1967, Chris was signed to the fa­mous Ital­ian mar­que. He re­mained there for three sea­sons, dur­ing which he won the 24 Hours of Day­tona race, the 1000 Kilo­me­tres of Monza, the New Zealand Grand Prix twice, and the Tas­man Cham­pi­onship — in 1969 — how­ever, con­sis­tent car break­ages with its Grand Prix cars caused him to re­luc­tantly quit at the end of that year.

Hav­ing es­tab­lished him­self as one of the very best driv­ers in the world, he went on to drive for March and Ma­tra in For­mula 1, and for BMW in the Euro­pean Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship. He re­tired from For­mula 1 in 1976 and from all mo­tor rac­ing in 1977, when he re­turned to New Zealand. He mar­ried wife Tish and re­turned to farm­ing.

While mo­tor rac­ing was never for­got­ten, it went on the back-burner as he set­tled back into life in New Zealand af­ter 15 years away. He and Tish were soon joined by daugh­ter Ge­orgie, fol­lowed by twins James and Alex.

Chris was a con­sul­tant to Toy­ota for many years, and the win­ner of the Toy­ota Rac­ing Se­ries receives the Chris Amon Tro­phy. Chris was widely re­garded in­ter­na­tion­ally as not only the best driver never to win a For­mula 1 Grand Prix but also one of the best driv­ers never to be crowned world cham­pion. Chris was awarded an MBE for his ser­vices to mo­tor sport in 1993 and was in­ducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

Chris had bat­tled with can­cer in re­cent years, how­ever, he re­tained not only a close in­ter­est in For­mula 1 but also his won­der­ful sense of hu­mour, com­plete with that in­fec­tious chuckle.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.