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Peter Giddings Racing


As a regular visitor to that wonderful time machine of a country, New Zealand, the name of Chris Amon had become familiar to me, but I wanted to know Amon the man.

At one very wet Ruapuna event, I struggled to keep my 1933 Maserati 8CM "3011" ahead of the field, resulting in Chris complimenting me on, in his opinion, my "drive of the meeting." Clearly, Amon had remained a racing fan, and was generously quick to reach out to a visiting enthusiast, particularly one driving his (just like Moss, Fangio, Phil Hill, Ross Jensen and others) favorite marque of Maserati.

More recently, I was racing my Maserati 250F (#2501/2523) at Hampton Downs on the North Island, and as the event honored Chris Amon, I could not wait to meet my Kiwi hero again. Well, first of all, the somewhat reserved, self-effacing (out of a racecar) man was still generous with his compliments on my very amateur driving -- no ego there!

Second of all, try as we might, we could not coax him to reacquaint himself with his first real racecar and love --- the Maserati 250F. In fact, he had every excuse in the book, but finally agreed, albeit that we almost had to manhandle him into the driver's seat.

Then followed a cautionary lap or two, followed by an ever widening grin, as Amon proceeded to dance my Maserti around the track, at lap times ahead of mine, clearly there was no loss of touch or skill. That weekend was very special, getting to know the real, and so unassuming, Chris Amon.

Subsequently, the autographed book and letter of thanks arrived ... a gentleman to the core, but a deceptively fast and smooth driver behind the wheel.

Small wonder that Ferrari's Technical Director, Mauro Forghieri, described him as ... "by far the best test driver I have ever worked with."

R.I.P. , Chris: how typical that so few of us even knew about your illness.

Peter Giddings (from Vintage Racecar, October 2016 - via vintageracecar.com)

Perter & Chris Amon

Peter and Chris Amon with Maserati 250F s/n #2501.