E Blower Vol 28, Extreme Festival Sat 24 Sept.

The info below includes:

# Link below to download the E Blower volume 28 or find the edited copy below (without pictures) at the end of this mail.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/ss-usa/companies/MzawMDG2NDU2AwA/uploads/e_blower_vol_28.pdf

# Artwork promoting the Killarney Extreme Festival this coming Saturday.

# Links to timetables and press info related to the Extreme Festival.

 

 

 

 

See links to timetables below:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/ss-usa/companies/MzawMDG2NDU2AwA/uploads/Fri_23Sept_timetable.pdf 

http://s3.amazonaws.com/ss-usa/companies/MzawMDG2NDU2AwA/uploads/Sat_24Sept_timetable.pdf

See link to press info below:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/ss-usa/companies/MzawMDG2NDU2AwA/uploads/KILLARNEY_EXTREME_FESTIVAL_press_info.pdf 

 

 

The info below includes:

# Link below to download the E Blower volume 28 or find the edited copy below (without pictures) at the end of this mail.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/ss-usa/companies/MzawMDG2NDU2AwA/uploads/e_blower_vol_28.pdf

# Artwork promoting the Killarney Extreme Festival this coming Saturday.

# Links to timetables and press info related to the Extreme Festival.

# Practice cancelled today (Tuesday 20 September)

"A corporate client has hired the WPMC facilities for Monday, 19th Sept and Tuesday, 20th Sept. Having said this, the open practice scheduled for Tuesday, 20th Sept has been cancelled. Wednesday, 21st Sept open practice will still go ahead from 4.30pm till 5.30pm."

 

 

See links to timetables below:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/ss-usa/companies/MzawMDG2NDU2AwA/uploads/Fri_23Sept_timetable.pdf 

http://s3.amazonaws.com/ss-usa/companies/MzawMDG2NDU2AwA/uploads/Sat_24Sept_timetable.pdf

See link to press info below:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/ss-usa/companies/MzawMDG2NDU2AwA/uploads/KILLARNEY_EXTREME_FESTIVAL_press_info.pdf 

       The E-Blower vol. 28.

 

Editorial

Time flies – and so do the SAAF’s Silver                                                                     Falcons. So your only current concern about the flight of time, should be how long it will be before you see the Falcons flying                                                                    overhead. Yep, getting their aerobatic show here during the coming Extreme Festival is a major coup for the club.    

As far as other all-new events are concerned, the national Global Touring Car Series (GTC), guys will be making their first appearance at Killarney as part of the same Festival, on Saturday, Sept. 24. Then of course there’s the unique Killarney Motor Show on Sunday, Nov. 6.

Both of them have blockbuster potential, and all being well, should attract near record crowds. 

And after the success of his original appearance at the Killarney Clubhouse, Mike McCullagh is going to be back with his 80’s Show, on Sunday Oct. 2.

And as we go to press comes the news that the Killarney Motor Show will be promoted in conjunction with Independent Media Solutions, publishers of the Cape Argus, Cape Times and Cape Community Newspapers (all 14 of them).

Then to ensure you know who to talk to — we also want to help you keep track of our lady staff members around the (different), track.                      

Then at great expense, we have managed to secure a deal that will have the rarest Lamborghini in Africa on exhibition at our Killarney Motor Show.

Sadly, this issue has more obituaries than we would have preferred. But they were all good men (and one lady), and true — and they deserve to be remembered.

 

A special offer from Wingfield Motors

All WPMC members will be entitled to a FREE tank of fuel and a R500 Killarney Club house voucher when they purchase any vehicle from Wingfield Motors directly.

John van Niekerk, founder and

owner of Wingfield Motors

 

Please see our Goodwood and Kuilsriver showrooms at www.wingfieldmotors.co.za or see how we can assist you in purchasing a vehicle privately from another source at www.wingfieldp2p.co.za

 

Want to know what the ladies on our staff roster are doing?

Well firstly, they don’t slink along a catwalk during mannequin parades.

So, starting with our most recent acquisition, we’re pleased to welcome Estelle Hall on board as Geoff’s new Accounts Assistant. Estelle was educated and spent her early working life up north in Mine Dump Country. She then relocated to the Cape some nine years ago and is very happy here.

