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"Tony" Maggs: The 1st South African in F1


From touring races in his native country South Africa, in 1958, until reaching F1, Anthony Francis O'Connell Maggs, who was born in Pretoria on 9 February 1937, went through a solid and successful path, which had its highest point, with the European Formula Junior championship conquest, in 1961, where he got eight wins and six 2nd places at the wheel of a Ken Tyrrell's T56 Cooper car.
Tony Maggs F1´s debut took place with a private car Lotus, at 1961 English Grand Prix, followed by the German Grand Prix, finishing the two races, respectively, in the 13th and 11th places and showing good performances.
He returned to South Africa, for the South African´s F1 season, but he did not escape from the knowledgeable eyes of Charles and John Copper, who hired him to race in the 1962 Cooper official team, alongside Bruce McLaren. He would make his best season in F1, reaching a 2nd place in France and a 3rd place in South Africa.
Maggs remained at Cooper in 1963, having reached a second place at French Grand Prix. He also competed in demanding races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nürburgring's 1000 kilometres, but the best results happened in the 9 Hours of Kyalami, where he was 2nd in 1962 and winner in 1963 and 1964.
Maggs left the automobile competition after an event that emotionally traumatized him, but in which he had no direct responsibility. This happened in 1965, when he was racing a Brabham BT20 Formula 2 car at the Roy Hesketh Circuit, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in which an accident caused by a mechanical failure, would take the life of Michael Twyman, a young boy of 8 years old, who was ingenuously watching the race in a restricted zone and, unfortunately, could not been timely evacuated, by the Stewards, that were running into his direction to avoid the tragedy.
Maggs then, devoted himself entirely to his farm in Zontspanberg, South Africa.
Against all odds that pointed to the serious risk of losing his life at racing car competitions, he survived, but the shadows of fatality accompanied him one more time when he survived an airplane crash, despite the loss of one collaborator from his Farm.
He would live until he was 72 years old, when an incurable disease took his life away.

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