The E-Blower. Vol. 31.
The (un)official voice of the WPMC.
Managing editor: IM Nobody.
Chief sub-editor: Robin P Emslie.
Art director: J Colin Brown.
Motorcycle editor & Hells Angel lookalike: Dave D Abrahams.
Social correspondent: Jo King.
Wow! It may not be the festive season yet — but when it comes, there are sure going to be many tired bodies scattered around our complex.
Yea, our team are all on the red line and won’t drop below it before year end.
That’s because in addition to the usual chores and events, we also have the final round of the IMG World Rallycross Championship over the Nov. 10/12 three-day weekend (see the rallycross article on page 5).
Before that, Power Series 6 on July 1 is followed by our Woman’s Day event that is being combined with round 7 of the Power Series on the public holiday, Wed. Aug. 9. Now an event on a mid-week public holiday – that’s a sign of innovative thinking.
In our favour; no-one can stretch it to a long weekend and high-tail off into the bush. This leaves it wide open for a fun-for-all one-day event — so we’re planning a special for the girls (and the boys).
The national Extreme Festival is next on Sept. 9, followed by a celebration of our Motorsport Heritage and what we’ve achieved during our first 70 years. OK, the Killarney show is on Sat. Sept. 23 which is a day before the “real” Heritage Day – but who’s counting?
New on the calendar are two for a good cause. In October, there’s Bandana Day that is held in conjunction with the Sunflower Fund to raise money for the fight against leukaemia. This will be followed by the bikers mammoth Toy Run for the benefit of under-privileged kids, in November.
Then there’s the one they’ve all been yelling for – the 2017 Killarney Motor Show, on Sunday Oct. 15. Yep, there’ll be a lot of what we had last year – but a whole heap bigger and better. New live action is going to include a car crunching Monster truck, as well as the aerial Monster Freestyle Motocross stunt riders.
After the rallycross, there are a string of promotions in December, finishing with the big bopper – our annual StreetFest on Dec. 27 – and that’s going to be another major crowd puller.
Faster than a Microsoft Cloud.
Compiling the Editorial list of the coming “big one’s” — took this aging mind
back to our club’s early days and I marvelled at how it has matured from those “get-togethers for a laugh and a couple of beers during a weekend work party,” to the slick, sophisticated motorsport business organisation, it is today.
Make no mistake, it didn’t just happen. Many South African circuits – including Roy Hesketh and Westmead in Natal, the dangerous Esplande circuit on the East London beachfront, Pollsmoor in our own southern suburbs, a couple in the Free State and of course Kyalami — have all gone out of business over the years. By contrast, from a very low key beginning in 1947, Killarney is the oldest and most successful.
The “most successful” tag is earned because, while we’ve been down more than once we’ve been able to get up off the floor come back swinging. And every time, it’s been without any outside assistance – financial or otherwise.
Now, in this latest judgement about the most successful, in keeping with accepted motorsport practice, the circuits compete in classes.
As a result, Zwartkops tops the Inland class. It is well managed, equally well financed and situated in SA’s most densely populated area, between Johannesburg and Pretoria. Those are rich pickings, and it leaves the Phakisa Freeway in danger of being lapped.
However, we feel Killarney in Cape Town, is the overall leader. We’re certainly way out front in the coastal class that includes Durban, Pietermaritzburg, East London and Port Elizabeth. Remember, unlike the venues in Mine Dump Country, the organisers here, have to cope with spectator distractions from beaches, bikinis and boats — as well as from fewer folk of any gender with an interest in our favourite sport.
Incidentally, we’re classifying the born-again Kyalami as a class X entry.
So, who’s first to the chequered flag? Well, although not in the same geographical area as Zwartkops, we modestly believe that if it came to a final shootout, we would win it. After all, we’re the original motorsport complex. Many quirky ideas seemed to have originated here before resurfacing in the north – like the pedal karts on the clubhouse lawn for example. And let’s not forget the turbo boost from our world rallycross date.
In early post World-War-2 times — apart from the nearby Killarney Hotel, the occasional farmstead and the railway station at Kalbaskraal, there wasn’t much in the way of any settlement or activity in the expansive area between Milnerton and Malmesbury.
So much so that we became part of the urban sprawl almost without realising it. But it happened and we were suddenly enveloped by a situation that included environmental requirements, accusations of noise pollution, the benefits derived from green space and the pressing need for low cost housing. We shut our gates when protest marches from nearby Dunoon were staged past our complex, to the council premises in Milnerton.
There was talk of the possibility of the circuit being closed down.
