South Africa is indeed fortunate to have a person such as Peter du Toit as an ardent enthusiast who quietly continues to invest in his track, Zwartkops Raceway, and the events he promotes there. Arguably, the biggest is the annual Passion for Speed extravaganza at the beginning of each year.
This year marked the 19th successive year that he has promoted this amazing event for both classic cars and some superb examples of the modern-day variety. It continues to be a “must attend” event for the host of people that continue to show interest in the cars and drivers of the years gone by, particularly those of the so-called golden era of the 1960’s and ‘70’s. Automotive Refinisher publisher Ian Groat and I are certainly in that category.
With no less than thirty international entries into this years’ bonanza of historic racing being backed-up by a glitterati of former local racing champions, the recipe for a great weekend of motor racing was a big success. Once again the packed grandstands were not to be disappointed as everyone stepped back in time to enjoy the golden era of motorsport. With the chorus of strained V8 engines of production saloons, Pre-90’s sports and GT racers, among the many classes on a packed to capacity race card, they all strutted their stuff in great style.
The sheer quality on packed grids was also jaw dropping, with Briton Russell’s’ Fears 1965 Lola and Pressons priceless Lola T70, set to do battle with the local racing aces. The Kyalami 9-hour race machinery was also a big player on the race card of the Saturday’s event which was held in blissful highveld sunshine. The V8 Legends was as usual scraping the paint off each other’s body work, but Peter Lindenberg’s Shelby Mustang was in a class of its own. In each race as the competition of Sarel van der Merwe fell away, the sheer genius of long forgotten American saloon racers proved to be the big highlight of the day with the SKF Pre-66 legends, Bill Toppers in action in the Race of Champions class.
Along with the racing days events, the track held sway over a number of historic racers on display like the Maserati 50s racer in the historic Grand Prix cars division.
In the Pre -1974 International Sports Prototypes, Keegan Campos’ Porsche B19 led the second leg just flag to flag racing exhibition while Larry Wilford’s Gence Lola T70 scrapped it out for a podium place. Held over three full days, the sheer spectacle of all this period petrol head fun is a bit of a dizzying experience as class by class the racing unfolds with intense competition shown by one and all of the competitors.
SA Motorsports is dedicated to enthusiasm
Zwartkops is now an entity which is BEE compliant, practical, affordable, and accessible. It is an enterprise which is of benefit to the world of motoring in South Africa, plus being a composite facility, high performance track, skidpan, SUV/4×4 facility and two karting facilities one of which hosted a world championship final in 2002, which was won by South African Mark Cronje, with driver training, product evaluation, high performance motoring and of course motorsport.
It has had international recognition for many years and is being continually upgraded and improved by its enthusiastic owner, who is justifiably very proud of what he has done with what was originally a drive-in cinema.
Story by Ian Groat and Roger Houghton
Pics by Ian and Jan Groat