Her only regret is that her two sons, one daughter-in-law and an adorable three-year-old grandson are still on the other side of that muddy Vaalrivier.  Her sporting interests include watching motorsport (even F1), rugby and one- day cricket. For further relaxation she reads and listens to music.

As far as the other changes are concerned – we have mentioned before that the hard working Marizca has been moved from Accounts to Events Promotion. It’s a new position and we can assure you, it’s a time-and-a-half occupation. Meanwhile, Elisma has made the shift from Karting to the main clubhouse. Her place in Admin is being filled by Ronette. Finally, the long serving Monica 1 retired a while back and was replaced by Monica 2.

They are all fluent in English, the language in which we conduct our business. However Estelle, Marizca and Elisma have Afrikaans backgrounds, while Monica’s is Xhosa.

Of course everyone knows Terri, Joy and Yvette. And you won’t get any better service than from them.     

 

Is Cape Town in line for a place on the World Rallycross Championship calendar?

The promoters of the FIA World Rallycross Championship were in Cape Town last month to discuss the possibility of staging a round of the world title chase at Killarney next year.

Because although their first sight of the Killarney International Raceway was in the worst possible weather conditions, they were nevertheless hugely impressed by its possibilities. So much so, there is now a strong possibility that South Africa is about to return to the international motorsport stage. 

And this is not the usual high rev Formula 1 financial talk, in cell phone numbers. This is the real thing. There is no need for a completely new circuit and other ridiculous expenses – the basic facility is already in place.

The current rallycross championship consists of 12 rounds, most of them in Britain, Europe and Scandinavia. Further afield, events in Canada (that took place last month) and Argentina have recently also been added to the calendar.

The organisers are anxious to extend its scope even further, with Cape Town their number one choice in Africa. They have also been involved in discussions with the authorities in Australia and intend visiting the island continent in the near future.

Rallycross is a universally popular spectator sport. Meetings are held over two days, on circuits never longer than 1.4kms. This results in the cars remaining in view all the time. The track surface includes sections of tar, as well as compacted gravel. Many of them also feature jumps on the softer areas, that send the car flying through the air. 

The Killarney layout is still being discussed. However, it is expected to include a section of the tar stock car oval and some of the dirt infield area down towards the ROSE Foundation Corner (Turn 3).    

The cars are developed from rally models, with engines producing up to 600 horsepower. Coupled with their four-wheel-drive transmission, the latest rallycross projectiles are actually faster than F1 cars from zero to almost 100 km/h. 

Models currently competing include the Citroen DS3, Audi S1, Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta ST, Peugeot 208, BMW Countryman, VW Polo and SEAT Ibiza Cupra. 

Still a relatively new branch of the sport, it was first staged formally at Lydden Hill in Britain in 1967 and its popularity soon spread to venues in Holland and Sweden. However, the FIA only granted it world championship status in 2014.

Former world rally champion, Citroen’s Petter Solberg is the current rallycross kingpin. However, the legendary French driver Sebastien Loeb, who has nine world rally titles to his name and who demolished the Pikes Peak hill climb record during his single visit there (this title had previously belonged exclusively to Americans since the inception of the climb in 1916), will also be in action. Loeb entered the rallycross domain when he signed with Peugeot at the beginning of the current season and is getting faster in every round.    

While there is no date yet for a South African event, if negotiations are successful the organizers are hoping to be able to stage it towards the end of next year

 

 

The new Global Touring Car Series is a winner.

The recent launch of the new Sasol sponsored South African Global Touring Car Series (GTC), at Zwartkops, introduced a form of racing that promises to revive the status of our chosen sport, in this country.

Because like Nashua’s rugby Currie Cup, motorsport’s top category needs a major name brand to back it – and in Sasol they may have found the ideal partner. 

As far as the championship and the cars are concerned, the GTC was originally going to be a V8 powered series, based on the highly successful Australian V8 Supercar model. However, that was about three years ago and there have been several changes since then.

Most important was that with the global thinking increasingly switching to more practical 1.6 or 2 litre turbocharged engines, the South African rules were revised to feature the larger of the two four cylinder, forced induction units, all with rear wheel drive.

