Bernardus Marinus "Ben" Pon: 1936-2019

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Bernardus Marinus "Ben" Pon: 1936-2019

Post by dinizintheoven »

The Dutch motorsport media is reporting that Ben Pon died yesterday.

In summary: his only F1 entry was the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix at the proper Zandvoort, in a Porsche 787 run by honorary-unrejectified Carel Godin de Beaufort; the ensuing crash that threw him out of the cockpit put him off-single-seaters for life, and also made him eligible for the profile he was given on The Old Site. Six attempts at Le Mans saw him take two class wins, if not the overall win. Meanwhile, on this forum, the Ben Pon Olympic Thread - which will probably be revived in 2020 - is named after his post-motorsport clay pigeon shooting career, which saw him compete at the 1972 Munich Olympics - yes, that Olympics, you know the one I mean - where he finished 31st, so maybe he shouldn't have given up racing after all. In later life, he turned to making wine, and owned the Bernardus Winery in California - and though wine tasting is bound to be subjective (unless it's the muck that's supplied to Nottingham University's catering services - even my home-brew elderberry wine knocks that into next week), he stuck with this venture for 35+ years until the Grim Reaper came calling, so it's fair to say here's something he wasn't a Reject at.

In his own words, or at least those of his most successful project:
The Bernardus Winery website wrote:Ben is a bon vivant in the Old World tradition with an enthusiastic perspective on life. A professional sportsman, Ben was a race car driver for Porsche for many years, racing six times in Le Mans. He averaged 125 miles per hour in his best race, and says the thrill for him was in driving at the limit. Ben was also an athlete for Holland in skeet shooting during the 1972 Olympics. In skeet shooting the goal is to aim where the clay pigeon is going to be. Perhaps that is why Ben doesn’t say that 2% of Americans drink wine. He says, “98% of the people are not drinking wine yet.”
James Allen, on his favourite F1 engine of all time:
"...the Life W12, I can't describe the noise to you, but imagine filling your dustbin with nuts and bolts, and then throwing it down the stairs, it was something akin to that!"
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