But as Muhammad Ali always said; “I’m the greatest – I can roll with the punches.”
And our efficient management team immediately got to work on that principle. Silent Sundays were introduced, noise abatement was enforced at all times. Robot Racing, that was launched to help keep the drag racers off the public roads is proving to be a great success. It has also helped mollify the council’s attitude to our existence.
The circuit has been opened to cyclists on Sundays, as well as at certain other times. The club worked in collaboration with the City Council and the mechanical noise at the circuit (and the noise that was directed against us from the mouths on the other side of the river), gradually became manageable.
The new grandstands around Turn 3 (Damps Dip, Rose Foundation Corner).
Not only that, our committee went out and clinched the only motorsport world championship date granted to South Africa since the Formula 1 flop at Kyalami, 24 years ago. It’s an event that is expected to be a huge business (as well as a recreational), benefit to the Cape.
The new rallycross spectator bank is strictly for BOG (bums on grass). No vehicles allowed.
The guys who organised all this, really deserve a Bells.
An 0pportunity for SA Rallycrossers.
The semi-finals and final, of the Belgium round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship last month, were all hard fought affairs.
Belgium’s Coyote round of the IMG World Rallycross Championship last month, provided a surprise result when Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson broke reigning champion Mattias Eckstrom’s run of three consecutive victories in the 2017 season in his Audi S1.
This first triumph for Kristoffersson’s recently launched VW Polo GTi Supercar was backed by former titleholder Petter Solberg, who finished third in the PSRX Team Sweden’s other new Polo GTi. Second place was claimed by British driver Timmy Hansen in his team Peugeot 208 Supercar.
Eckstrom crossed the line in fourth place and while still in the overall lead, is now only three points ahead of Kristoffersson, who was well placed in the three previous championship legs that were held in Spain, Portugal and Germany.
An interesting feature of the meeting in Belgium, was that it included racing for the new RX2 International Series for the first time. Billed as a feeder series for the main Monster Rallycross Championship for Supercars, the RX2 is in effect, a one-make contest. Presented by Cooper Tires, the cars are identical, with 310 bhp engines mounted amidships, with the power going to ground by way of the four-wheel-drive transmission.
Built in Turkey, the fact that the series uses controlled spec vehicles is seen as the ideal opportunity for the organisers to provide an affordable platform to help showcase the talent of emerging young drivers.
Making an even stronger case for any South Africans with ideas of a career on the world motorsport stage, it must be borne in mind that although there are 12 rounds of the FIA World Rallycross Championship, only seven of them feature support races for RX2 cars.
The first of these was the event in Belgium, where two leading Belgium rally drivers Ghislain de Mevius and Guillaume De Ridder, were able to make their RX2 debut.
It was followed by support events in Great Britain on 27/28 May and Norway 10/11 June. Still to come are Sweden 1/2 July, Canada 5/6 August, France 2/3 September and South Africa 10/12 November.
And with a regional rallycross challenge in classes, likely to get under way on Killarney’s championship circuit sometime in July, this seems like an ideal opportunity for prospective future champions to begin preparing their cars.
A special offer from Wingfield Motors.
All WPMC members will be entitled to a FREE tank of fuel and a R500 Killarney clubhouse voucher
when they purchase a vehicle directly from Wingfield Motors.
Please see our Goodwood and Kuilsrivier showrooms at www.wingfieldmotors.co.za or
see how we can assist you purchasing a vehicle privately from another source at
Catch ‘em young.
Recently launched (and funded), by John van Niekerk, the head honcho at Wingfield Motors, his unique Wingfield Development Academy on the oval track, is worthy of comment.
John tells us that for years he’s been thinking about the residents of the nearby Dunoon township, who regularly walk past Killarney and the Wingfield sign (it’s never been vandalised), while on their way to other places and there is no real feeling of inclusivity.
Ed: In fairness though, the WPMC does retain the services of Dunoon residents wherever possible and there are currently a number of them in our employ. We have also assisted the Academy by making our facility readily available for training purposes.
Anyway, so he thought it would be a good idea to get two youngsters – a boy and a girl — from the area and make a start at changing the community / residents, perception of the Killarney International Raceway.
And it’s showing results already. Initially announced in the local school assembly, the community leaders have been informed and he feels there is already a more positive awareness of Wingfield and Killarney.
As John says: “I truly feel that with great leadership in SA and every person from a more prosperous background making an effort to assist the underprivileged, we will turn this great country into a truly inclusive, sustainable rainbow nation.