The GTC cars also feature a common tubular chassis, running gear that includes a six speed transaxle gearbox, similar to what is used in Australia, a single electronic Engine Control Unit (ECU), to control performance, spec tyres, suspension and many other components. All this to ensure the cost of building and maintaining the cars is kept to a minimum.

But while similar – or even identical — in many respects, contesting units must retain the body style they have on the showroom floor.

Although the cars weren’t all ready for the opening meeting, with a couple still in the development stage and not able to be classified as finishers, the meeting attracted a massive crowd, all of whom seemed well satisfied with what was presented.

One combo with all their eggs in one basket, was Michael Stephen in an Engen Extreme Audi A3. The multiple former Production Car champion was able to claim in pole position for the two races before going on to win both of them. By contrast Hennie Groenewald, who had been expected to present a serious challenge in his Sasol GTC BMW, was plagued by an engine misfire. This became so bad that the Beemer was eventually withdrawn from the final race.

Matthew Hodges (VW Motorsport Jetta) and Gennaro Bonafede (Sasol BMW GTC) were second and third in the first, with Graeme Nathan (VW Jetta) and Bonafede filling these positions in the final.

The Killarney event is going to be bolstered by the reappearance of the Cape’s born again, multiple national tintop champion Johan Fourie, at the wheel of a BMW.

The Zwartkops meeting also featured a front wheel drive GTC Production class in the same events. These proved hugely entertaining, with Shaun Duminy (Ford Focus ST), winning the first race narrowly from Daniel Rowe and Mandla Mdakane in a pair of VW Motorsport GTi Golfs. Rowe then pulled out all the stops while on his way to a hard fought victory in the second shootout. Duminy and Charl Smalberger in another Golf GTi, followed him across the line.

The latest news is that in addition to a full programme on the track, the SAAF’s magnificent Silver Falcons are going to be in action overhead as they entertain the public with one of their highly acclaimed aerobatic exhibitions. The five turboprop Pilatus PC-7 Mk2’s are scheduled to remain in close formation above the circuit for some time while they perform what is expected to be a stunning display of precision flying.

As far as we are aware, the Falcons only perform at air shows. We certainly haven’t heard of them in action at any sporting events. So our sincere thanks go to Patrick Vermaak for his help in – literally — getting this one off the ground.    

And for the bike fans:

 

Extreme Festival national bike racing at Killarney that day will include not one but two motorcycle categories, one of them unique in that it is a one-make series, allowing only minimal modifications, mostly safety related.

 

The series is, of course, the Red Square ZX-10R Masters Cup, now in its 10th  year – and with some of its founder riders still competing! That’s because it’s open to riders 35 and older, riding Kawasaki ZX-10R superbikes with sealed, standard engines and standard suspension on identical at Killarney that dayBridgestone ‘control’ tyres.

 

The only variables are the skill and bravery of the riders – although a number are former National championship contenders with considerable experience of competing at Killarney – while others are ‘gentleman riders’ with little experience of racing away from the series’ base at Zwartkops.

 

For 2016 the Masters Cup entries have been split into three classes – Group A, for riders from 35-42 years old, Group B for riders from 43-50 and Group C for riders more than 50 years old. That means that there will be close racing throughout the field, because every rider has somebody of equal age and talent to dice with, on a motorcycle that is guaranteed to be no slower and no faster than his own.

 

It’s an explosive recipe and the result is likely to be fireworks.

 

The second category of motorcycle racing is the anything-goes, run-wot-ya-brung Thunderbikes series, which grew out of the regular track schools and Sunday morning breakfast runs at Zwartkops and has blossomed into a Regional series with rounds at five different circuits.

 

It’s a largely amateur big-bike series, open to motorcycles in the Supersport 600 class and bigger, with very few restrictions on permissible modifications. As long as your bike will pass the safety inspection and doesn’t have forced induction or nitrous oxide injection, you can race it.

Entry is open to riders of 16 or older, although riders younger than 16 with experience of racing in ‘cadet’ series such as the Honda NS100 or KTM 390 RC may apply to bend that rule a bit.

The result is a variety of technically interesting machinery, ridden by a mixed bag of riders, usually with very unpredictable results, especially at ‘away’ races; you’ll just have to be there to see for yourself.

