E-Blower Vol.12

This issue contains a brief summary of our recent annual general meeting, that was well attended and left the editor impressed by the behavior of the members.

Killarney Calender July/August.pdf

Managing Editor: IM Nobody.
Chief Sub-editor: Robin Y Emslie.                                                                                                                                                 
Art Director: J Colin Brown.                                                                                                                                                 
Investigative Ed: PK Nelson.                                                                                                                                               
International Ed: Cedric M Selzer

Naturally, our attention is also focused on noise pollution and we have included its effect on motorsport activity in other parts of the world. That apart, the club is particularly pleased with the cooperation we have been receiving from competitors. So much so, that there is generally far more good news than bad news on the following pages.

However as we intend to restrict our activity on certain days, there are bound to be certain calendar changes in the next few months. These are going to affect mainly track days and drag events, with only one main circuit regional on Sept 28, that was only a week away from the Oct. 5 national, having to be called off.  

Then a word about the legendary Frewens, one of whom features in the obituary further on. Although none of the family belonged to the WPMC, they were staunch Mets members and in addition to their racing activity, were also all regular weekend workers during the construction of the original Killarney circuit in the early 1950’s. 

Meet the Winners.

The club’s annual general meeting last month saw Gavin Cerff, who was unopposed, emerging as chairman, while Tim Reddell was elected as vice-chairman. Denis Joubert was confirmed as the club’s President.

 Gavin also received the club’s most prestigious award the Edgar Hoal Memorial Trophy for his dedication and loyalty during a difficult period. Other rewards included Life Membership for William Carter (described as the ageless golden boy from Golden Grove), and Keith Fourie, who has made a welcome return to active service as head of the Management Committee (ManCom).

Honours Awards were presented to Andre Grewe, Dr Nick van der Meulen, Stuart Logie, JayBee Pretorius, Dick Vlietman and the last remaining swimming pool protester, Dieter Huckstedt.

A summary of items that were covered during the meeting included amendments to the constitution which however can only become effective once approved by the council.

There was also a review of achievements against key areas for 2012, presenting the key focus areas for 2013, a presentation of the financial results for 2012 and ending with a brief review of the financial results as at May 2013.

 These indicated that the club is in sound financial shape, having shown an improvement in profitability since 2011 and with a bank balance that has increased significantly since December 2011.

 

And — Meet the Workers.            No. 10.

Born and educated in Bananaland, the cheerful Charmaine Haupt represented Natal as a gymnast before relocating to Cape Town in 1987 where she married two years later. Intent on seeing as much of the country as possible she then relocated to Mine Dump Country with her spouse, from where she ran her own business.

 The motorsport connection began after husband Peter, became involved in main circuit racing. It later intensified as their sons Bernard and Brandon joined the junior motocross ranks.

Returning to the Cape in 2005, it wasn’t long before she was appointed race secretary of the CT Motocross Club, a position that quickly expanded to include officiating during non circuit events.

 The family also joined the WPMC and she soon became the short circuit race secretary and a qualified Clerk of the Course. She was next approached by the suits in the Admin block to help with debtor control on a part time basis. The position proved ideal for a girl with her gymnastic ability and she reeled them in.

Her scope was later broadened to include other admin duty, historical research and even serving as one of the finger-licking good judges on the fast food test panel. As a result she has now been elevated to serve the club as a full time, part timer.   

And it just keeps getting better.

* Recently completed – as well as ongoing — circuit improvements include a section of a prime spectator viewing area between Turn 2 (Quarry Corner) and Turn 3 (Damps Dip), that previously formed part of the super motard track and is now being made available to the public again. Word is it may be able to accommodate between 150 and 200 cars.

*Then a roof has been fitted over the new Supercar pit compound that was formerly the officials parking area, opposite the clubhouse.

*A drive-in, sound testing booth for the benefit of competitors specifically and the community in general, has been completed in the scrutineering test area.

*The kart circuit is being fenced off in order to allow karters to practice on race days as compensation for the loss of their Sunday sessions. The reason for the fence is to ensure that main circuit spectators still have the use of the inside of Turn 1 (Hoals Hoek).

* A large asphalt run-off area is under construction behind Turn 5 (Cape Town Corner).

What Noise Annoys an Oyster?

Remember when we first asked this question in the E-Blower. OK it was some while after Max Bygraves popularized it in a song and dance routine. Well Max is no longer active and oysters disappear quickly with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of Tabasco.

So let’s talk about what is happening to us at Killarney now. It’s currently labeled as noise pollution and we’ve been asked to help lower its levels. However, contrary to what many seem to think, we are not being singled out. We are in fact, part of a universal situation that is affecting motorsport around the world. Members will have seen the report about the historic Donington Park that was circulated earlier.

As far as we are concerned here, everyone seems to recognize the gravity of the situation. Competitors in particular, are aware that any steps being taken are for our mutual benefit and they have been very cooperative. We are making progress and there is no doubt that the dB levels during the two most recent meetings have been considerably lower than has ever been recorded in the past.

