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Exclusive: Jody Sheckter from Formula One to farming

08-13-2013 17:14 BJT

By CCTV correspondent Dan Williams

Now to our exclusive interview with the former Formula One champion Jody Sheckter. 34 years ago, the South African won the F1 Championship in what would turn out to be Ferrari’s last in 21 years. But as Dan Williams reports, Jody is currently embarking on a project that is just as challenging as some of the racing circuits he once raced on.

The rolling hills of Southern England are idyllic peaceful tranquil. But it is here where a key figure of African F1 history now resides. South Africa’s Jody Scheckter won the 1979 F1 championship - racing against the likes of James Hunt and Nikki Lauda. He’s managed to collect many of the cars he raced in for a time he was fastest person on four wheels - and in some cases even six.

34 years ago, Jody Sheckter won the F1 Championship in what would turn out to be Ferrari’s
last in 21 years.

"So what did you really think of this six wheeled car? Well i didn’t like the theory, I didn’t like the car it kept breaking but because it is so special, people love it and o have just bought it now actually."

It was quite a journey for a boy from the small South African coastal city of East London.

"The first year, we left Monza, equally leading the world championship at that stage I felt we could win the world championship. But it took me another seven years to actually do it so it was more relief than anything else." Jody Sheckter said.

Jody surprisingly retired from F1 half way through the following season he says the obvious dangers of the sport just caught up with him.

"1 to 2 drivers were killed every year. I had done what I wanted to do. I think the real magic had gone form me. I saw a lot of people getting killed and I saw a lot of people who didn’t care about the drivers safety that much. And so I didn’t have anything else to do but i felt I needed to get out. I didn’t have anything left to do." Jody Sheckter said.

After retirement, Jody set up and then sold a company that built firearm training simulators
for the military and the police.

After retirement, Jody set up and then sold a company that built firearm training simulators for the military and the police. The funds from that bought this organic farm just south-west of London holding amongst other animals more than 2000 heads of buffalo. He’s sunk millions into the farm and he’s still supporting it - but he’s determined that it will become self-sufficent.

"It’s been a massive challenge. Making it work. It was fun researching around the world, how you can do the best mozzarella, the best ice cream that was the fun bit.. Making it work financially has been very tough and that is what we are working on now.

"And now we are starting to work with the elite sportsman. We are learning where we go and how we go. Because things that we thought were good for you are not good for you. And supplements used to be the thing but now they just want good food."

"Well this is clearly a world far removed from the fast pace of F1. And although Jody’s interests and passions have since moved on he still follows the sport closely. And when he was given the chance to drive a new F1 car, the old racing spirit returned."

"I drove first the Red Bull and then the Mercedes and it was very, I didn’t think I would enjoy it because I thought after three laps I would get tired and my neck but I loved it." Jody Sheckter said.

Scheckter may have swapped the fast lane for a less dangerous lifestyle but he’s showing few signs of slowing up.

 

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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