 

Still on bikes, the 2016 Pirelli SA Bike of the Year, the Triumph Thruxton R is also going to be on display at the Killarney Motor Show. A retro-styled café racer, it beat 14 other finalists to scoop the title after a three-day test by a panel of motorcycle journalists in Gauteng and Mpumalanga, last month.  

Controversial?

Well, come to our Killarney Motor Show and judge for yourself.

Although the modern motor car is more far trustworthy, reputable and reliable than the average politician, they bear comparison because no individual example suits everyone. So here we have two models (of the mechanical genre), that recently received mixed receptions after winning major awards.

Following an Argus Motoring report about the somewhat controversial opinions expressed about the Volvo XC90 when it won the 2016 SAGMC Car of the Year title, comes an announcement that may be even more of a surprise to dedicated South African petrolheads.

Because the Mazda MX-5 roadster has beaten every other car launched in the past year to snatch top honours in the 2016 World Car of the Year awards. Runners up in the competition, judged by 73 top motoring journalists from every corner of the planet, were the Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz GLC.

This was unexpected as, by modern motoring standards, the MX-5 is almost a trip back in time. Two of the earlier versions have actually been regular entries in the lower classes of our Power Series. 

A small lightweight two seater, soft-top sports car, it has an old fashioned front engine, rear wheel drive layout. Its urge comes from a naturally aspirated 1.5 or 2-litre motor that develops up to 118 kW of power – note; there is no turbocharger or supercharger — and is transmitted by way of a short shift manual six speed gearbox. Surely a prime example of the art of mechanical simplicity.

However, the MX-5 has a host of extras that include leather upholstery, dual airbags, air conditioning and a limited slip differential.

And when it comes to the proof of the pudding, the critics (and the judges), raved about its all-round performance on the road. Although first launched more than 25 years ago, it has been constantly updated and improved. And unlike other marques that all become larger and more powerful over the years, the MX-5 has gone the other way and is actually smaller and lighter than when it was first launched.    

Finally, Top Gear’s brusque Jeremy Clarkson, who can destroy any car with his tongue, recently advised his audience not to waste their money on a Mustang or a Ferrari. “The fact is” he said; “If you want a sports car, nothing gives you better value than the Mazda MX-5. And nothing will give you as much fun. The only reason I am giving it five stars is because I can’t give it 14.”  

Incidentally, the Mazda MX-5 that is now available in South Africa for R413,800, also received the World Design Award. Other sectional winners were the Audi R8 (World Performance Car), BMW 7 Series (World Luxury Car), and the Toyota Mirai (World Green Car). 

Now the Volvo XC90 and the Mazda MX-5 will be among the 1000’s of cars, bikes and other wheeled wonders, on display at the Killarney Motor Show on Sunday, Nov. 6.

So, why not drop in and judge them for yourself?     

 

Super Lamborghini for our Killarney Motor Show

As we were going to press came the news that a unique Lamborghini — the only one of its kind in the country — will be on display at our Motor Show.

No, it’s not an Aventador or a Huracan. In fact, it’s so rare, if it was a steak it would be almost raw and still dripping blood.

It’s an open top, all-wheel-drive, turbodiesel that develops a whopping 46 horsepower. This urge is transmitted to the four wheels by way of a 12 speed gearbox (4-speed X 3 stages). Of course it has 12 (slow) speeds in reverse as well. But it has no brakes!

And incidentally, the rear wheels are huge and wider than a mile.

No, it’s not impossible.

It’s actually an extremely practical tractor, with extra wide wheels and tyres, to avoid damaging the delicate greens and fairways on the golf course where it spent its early years.

It all came about, way back when Ferrucio Lamborghini, who was a farmer’s son, began building tractors after WW2 as he took advantage of the world shortage of agricultural equipment. The business prospered so much that – as a typical Italian sports car enthusiast – it wasn’t too long before he was able to afford a new Ferrari 250GT.

Now while the 250GT was magnificent, it had endless clutch problems. So when the miffed Ferrucio arranged a personal meeting with Enzo Ferrari, he told the great man his tractors had better clutches than his Ferrari.

And when Enzo shrugged off the complaint, Ferrucio decided the time had come to build his own luxury sports cars. It was the start of another success story. However, the business had its ups and downs and after Ferrucia sold it in 1974 — was declared bankrupt.

