The great Jacky Ickx is set to revive tales of what is regarded as Formula 1’s most dangerous era when he was partnered at Ferrari with Kiwi Chris Amon.
Ickx, widely accepted as the world’s most gifted all-round driver, is the key speaker at a dinner in honour of Amon, who died last August, in New Zealand next month.
The night co-inciding with the New Zealand Grand Prix meeting at Manfeild will focus on Amon, whom the circuit is now named after.
Ickx, 71, and Amon were among the youngest drivers in grand prix racing when they raced for the Prancing Horse in 1968.
The year before Ferrari had lost its star Lorenzo Bandini, a mentor to Amon, who perished in a fiery accident during the Monaco Grand Prix.
“It was a difficult time in the sport,” Ickx reflected.
“I think we were both lucky to survive that period. The success for all of us in that era was to survive. It was a really dangerous sport in those days.”
Ickx recalls Amon being not only a gifted racing driver but also armed with a wonderfully warm and friendly personality.
“His personality was amazing,” the Belgian said.
“He was an extremely good and human person and also an extremely talented racing driver. One of the fastest.”
“It was amazing how open he was, how helpful he was. He was friendly, so friendly. And, of course, so extremely talented,” Ickx says now.
“He was a lovely person and he was, without any doubt, if not the fastest then one of the fastest ones.”
“Chris was a fantastic representative of New Zealand in motor racing in the 1960s’ and ‘70s.
“He was a strong competitor and a source of inspiration. The people who knew him in those days will have lovely thoughts about him.”
As a teenager Ickx started on motorcycles before flourishing into an eight-time grand prix winner, six-times Le Mans 24 Hour winner, two World Endurance crowns, F2 championship winner, Bathurst 1000 winner in 1977 with Allan Moffat, 1983 Dakar Rally winner, Can-Am Championship winner and Daytona 24 Hour winner.
Manfeild Circuit chief executive Julie Keane says the announcement of Ickx’s involvement with the dinner has spread fast.
“Social media traffic since we announced Jacky as our guest of honour has been remarkable. We’ve seen lots of positive comment and, more importantly, we have begun to see good ticket sales.”
The Chris Amon celebration dinner will be held in the large Manfeild Stadium complex which has a capacity of seating 1000 guests.
Details of the February 11-12 New Zealand Grand Prix meeting and the Chris Amon Celebration dinner, including ticket prices and purchase details, can be found by clicking here.