Tony Maggs

Tony Maggs

9/2/1937 - 2/6/2009

Tony drove for the Cooper Formula 1 team in 1962 and 1963, finishing second in the French Grand Prix both years. He drove for the Centro-Sud BRM team in 1964 and drove a Parnell team Lotus-BRM in the 1965 South African Grand Prix. Later that year he had an accident at Pietermaritzburg which resulted in the death of a child. Distraught, Maggs retired immediately.

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Maggs came to England in 1959 on the suggestion of John Love. He had raced an Austin Healey in South Africa but came to England to gain experience.

His ability was quickly recognised and he was soon behind the wheel of a Formula 2 Cooper. He returned to the UK in 1960 to race a variety of machines, finishing third in the Vanwall Trophy in a Cooper as well as doing well in a Formula Junior Gemini. Back home in December 1960 he entered a Heron in the Cape Grand Prix at Killarney but did not start as the car, which was fitted with a Coventry Climax 1500cc engine, had had the crown wheel assembled the wrong way 'round resulting in the car having four reverse gears but no forward. Unfortunately after rectifying the problem, the gearbox then seized up while being tested.

Maggs' break came in 1961, when Ken Tyrrell signed him to drive for his Formula Junior team. Driving a Cooper-BMC T59, he won eight races and shared the European FJ title with Jo Siffert. He also made a steady start in Grand Prix racing with Louise Bryden-Brown’s Lotus 18. He caught the eye of the Cooper team, who signed him as number two to Bruce McLaren for 1962.

He started 1962 with 5th in the Dutch Grand Prix with the Cooper-Climax T60 but went out of the next two races, Monaco and Belgium, with gearbox problems. A fine second in the French Grand Prix at Rouen-Les-Essarts behind Dan Guerny was followed by 6th in the British Grand Prix at Aintree. In German he had a big accident in practice when he went off on oil that had been dropped by Graham Hill after his crash that was caused by being hit by the 8mm camera that had been mounted on Carel de Beaufort's Ecurie Maarsbergen Porsche. This was one of the first attempts at in-car footage. Unfortunately the bumps and dips of the Nürburgring shook it loose into the path of Hill. In the race Maggs finished 9th. He finished 7th in Italy and the USA, and ended the season in his home Grand Prix held at East London, on the podium in third place.

Staying with Cooper for 1963 the management of the team was taken over by Ken Tyrell. However the team was under funded and loosing it's competitive edge. At Monaco, Maggs finished in the points crossing the ine in his Cooper-Climax T66 in 5th place. And, after a 7th in Belgium where he crashed near the end of the race and a DNF in Holland, he was on the podium in the French Grand Prix at Reims, finishing second behind Jim Clark, ahead of Graham Hill, Brabham, Gurney and Siffert. He took another point from the Italian Grand Prix but, despite his consistency, he was dropped at the end of the year in favor of former World Champion Phil Hill.

In 1964 he ended up driving an elderly BRM P57 in Grand Prix for Scuderia Centro Sud, even managing to get among the points on two occasions but, with no real F1 prospect in sight, he joined the Midland Racing Partnership who were running the works Lola T54 F2 cars. Maggs finished 2nd in the F2 class of the Aintree 200 ahead of team mate Richard Attwood. He also raced sports cars that year, driving with David Piper in the latter's Ferrari GTO to victory in the Rand 9 Hours at Kyalami.

After driving Reg Parnell’s Lotus in the 1965 South African GP, Maggs raced abroad for the last time, taking second place in the Rome GP and fourth at both Oulton Park and Pau in MRP’s F2 Lola, and third place in the Sebring 12 Hours with David Piper in his Ferrari 250LM.

Tony had planned to race the Surtees Lola in Formula 2, but when he crashed his Brabham (or was it a Lotus 22 twin-cam) in a national race at Pietermaritzburg, a small boy who was standing in a prohibited area was unfortunately hit and killed. Maggs immediately retired from racing.

He concentrated on farming in the Zontspanberg region of the Northern Transvaal, surviving a light aircraft accident some years later in which his farm manager was killed.


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