However, a string of new owners including the Chrysler Corporation and more recently Audi, have successfully looked after the cars. The tractor manufacturing operation also regained its feet, and the Lamborghini Nitro won the World Tractor of the Year award in 2014.  

We have been contemplating offering drives of the Motor Show model to a select few. Those lucky enough to get behind the wheel will then have bragging rights about their time behind the wheel in (or on), a turbocharged Lamborghini 4×4.

Just a thought!   

   

Short bursts:

 Want to challenge for a world title?

Our sincere congratulations to Nicolas Fisk, winner of the Hot Dog eating competition at the Independence Day, Wingfield Motors, Power Series meeting.

However, while he was the fastest single Dog chomper that day, it must be pointed out that we may be changing the Killarney rules in order to comply with international standards, in future.

The most recent round of the annual Hot Dog Eating World Championship took place in New York where the winner was the gobbler who could polish off the most dogs in 10 minutes. And while the large crowd apparently had difficulty believing it – at the end of that time slot, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut had swallowed 70 tubular canines — rolls and all.

Last year’s winner Matt Stonie apparently lost his appetite after downing 53 long ones.

Stock car baby.

It happened during the practice day, prior to the opening of the CHD’s

coming summer stock car season. Everyone was concentrating on getting their cars ready – to the exclusion of everything else — when there was a sudden loud commotion. And it wasn’t on the track. It turned out to be frantic calls for the paramedics and an ambulance. Fortunately, they were all available and ready for action.

What had happened was that a (very), pregnant lady spectator had gone into labour and sure enough, after the necessary “druk en pluk” assistance, a happy junior popped out.

You just never know what to expect at race meetings these days. 

So, what’s in a name?

Now there’s only one Van der Westhuizen contesting the Bold Marine GTi Challenge. And make no mistake he’s good. Yet strangely, that one-and-only Van appeared in the Power Series programme with different monikers for three consecutive meetings recently.

OK, the surname remained the same, it was the first name that changed.

Jano became Josef and then there was a third one for the Woman’s Day meeting that we unfortunately just had to censor, in order to preserve our status as a lifestyle, family magazine.

And sorry, we have had no explanation for the changes

It’s not big enough!

That long time enthusiast Dieter Huckstedt was another of our Flower Power visitors. Although now resident in northern Germany, Dieter remains a paid up club, as well as a VIP member. He also remains as willing as ever, to express his opinion. His current gripe is about the TV in the VIP lounge that he says is too small. And he not only wants it replaced, he’s prepared to put his money where his mouth is.

It began with a R5000 donation to the club and was followed by him encouraging several others to make a similar gesture. He is now looking forward to enjoying his TV on an even larger screen during his next visit.

Around the World, the hard way!

Then we entertained Heidi Hetzer at our Flower Power race day. A petite 78-year-old German ball of fire with the energy of someone 30 years younger, she’s busy driving alone, around the world in a 1930 Hudson straight 8.                                                    And incredibly, she’s following in the wheel tracks of another intrepid lady who, she tells us, made the same trip in a period from 1927 to 1929.

Well, I guess that’s one way to spend your golden retirement years.

A Flower Power knockout.

It was more than just the Flower Power that knocked Clint Rennard out, at the start of the first Midas Clubman race earlier this month. Although it doesn’t look too serious in the pictures, it was actually one of those freak accidents that began when his front running Golf (A3), was rear-ended and then nailed by several other cars.

The final T-bone resulted in him banging his helmeted head against the roll-bar with enough force to render him unconscious. According to the marshals who were on the scene immediately, he then floated in and out of consciousness several times – a state of mind and body that lasted many minutes and left him with a blinding headache.

OK, he was lucky. So what do we do. All the equipment was legal and approved by the scrutineers. Yet what happened that day, was not a first time occurrence.

Would head high padding on the roll bar uprights, help cushion any impact?   

Only Bernie could do it.

Commenting on the current sale of F1 for $8 billion, to the American media giant Liberty Media, former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan asked:

“How can the same man sell a highly lucrative business four times, cash in on each deal and not lose control or authority — and he never owned it in the first place!”               

