03 Mar 2015
  • posted by Veerle Pieters

When I wrote about the limited edition Merckx bicycle I mentioned that I was going to write an article about an amazing exhibition about the two great Belgian sport heroes, namely Eddy MERCKX and Jacky ICKX. These two gentlemen are both celebrating their seventieth birthday in 2015.

Eddy Merckx and Jacky Ickx

Eddy Merckx, with 525 victories behind his name is undoubtedly the most successful cyclist of all time. The career of Jacky Ickx was one of the longest and richest in the history of the motorsport. Ickx, who won eight Grands Prix in Formula 1 and six times the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With such great careers there is much to be shown and it also helps that the two have been friends since the sixties.

This expo will refresh the memory of our supporters, but also shows that sport is a school for life: the suffering, the happiness and the happiness that we still are around after having looked death in the eyes. Jacky escaped death several times and I had a big crash in ’69 on the track in Blois, where my pacer Fernand Wambst died on the spot.

 — Eddy Merckx

The design of this pop-up exhibition

This pop-up exhibition takes place at Trade Mart, right next to the iconic Atomium in Brussels. I can imagine that it took a lot of work to build and set everything up. The designers of this expo created a wooden wavy framework to display the timeline on. I assume the wavy form factor illustrates the speed that both men had. It all works very well together and the graphics and typography are wonderfully executed too. There are many little details to discover when you look up. The years are displayed in this lighted circle. I must confess it’s all very inspiring from a graphic design point of view.

Unique memorabilia

This exhibition features never-before-seen photos, pieces and memorabilia. Especially the cars proved to be a long and hard journey for the organizers since they had to be there for 6 months. Thanks to Jacky Ickx there are now 9 unique and authentic race cars shown that he drove and played a vital part in his career. The cars came from the Porsche museum in Stuttgart, and from private collections in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

Three of the bikes displayed at Trade Mart came from Eddy himself. He rode the bikes in the Tour of Italy in 1968, and the World Cup at Mendrisio, and the Tour of Lombardy in 1971. The jerseys on display are also from Eddy’s personal collection. Other bicycles came from private collections including the Superia-bike (flown in from Qatar) that he became World Champion on in Sallanches in 1964, and his famous Molteni bike, the one that he won Milan-Sanremo with in 1976.


Audio and video also play a major role with an interactive trail. There is this tunnel you walk through where the voice of Fred De Bruyne guides you through the many victories of Eddy. You can even become ‘Michel Wuyts’ by commenting a bike race. There’s also an identical replica of a typical supporters’ café from the 70’s, and the huge cup collection of all of Eddy’s victories. The one from the Giro is super gorgeous with all the names of the previous winners on it. The famous photographer Stephan Vanfleteren also created two short films. He took Merckx back to Tre Cime di Lavaredo in Italy and travelled to the Sahara desert of Morocco with Jacky Ickx.

Regardless of all these objects and documents I especially see the passion that people have for sport. A sport can not exist without its supporters. This exhibition is also a homage to all spectators that supported us every weekend for thirty, forty years and so contributed to our success.

 — Jacky Ickx

There’s just too much to write it all down as there is 2000 m² exhibition space. If you love sport you’ll love this expo. I can highly recommend this unique and beautiful event. The exhibition runs until June 21st each day from 10am till 6pm, except on Wednesday. More info at the Merckx - Ickx web site.