about him in sixtiesPost 1945 Drivers
JACKY ICKX, 22, is a Belgian lad going places in a very big hurry. He took up motorcycle trials riding
when he was 16 and five months after his first run he was riding works Zundapp machines as champion of Belgium! Two years later, after taking another Belgian bike title, he was offered a drive in a BMW 700S car in a hillclimb at La Roche. With enthusiasm that rather overreached his skill (hardly surprising since it was the first time he had raced a car), he had a tremendous shunt, but emerged unscathed to accept the offer of a Lotus Cortina for further hillclimbs.
He started turning in victories and
for 1964 was given a Ford contract that he fulfilled with such success -that Alan
Mann signed him late in the season for three European touring car races teamed with Sir John Whitmore in works Lotus Cortinas.
In 1965 he was a busy Belgian, running in both motorcycle and car races,
sometimes on the same day at different circuits and he pulled off a double by winning the Belgian touring car 'championship plus the national motorcycle championship.
Ken Tyrrell was impressed with Ickx (pronounced "eeks," by the way), and for 1966 signed him to drive Formula 3 Matras and to partner Jackie Stewart in F2 Matras. That was his first year in single seaters and he had his share of happenings.. They weren't careless know-nothing accidents, though, but were
usually the result of a young man with very high limits finding them by exceeding them. "The good ones always have shunts the first year," Tyrrell says philosophically.
Ickx looks more like a schoolboy than a racing driver. He is slim and has the kind of good looks that prompted one racing driver to remark, "If he was a bird, I'd fancy him. . ."
Jacky is the third member of a remarkable motor racing family. His father, Jacques Ickx, made a name for himself in races and rallies and backed this up by becoming one of Europe's outstanding motoring writers. Second son Pascal Ickx set off saloon car racing and is now one of the organizers of Formula Vee in Europe.
Jacky is quiet and eager to learn. Tyrrell is an excelIent teacher and coach for a young up-and-comer and Ickx hangs on his every word in the pits. But in the Matra cockpit he thinks for himself. Last year at London's Crystal Palace, a tight, trying circuit with hefty wooden walls to deter shoddy aim, Beltoise had bested Surtees in a contest of brave skill. But Ickx came up from mid-grid in the final heat to battle his way past Beltoise and win a polished race.
Tyrrell talks about Formula 1 prospects for Ickx but doesn't want to rush him. At 22 he is three years younger than Stewart was when he burst upon the scene and can afford to take his time. Tyrrell says he would go Formula 1 racing next year with Jacky as his driver if he could get one of the new Cosworth-Ford V -8 3-liter engines. "If there were only three Fords in Formula 1 next year and we had one," Tyrrell muses, "I reckon we could pick up plenty of third places. Maybe even a few seconds. . ."
Tyrrell isn't a man to suffer fools gladly or pay much attention to drivers who are more show than go, but he reckons that Ickx has the sort of potential that John Surtees and Jackie Stewart showed when they were having their first races in Tyrrell cars. He should know!
As Henry Manney has said, "He surely must be The Comingman."