international motorsport comes back to south africa - aBr Buzz

international motorsport comes back to south africa - aBr Buzz

GLOBAL MOTORSPORT OVERVIEW By Roger McCleery International motorsport comes back to South Africa Thanks to Peter du Toit, owner of Zwartkops and his...

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By Roger McCleery

International motorsport comes back to South Africa Thanks to Peter du Toit, owner of Zwartkops and his team, South Africa enjoys international motorsport at the end of January each year.


he 14th Anniversary of the “Passion for Speed Festival” (it used to be called the David Piper Day) at Zwartkops International Racing Circuit brings out the best of the fastest growing motorsport here and overseas. It features classic sports cars and saloon cars from the golden age of world motorsport from the late 50’s through to the 80’s. A record 400+ car and historic motorcycle entries plus a massive crowd had Zwartkops bursting at the seams when some 24 events were featured of 8 or 10 laps starting at 7am – Yes – 7am. It must be a first at any racing circuit. There were single seaters from Formula Fords and genuine GP cars like Coopers, Brabhams and Lotus. There were all models of Chevrons, Lolas, Ferraris, Porsches, Ford GT40’s, Mustangs, Lotus, BMW, Chev Comaro and Corvettes, Dastsuns and Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Morgan, Renaults, GSM Darts, MG TVR’s and others in no particular order. There was also a huge field of Lotus 7’s in the Sabat Lotus Challenge. Saloon cars showed us some of America’s greatest. Big V8 Ford Galaxies, Chevelles, Dodges, Plymouths etc. driven by one of our all-time greats, Sarel van der Merwe and Michael Briggs, hero of the 90’s from P.E.

historic Formula 1 cars, originally raced by Jody and Ian Scheckter and Sam Tingle to do a high speed demo. A day of history and excitement went on till late afternoon and certainly did not disappoint in any of the races as they were the real thing. Almost too aggressive at times. Beside all the cars, there was a great line up of historic Grand Prix and TT motorcycles like British Nortons, AJS, Matchless, Greeves, a Royal Endfield, BSA’s, Triumphs and Vincents. Italian Aprillias, Cagivas, Ducatis and Moto Guzzis, plus a couple of German BMWs were up against a full gambit of Japanese two wheelers. Hondas, Kawasakis, Suzuki’s and Yamahas. There was also a Spanish Bultaco. Steve Wheatman, owner of the biggest fleet of 90 Grand Prix Suzuki’s and others (Suzuki themselves often borrow his bikes for a display promotion) provided the Hamamatsu fliers for the test match between Scotland and South Africa. This took place at Zwartkops and Killarney and was eventually won by Scotland by just two points, The South African champion, Les van Breda, had two serious tumbles in two outings. There were only two points between the teams.

Drivers came from the UK, the Isle of Man, Sweden, and the Netherlands up against a growing field of South African greats.

After two Isle of Man TT races on Saturday at Zwartkops, the circus of historic cars and bikes went down to Killarney to perform their magic in Cape Town.

The L’Omarins Franchhoek Motor Museum allowed four of their precious

Six times World Motorcycle Champion, Jim Redman at 83, was in the field

| Wheels in Action


march 2015

and looked just like he did sitting on a bike in the 60’s. 80 year old Jimmy Guthrie, son of a famous pre-war Norton World Champion (brought up by Graham Walker, father of the famous commentator, Murray Walker) won the classic motorcycle race in Cape Town on Ian Groat’s Team Incomplete Manx Norton 350 and came home with two trophies. The best all-round motorcyclist in the world, Mick Grant at 70, who races on a weekend and then goes riding with his friends in trials or touring, helped bring the overseas riders here with Clive Strugnell. Just before the Killarney races the racing advocate of South African motor racing, Andre Bezuidenhout, who races high speed Porches, entertained the overseas car racing party and some locals to a memorable dinner in their honour on the lawns of his Weltevreden home and motor museum, now one of the features of Stellenbosch. Mike Knight, who with David Piper brought Historic Racing to South Africa, was the main guest, telling lots of stories about the inside happenings and growth of the historic and classic motorsport movement.

Altogether two great weekends of top international motorsport appreciated by hordes of South African motorsport fans reliving the past.