DRIVERS: BEN PON
Name: Ben Pon
Date of birth: December 9, 1936 - Amersfoort
Not all drivers who get to Formula 1 enjoy success and Bernardus Pon - know to everyone as Ben - was one man who had a very short and not very sweet Formula 1 career.
Born in Leiden in the west of Holland, Pon grew up in Amersfoort, near Utrecht. He came from a wealthy background, his family owning the oldest wine negotiating business in Holland. Pon caught the racing bug and became a successful sports car racer with Porsche. His chance in Formula 1 came in May 1962 when he was 25 years old and Porsche offered him a factory four-cylinder F1 car which would be run by his fellow countryman Carel de Beaufort's Ecurie Maarsbergen team for the Dutch Grand Prix.
Pon qualified but only a few laps into the race spun on some oil and crashed. He was thrown from the car but fortunately avoided any serious injury. Afterwards he went back to racing sports and GT Porsches under the Racing Team Holland banner before he retired from driving at the end of the 1965 season.
Pon then embarked in a new career in the wine trade, although he found time to become a very successful clay pigeon shooting competitor and represented Holland at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. He then returned to the wine trade and is nowadays best known as the owner of the Bernardus Winery in Carmel, California, where he now lives.