So how are other circuits on our planet reacting?

Well, when the state of Oregan in the USA wanted to clamp down on noise from the racing cars, the motorsport guys there produced evidence that the sound from lumber mills and airports in the area was near 120 decibels (which is also the threshold of pain), and much more disruptive than any motorsport noise. However the state government killed that reasoning, saying it came from essential industries and was therefore justified.

So the next step was to compile a comprehensive list of every person or business with an interest in, or who was financially rewarded for their motorsport activity. This appears to have been more convincing and the state has taken no further action. Well, not yet anyway.

In Canada the guys who run the Calabogie Motorsport Park (CMP), near Toronto, do it their way: “Participants must adhere to the mandatory noise restrictions of 92 dB or less, without exception. Noise levels of ALL vehicles will be measured prior to them being granted access to the track. CMP has imposed its own noise guidelines, testing procedures and maximums, in order to ensure CMP creates a favorable environment for all.” It then goes on to detail exactly how the tests will be carried out.

While a 95 dB limit is in place in Australia and New Zealand, Britain and Europe have been particularly hard hit by a variety of restrictions. And although I can possibly understand them at Brands Hatch that is not too far from London, places like Donington Park, Goodwood and Silverstone are situated in rural areas. In addition, the Silverstone village for instance, is largely dependent on the circuit for its very existence.

Remaining with noise pollution; we have come across two examples of how the scales of justice can swing both ways. There was even a touch of intrigue in the case concerning the Croft circuit in Yorkshire that hosts national British Touring Car and Superbike events.

What happened there was that after the circuit owner and his wife separated, she moved in with her parents who lived in a house adjacent to the track. She then promptly stuck the knife in by instituting a private action against the circuit on the grounds of the nuisance being created there. And she won it!

Some time later, the Mildenhall Stadium in Suffolk, promoters of speedway, motocross and stock car racing, faced a similar problem when a couple who had recently taken up residence nearby, complained about excessive sound. As a result the council served a noise abatement order on the circuit owners who didn’t dispute it and promptly carried out the stipulated changes.

But although the council was then satisfied, the complainants weren’t. They brought a private action against the stadium and — as had happened at Croft — they won.

However when Mildenhall appealed the verdict, the Court of Appeal unanimously agreed that by obtaining the planning permissions beforehand, together with long usage, motorsport noise had become integrated into the character of the area. Accordingly the noise generated after complying with the order served on them by the council, was legitimate.

Indeed, the court was a trifle skeptical of the claimant’s statement that they were not aware of the noise factor at the time they purchased the property.

But where does it all end? Last week a 52 year old British milkman was disciplined and ordered to stop whistling while delivering the white stuff. This was despite the fact that there were only five complaints over a long period, from the 340 houses on his daily route. 

 Our Ed comments: Can’t remember what a milkman looks like. Those Brits are lucky to have them – and even more so if they’re cheerful whistlers.       

A (very) large screen.

Members who absorbed the sixth round of main circuit action from the clubhouse balcony were further entertained by the large (6 x 6 metres), television screen mounted on a small flatbed truck on the back lawn – that’s where our swimming pool is (eventually), going to be built.

Connected to our in-house system that can focus on any section of the track, its presentation of the live action in the old Cape Town Corner (that is normally hidden from our patio patrons), allowed viewers who were prepared to crane their necks, to take in every corner on the circuit and it seemed to have been well received.

However that was no more than an introductory demo run and the clubhouse lawn was not necessarily the best site. The situation now, is that although the club has not yet concluded any sort of deal with the presenters, the matter is under discussion. Anyone interested in advertising on the screen is invited to contact us.

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Another feature of that Saturday’s meeting was that our amiable clubhouse cookie Gean Notnagel was able to announce that it also resulted in the highest kitchen sales volume since he opened for business some six years ago. Now while that might say something for the new TV screen, it says a whack more for the quality of what he offers.

And that’s not all. The club has received an e-mail from General Motors, who are regular hirers of our facility for functions related to their various new models. In it, they were loud in their praise of Gean, who was described as amazing, with nothing being too big or too small for him to attend to. And remember, they are able to make comparisons with launches they organize in every major centre in South Africa.

Then there’s the VIP Lounge with its panoramic view from the top floor of the Admin building that has also received a share of nutritional praise. At the same meeting, Eric Salomon told one of the Vip bottlewashers, that it was the best meal he’d had there. And of course, there’s no disputing the gastronomic comprehension of a leading class C, Sports and GT competitor.    

The club has also been testing the quality of what the independent take-away vendors around the circuit have to offer. These are currently being digested, so no results as yet.

Are you sure you’re healthy?

The human body can sometimes be compared to a race car that has to retire with an electrical problem after a con rod comes out through the side of the block and severs the wiring.

But by contrast, what recently happened to Murray Walker and Dave Abrahams can prove that good fortune sometimes comes in through an alternate entrance.

