T he Zwartkops race track outside Pretoria once again played host to a record race car entry with a packed spectator contingent. All out were 66 pre-production cars along with little giants and the hotly contested and legendary big banger saloons which can only be described as a big handful to drive out on the track.
The opening race saw pre-event favourites Sarel van der Merwe and his Ford Galaxie and Hennie Groenewald with his Plymouth Fury side-lined when their respective cars broke down. That left Ferdi van Nierkerk Junior (Ford Galaxie) to take victory ahead of Jonathan du Toit (Chev Nova), Paolo Cavalieri (Ford Galaxie), Peter Lindenberg (Ford Mustang) and Leeroy Poulter (Chev Belair). Both Van der Merwe and Groenewald returned to race two with different cars, Groenewald in a Mercury Comet and Van der Merwe in a Chev Belair. Groenewald and Van Niekerk Junior diced mightily for most of the race, until Van Nierkerk spun his Galaxie at high speed coming into the pit straight. Groenewald took the victory, followed by Cavalieri, Leeroy Poulter, Lindenberg, Du Toit and Clive Densham. Although the early weather was one of shivers and heavy clouds, the spectators got great cheer from this spectacular class of racing.
Also out to race was the old campaigner, David Piper along with other stars such as the leading Dutch driver Michiel Campagne all backed up by Franco Scribante, Alan Bailie, Peter Lindenberg and Jonathan and Mark du Toit throughout the day’s memorable event.
The pre-66 Little Giants is yet another exciting bunch to watch packed to the brim with smoking tyres, spinners and swift exits off track. Colin Ritchie’s 1961 (Mini Cooper S) won the first SKF Little Giants race from Andy Gossman (Datsun Sunny) and Shaun Cabrita (Mini Marcos). In race two Shaun Cabrita steered the unusual looking fibreglass tub of Mini Marcos to win the second eight-lapper leg.
The packed race card saw one after another spring races with some very exotic race machinery out on track to strut their stuff with Andre Badenhorst winning with a 1974 Porsche 250. The international Pre-74 Sports cars and Franco Scribante scooping a win with the Chevron in race two ahead of Roman de Beer (Lola T70) and Jonathan du Toit (Chevron B8). Single seater yesteryear Formula one racers produced some amazing ‘soundtracks’ from the aging Cosworth and Ferarri V8 motors for even further entertainment as the crowded pits swelled to a huge throng of enthusiasts.
In the pre-1984 Classic Production Cars, Robbie Smith (Ford Capri Perana) took the first race followed by Paolo Cavalieri (BMW 745) and Ben Morgenrood (Ford Mustang). Smith dropped out of race two leaving Cavalieri to win from Roy Oberty (Porsche 924) and Morgenrood.
Mike Ward (Royale) won the first Historic Single Seater race ahead of Graham Vos (Dulon) and Alan Bailie (Cooper). Jeffrey Kruger (Birkin 7) and Jeff Gable (Birkin 7) took the first two places in both Lotus Challange races.
The Passion for Speed race day produced some heady memories from a bygone era of speed and sound, all of which was produced some 50 years ago from the rock and roll era when the world first discovered mobility and extra horsepower. Right from 1.5 litre BRM racers up to seven-litre V8 racers, the world has never been quite the same. Zwartkops magic also saw the running of today’s super car racers and that proved to be a good day out for all. The extreme supercar class saw Simon Murray take his black Lamborghini GT3 to the winning post ahead of Franco Scribante in another ultra quick Ferrari 430.
Zwartkops once again showed what an incredible diverse event it has become, packed with motor racing merchandise and good food. With an international selection of track side race heroes and action packed moments that play out all day long, every one enjoyed this year’s retro race-day to the full.