One weekday afternoon during the summer holidays of 1972, my Father and I decided we would go to Silverstone, just to see if anybody was there testing a car. Back then you could just drive in to the circuit and nobody was bothered about you being there, that was unless Silverstone Syd was on the prowl of course! We parked in the paddock and made our way on to the pits roof top viewing area, and from there we could see Jody Scheckter having his first ever drive in a Formula One car. Later that year Jody made his Formula One race debut driving for Mclaren in the American Grand Prix.
I first saw Jody race in the 1973 British Grand Prix, where he spun his car coming out of Woodcote corner at the end of the first lap taking out nearly half the field. I think he upset a quite a few drivers and teams that day. The following year he moved to Tyrrell to replace the just retired Sir Jackie Stewart, and went on to get his first Grand Prix win that year in Sweden. After two more years at Tyrrell he moved on to the newly formed Walter Wolf Racing, where Jody gave the team a victory in its maiden race. In 1979 Jody moved to Ferrari, winning three races that year on his way to becoming the world drivers champion. Jody raced for just one more year in Formula One and retired at the end of the 1980 season.
I’ve been lucky enough to get Jody’s autograph twice, the first at the British Grand Prix in 1977, and then at the Coy’s festival at Silverstone in 1992, on one of the rare occasions that my daughter came to Silverstone with me. We were walking through the paddock when they announced over the PA that Jody would be signing autographs soon, so we made our way to the autograph booth and waited for him. When he arrived I said to him that my daughter had been named after him, and could I take a photo of the two of you together. Of course he replied. So I lifted her in to the booth, got a lovely photo of them, then he signed our programme. To Jodie lots of love Jody Scheckter, and that’s the autograph I show here.
The Mighty Arms Of Atlas