The former F1 commentator — who is still with the BBC incidentally — and who proved hugely popular when he accepted an invitation to join us here Killarney some years ago, fractured his hip recently. So he was rushed to hospital where, while being prepared for the operation, the necessary blood tests resulted in him being diagnosed with lymphatic cancer (that’s a form of blood cancer).

Fortunately, although it sounds horrific, they caught it early enough for the condition to be treatable. The latest from Murray is that as things turned out he was actually extremely lucky to break his hip when he did. Also, that while he is sorry to have missed the British GP, he hopes to be up and about again, soon.

And we’re sure he will be – after all he’s only 89 years old!

Then there’s our bike scribe,                                                                   who woke up one morning recently with a very sore shoulder. (No word from Dave about what it was like when he went to bed the night before). Anyway a visit to his doctor reveals he has torn a tendon that can be attended to with modern keyhole surgery.

 But before they operate he has to be checked by a cardiologist. This leads to the discovery that he also has a problem with an intake valve in his heart

(medically described as aortic stenosis), which naturally is very serious and takes preference over any shoulder tendon. So he has the aortic heart valve in front replaced first, before the other op at the back.

Both were successful and although not yet able to ride or drive, he was as cheerful as ever when his partner chauffeured him to our most recent race meeting.    

Obituary

While we’re pleased Murray and Dave are OK, we’re also sad to report the death of Rodney Frewen, son of Walter, whose pink coloured, side valve, straight six, three speed, beam axle Frewen Specials were legends in the Cape (as was their designer / builder), during the 20 odd years after WW2.

The laid back Walter was a wonderful character whose panelbeating shop in the CBD was near Ernie Zammit’s Fireman’s Arms Pub. And because he spent so much time there, he eventually even had an extension of his telephone line connected to the pub. Walter would certainly have fitted in well with the lyrics of Don McLean’s famous American Pie.   

“Bye bye Miss American Pie.                                                                                    
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.
And the good ole boys were drinking whiskey in Rye.
Singing, that’ll be the day that I die.”                                 

Our Ed attended Tech with Rodney during their apprenticeship years and held him in very high regard.

Top Prices at the Top Gear.

The recent Top Gear Festival in Durbs had a claimed attendance of 86,000, which allowing for ego and exaggeration could still have been somewhere between 70 and 80,000 over the three day period. And I’ll tell you boyo, that’s a hot number!

Because in addition to the head count, the high ratio show was no, 50 buck Killarney cheapie. Professionally promoted and handled with international skill, there were any number of special deals available – at a price. The Ultimate Package for example, set you back R2100.00, while the Supreme Ticket carried a R950 tag. The Classic Family Package for two adults and two under 16’s that was only valid for the Sunday events, went for R1750 and a single Classic Ticket was priced at R495.

But while all of these carried an additional R55 parking fee as well, we reckon it was still better value than Schmucktin Bieber. In fact it was so lucrative for those involved that the story goes Clarkson and the clan’s deal with the Durban City Council is going ahead next year again.

That apart, the Cape was well represented on the circuit by our Master’s V8’s and several other entries, while the Franschhoek Motor Museum was there in force with a mouthwatering selection of rare Historic entries. Unfortunately, the tight and demanding makeshift street circuit with no run-off areas was totally unsuitable for really high speed racing and several cars were damaged.

Duels in the Desert.

The Ford and Friends Show (or better still, the Powell and Pals Promotion), in Namibia, that led to a major motorsport exodus from the Cape, was apparently a great success. Some of the more prominent drivers behind the wheel of the 26 cars included Nieyaaz Modack, Steve Humble, Francis Carruthers, Tim Reddell, Sean Mackay, Peter van der Poel, Lightning Leite – and of course, King Louis (Powell) himself.

The cars left by transporter on the Tuesday, with most of the drivers following them by air on the Thursday. They all met at the Tony Rust circuit in the desert near Windhoek, where the crowded weekend programme began with a drag meeting on the Friday evening that attracted a huge crowd.

This was followed by main circuit events for the cars and bikes next day until 4.30pm, when the karts took over. Finally there was a stock car evening shootout before the prizegiving finally took place (for those who were still standing), at around 11pm.

Well done guys.

This is not a warning, but….   

Finally, there’s the sad tale about Michael Carrol that the Ed. feels should be brought to members attention.

Michael is an Englishman who won a whopping ten million pounds (R156m) on the National Lottery over there, some 10 years ago, but who was soon dubbed “the Lottery Lout,” by the media. Sadly, his ignominious rollercoaster ride during that period was fueled by an insatiable appetite for drink, drugs, dolls and the big one – racing cars.

Of course, while he could afford the two bottles of his favourite Vodka every day and even the cocaine, it was the expensive prostitutes and poor motorsport decisions that really helped sink him. In the end he lost everything (including his wife), and had to resort to sleeping in the forest while looking for work.

He has since managed to secure a job in a biscuit factory where he earns 204 pounds a week. This led to our editor’s rather appropriate comment:                                                             

“Well that’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

 

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