 

Obituaries:

It is a sad coincidence that two of the Cape’s leading motor sportsmen, Piet van Niekerk (83) and Donald Philp (92), who often competed against one another and were once teamed in a GSM Flamingo that finished in a magnificent second place in an international 6-Hour race at the old Roy Hesketh circuit in KwaZulu Natal in 1964, eventually died on successive days last month.

Don Philp; a true gentleman who was justifiably referred to as the “grand old man” of South African motorsport. His early experience behind the wheel was acquired during military service in central and north Africa in World War 2. After the cessation of hostilities, he returned to join the family motor business in Stellenbosch.

His racing began with a Singer Le Mans, a marque that apart from its distinguished name, was unreliable and never a credit to the sport. However, he persevered and after acquiring experience in hill-climbs in Parow and Camps Bay, eventually graduated to the home made specials that provided the flavour of many years, for all the impecunious enthusiasts who couldn’t afford factory built racers.

And Donald’s sleek little “Mighty Atom,” as it was known, was always up with the leaders during the early days at Killarney and on the long street circuits at Sacks and Gunners Circle.       

 Acknowledged as one of the best, he finished second in the SA single seater championship and accepted offers of guest drives in a Ferrari, Cooper Maserati, the aforementioned Flamingo and other exotics. He also acquired a Cooper Climax of his own that was later modified to become the familiar Quadro Climax.

When he stopped driving competitively, Don remained involved with his support of national championship winners like Peter Gough.

Despite his love of the sport, the business was never neglected and it burgeoned under his – and later his son Mark’s – able control. Today it includes BMW Motorrad operations in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, the BMW car, Jaguar and Land Rover franchises in Stellenbosch, Selford’s Helderberg Basin and Selfords Autobody Repair Shop.    

 After finally retiring to the Helderberg Village, Don began playing bowls in the day and the organ in the evening. He was also active in a variety of charity projects in the area.

He was to have been the Guest of Honour at a “senior racing driver’s reunion” at Killarney earlier this year, but unfortunately (for health reasons), was not able to attend.  

 

Piet van Niekerk acquired his motorsport grounding during an early association with Bob van Niekerk (no relation), and Willie Meissner while they were developing and building the GSM Dart and Flamingo, South Africa’s first genuine production sports and GT cars.

A period of test driving at GSM led to action on the track and he and Bob went on to win two, 2-Hour Endurance Races at Killarney. This was followed by the second place he shared with Don Philp in an international 6-Hour and then victory in a Killarney 3-Hour.

Although he also enjoyed considerable success with a Droomer’s Volvo 144S, there was one mysterious occasion when the car just seemed to fall over as it entered what is now the Radio KFM Corner. 

The driving aside, Piet is also remembered for his assistance when motorsport was banned during the first OPEC oil crisis that followed the Yom Kippur War in 1973. He was able to arrange a meeting with Piet Koornhof, the then Minister of Energy. Together with Denis Joubert, they somehow managed to persuade him to lift the restriction which would have been disastrous for our international 3-Hour at Killarney that was due to be held a couple of weeks later. However, Koornhof only relented for the Cape event. The other rounds of the Springbok Series had to be cancelled.

After a 13 year business stint in Johannesburg that led to his retirement from active competition, Piet returned to take over the position — and spend his final years — as president of the GSM Club of SA.

 

 

Fred Willmot (81), who died on a July 22, was a founder member of the WPMC. Before that he belonged to the “Mets” (Metropolitan Motorcycle and Car Club), where he was one of the dedicated members that helped build the original circuit at Killarney.

Fred served his apprenticeship at the old Robb Motors where his early mentor was George Anderson a multiple South African 500cc champion and father of Jennifer, his future wife. He then joined Emmott Barwell where he did the tuning while Emmott did the talking.

Eventually branching out on his own, he was renowned for his meticulous workmanship. This striving for perfection was echoed in the construction of his house in Yzerfontein, much of which he was personally responsible for.

He attended Wynberg BHS where he and Roger McCleery were always more interested in motorcycles than rugby. He went on to become a multiple WP champion and raced in every circuit in South Africa. 

In later years he served the club for a long period, on race days in the caravan at the main entrance, helping with queries and all the paperwork.

