BMW April 2022

The  South African Brad Binder was the toast of South Africa when he put us on the international MotoGP motorcycling map with a magnificent win in the Czech Grand Prix at Brno in August. The entire family, father Trevor, mother Sharon, brother Derryn, have all been in motorcycling all their lives. They made world headlines. Brad also received a letter from our President on the same day as his win. 

Brad, was also the World Moto3 (250cc) Champion a couple of years ago. He also finished just three points off winning the World Moto2 (675cc) in 2019. A modest man of note, he often comes home to Krugersdorp and trains with the South African riders and is also seen at our motor races running his own stall. 

It’s been a bad month for some of the motor industries’ best known motoring journalists and characters. Jannie Herbst died on his 72nd birthday after suffering a stroke.  He established “Wiel” magazine and “Leisure Wheels”. He started as a photographer which was his first love. He was also appointed editor of Die Motor and was the motoring man at “Die Transvaler”.    

Older readers will remember Dirk Marais who was not only a judge on the MSA Appeal Court but also a judge at the South African Appeal Court. Dirk will be fondly remembered for racing a Saab and a Sunbeam Tiger so successfully. 

Brian White also died at the end of August. He was a long-standing member of the Porsche Club and was well known internationally by the global Porsche fraternity. 

After three successful years at Audi, South African Trevor Hill completed his contract here and returned to Ingolstadt where he will take up a new position within the Audi Sports Division. 

Another change at VW is Martina Biene, head of the Volkswagen Brand in South Africa who is moving back to Germany for a new position in Wolfsburg. 

After opening up Africa to Volkswagen in Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda, Thomas Schaeffer, CEO of Volkswagen in South Africa, left without any fuss to go and head up Skoda in the Czech Republic. This means one thing – we are going to hear lots about Skoda in the near future. 

The Japanese Government tried unsuccessfully to bring Nissan and Honda together as they fear that Nissan’s alliance with Renault might collapse which would mean bad things for Nissan. 

The arrest by Nissan in Japan of Carlos Ghosn two years ago has not gone away. 

One of his last jobs for Thomas Schaeffer the CEO in Volkswagen in South Africa was to open a new assembly plant in Ghana.    

Well known motoring journalist Lerato Matabese has left Driven magazine to join TopGear as their publishing editor. 

The 70th anniversary of Grand Prix Racing at the Circuit that started Formula 1 – Silverstone – saw Lewis Hamilton take the win in his Merc with a destroyed left front Pirelli tyre allowing him to limp to the flag with a fast closing Verstappen second. 

Funny to see the Indy 500 not being run on May 31st but on the 23rd August, the same weekend as the 70th Anniversary of Formula 1. Sato, the Japanese driver, won this 200-lapper under a yellow caution flag to head home five Hondas in a row. Out of the first 15 home 11 had Honda motors. So altogether a good weekend for Honda. 

Everybody is trying to set up a new lap record for standard cars at the Nurburgring Nordschliefe with 175 corners in its total distance of 20.832 km. 

The latest is a Porsche Panamera with lots of gee-gees under the bonnet which set up a new record at 7 minutes 29 seconds – 13 seconds quicker than the last lap record set a few months ago. 

The fastest of all was a 956 Porsche when Steffan Bellof lapped in just over five minutes. But this Porsche Panamera success is in a standard car you and I can buy. 

The South African Guild of Motoring Journalists fraternity has got an entirely new look to it since its elections happened at the end of July. President is Rubin van Niekerk,  Chairman Carl Wepener, Treasurer Graham Erasmus, Secretary Vivien Natassen. The General Committee members are Jason Woosey, who is in for his second term, and new boys Alan Rosenmeyer, Lawrence Smith, Khulkani Dumisa and Michelle York as General Manager. 

Latest introduction to South Africa is a well specced but affordable car, the Suzuki  S-Presso which starts at R134 000. It is full of features that you would expect in a more expensive motor car. 350 were sold in its launch month. The engine pushes out 50kW to give it sparkling performance. It comes with a 5 year/200 000km warranty and three-year roadside assist.  Five models are available in manual and automatic guise. 

Master Drive and their MD Eugene Herbert says his company has consulted with insurance companies who will honour their policies despite you having a crash after curfew which these days is 10pm. But they do encourage drivers to be home at 10pm. 

Where the government got a rule like this when the rest of the country has been opened up is anybody’s guess. 

Graham Duxbury has pointed out that every generation has a greatest racing driver. Hamilton is going that way. There was Schumacher, Ayrton Senna,  Jim Clark and Fangio. But, says Dux “what about Tazio Nuvolari who was still competing at 57. He had a war interrupt his successes. He was nicknamed the “Flying Mantuan”.    

He won 150 major races in his time including the Le Mans 24-Hour race. One of his greatest triumphs came in 1935 when German and Italian politics were rife. Ferrari ran an Alfa Romeo which took Nuvolari to a win at the German Grand Prix in front of 300 000 fans who attended to see a possible victory for the Reich. 

The AA says that traffic laws to drink driving will be ineffective as current laws that regulate alcohol and driving are not properly implemented or enforced.    

Reducing the blood alcohol limit to zero will not solve the problem of road deaths in South Africa if it is not supported by thorough scientific diagnosis of the problem or drunk driving with proper statistics. 

There is a small van coming from Mercedes Benz called a T Class and will be here in the first half of 2022. 

The motor industry is being very involved in supporting the loan of vehicles and health equipment to the Department of Health and other involved bodies.  Peugeot/Citroën have extended the loan of vehicles to the Department of Health to the end of 2020. 

Ford, very much a good citizen in South Africa, have given 240 locally assembled engines made in Port Elizabeth and valued at R7.8m to the Department of Basic Education to enhance skills development training and Youth Empowerment in South Africa. 


Don’t forget to listen to Roger McCleery to hear  more inside stories every Tuesday afternoon on his Motoring programme on Radio Today (1485 AM) or on DSTV Audio Channel 869, on social media and podcast around the world.