Lindy Holland, finally lost her battle with the big C. Pete D’Oliviera’s partner for many years, Lindy was a long serving WPMC club member who attended every meeting at Killarney. She will be missed by all her friends.    

Mick Jones: Senior members will remember Mick as the loudest, most jovial character who ever took up station propped against the clubhouse *battlecruiser (boozer). Now Mick knew so much – and told everyone – about the inner workings of motorsport that eventually you couldn’t distinguish the bona-fide from the bull-shit. But he did it so well in a cockney accent straight out of Bow Bells, that he was always worth listening to.   

A true Brit, he arrived in South Africa to work for Ford Motorsport in Joey’s, but we really only got to know him when he joined Owen Ashley’s organisation in the building in the pits, now occupied by Harp Motorsport. This was during the time Owen built Formula GTi single seaters for a young Deon Joubert, Mike Briggs and others.

But Mick was a wanderer and after a while the clubhouse turnover suffered a pronounced loss of *bread and honey (money), when he left and returned to England, where he recently passed away.

*Mick’s typical cockney slang.

Jan Hettema (83): The death of the versatile Jan Hettema, who was murdered last month on his smallholding near Pretoria, has come as a shock to all who knew him.

Celebrated for his achievements in cycling and motorsport, Jan was selected -to represent his country in the 1956 Olympic Games in Australia. While there, he competed in three events, finishing a highly commendable fourth in one of them.

Switching to motorsport some time later, he won the first gruelling Roof of Africa Rally in Lesotho, in 1967. He then went on to claim the South African Rally Championship five times.     

But Jan had other talents as well and his outgoing personality resulted in him often being sought out at public functions. I recall one such incident at a new car launch I attended with my wife, some years ago.

Jan was there with his daughter Helena, a celebrated singer, songwriter and cabaret artist, and also winner of an SABC award for the best female vocalist. Naturally they were the centre of attraction and it wasn’t long before he led her in a song and dance duet that brought the house down.   

Their show continued until the wee small hours and left us with memories of an evening we will never forget.

Gugu Zulu (38), as everyone knows, died during a Kilimanjaro climbing expedition while helping raise money for charity. Now Gugu was a great character and a real man of the people who, in addition to his extensive motorsport activity was everything from a TV presenter to a Strictly Come Dancing contestant. This probably helps explain the incredible publicity his death received. Even more than Ayrton Senna’s totally unexpected final crash, or even Michael Schumacher’s tragic skiing accident.    

Wayne Heasman, succumbed on July 30 after suffering a severe heart attack. Although not a club member Wayne, who hailed from Roodepoort north of that “rivier,” was a regular competitor in national bike events at Killarney in the 80’s. A top class rider, he won the South African 750cc Production Bike title in 1987 and ’88.  

Chris Amon (73) died on August 3. A New Zealander, he was the winner (with Bruce McLaren), of the 1966 Le Mans 24-Hour race. Amon is rated the best F1 driver never to have won a world championship event. After the SA GP in 1968, although he started from pole in the next three Grands Prix in Spain, Belgium and Holland, mechanical problems ensured he only scored a single championship point from them. Former Ferrari technical director Mauro Forghieri claimed Amon was by far the best test driver he had ever worked with. “He had all the qualities to be a world champion, but bad luck just wouldn’t let him be.”     

Ralph Clarke (88), was another of our sport’s gentlemen. He died on May 16 after a long illness. A perennial MG enthusiast, Ralph drove his MG special in hill climbs in Camps Bay, Parow and Paarl back in 1947. Not long after that he was racing an ex Sam Tingle MG PA at Paarden Eiland, Gunners Circle and on the early Killarney triangle.

He had a long time senior business association with the British Motor Corporation (BMC), at their Blackheath plant where they began by assembling Austin and Austin Healy models. The arrival of the Mini then saw the volume increase dramatically. It grew even more when they merged with the Leyland Motor Corporation.

Although there were ups and downs in later years, Ralph retained his position until he retired in 1987 after 32 years at the plant. Incredibly, during this stressful period, he still found time to restore a number of classic cars.

Cobus Claasen (56): a long serving and enthusiastic club member and former Clubman competitor, Cobus was also a sponsor of prominent drivers (John Craig in his Nissan Sentra was one of them). He passed away recently after a long battle with the Big C.

 

 

 

 

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