The Dunoon laai’ties current wearing the crash hats were the winners of a motorsport competition held at their school. They already know a heap about racing and have a real passion for the sport. Their parents, teachers and the principal, regularly attend events to see them in action and everyone enjoys themselves.
And of course, with Danie van Niekerk (no relation), Johnny van Niekerk (Snr) and John’s daughter Ciara to help, what better tuition can they get. OK, one car did get smashed, but with plenty of driver protection in the cockpit there were no injuries, and it has since been repaired..
They race in the Mini class on the stockie oval and we feel John is another who’s also in line for a Bells.
Age (and length of service), shall not weary them.
Certainly not guys like Arthur Winston, Alby Fourie, Richard Thomas, Andre Grewe or Shaun and Jimmy Villet.
Alby Fourie has been a marshal for more than 40 years while Andre Grewe has served as our official starter for almost as long as Richard Thomas, a former rallyist whose competitive career began in 1952 and who is still one of our scrutineers.
But the Villets earn a unique credit. Because they actually have the all-time record for family service at Killarney, with Shaun having followed his dad Jimmy, who had previously been head barman at the clubhouse on race days, for 28 years. Shaun recently celebrated 30 years in the same capacity, broken only by his compulsory period of army service.
Of course, there was an overlap, with father and son having worked together for a few years. Nevertheless, it’s a record they achieved in sometimes trying circumstances. I mean, imagine having to listen to stories for year after year after year, from guys drooped over the counter, telling them about the race they would have won had it not been for that ridiculous black flag, or the hole in the block – or something equally melancholy and unfair.
Away from Killarney, Shaun tells the story of how he helped an old lady tidy up her garden one day, purely as a gesture of goodwill. She was so impressed she referred him to seven of her friends – and that was how he started his current business, Sharma Gardens.
He’s married to Jennifer. Their daughter Madison is 14 and who knows, she may well also be helping out at the clubhouse before too much longer.
So, who’s Arthur Winston? OK, he wasn’t a club member. He was employed by the Metro Transportation Agency in Los Angeles for 76 years. During this extended period, he only took one day off — to attend his wife’s funeral.
The 2017 AGM
Great entertainment value, so don’t miss it. Our current Chairman Gavin Cerff and vice-chairman Tim Riddell are both up for re-election.
It’s at the clubhouse on Thursday June 29, but don’t worry, you will be getting an official notification.
Is Rallycross the world’s fastest growing form of motorsport?
Seems like it. The BRDC (British Racing Drivers Club), owners of the Silverstone F1 complex, has now stepped in to take over (with IMG and Monster), the 2018 British round of the RX World Championship, that was formerly staged at Lydden Hill. And they’re promoting it in a typical brash American style, with music concerts, street food and a variety of other entertainment. Bernie E would never approve.
Even former 2009 F1 world champ Jenson Button, is talking about switching to rallycross. Who knows, he may even be in Cape Town in November.
Pedal-power (Mach.1) Karts.
Those unique, fuel efficient, totally silent, off-road karts that have the use of the lawn in front of the clubhouse and add to the kiddie-tainment offered on race days, have proved so popular that your club has acquired a one-make team of its own.
And life size Television.
And when we asked VIP members what improvements they would like to see in the VIP Lounge on race days, the suggestions included croissants and bananas to go with the early morning tea and coffee. That one we complied with quite easily. The request for a larger TV screen took a little longer.
However, it has now been installed, with the whole nine yards currently available in all its rainbow magnificence.
While we don’t usually comment on a club members performances on the track, we felt Julian van der Watt’s eight consecutive victories in the national Investchem Formula 1600 title chase — against tough opposition — is certainly worthy of a congratulatory mention.
Gumtree’s coming to Killarney.
That’s right it’s just happened, and Gumtree SA has now come aboard as the official headline sponsor of the final round of the World Rallycross Championship here in Cape Town. More about this later.
And so are the Beatles.
Yep. Courtesy of Mike McCullough who brought that great show to our clubhouse a few months back. This time it’s a tribute to the Beatles, with a star-studded cast. Remember Sergeant Pepper, the Yellow Submarine and all the other hits from those days. It’s the Sounds of Sunday on August 27 and tickets are available now.
So long, it’s been good to know ye.
After arriving at Killarney from England, by way of a (long), stopover in Kenya, during the 1960’s, Brian Jeffries and his wife Jenny, have finally left
us to retire in the land of their birth. A dyed in Castrol R motorsport enthusiast, sometime Clerk of the Course, meticulous organiser and stickler for detail, the club was fortunate to have had Brian (and Jenny), as behind- the-scenes assistants over the years. We’ll miss them.
Flamboyant and incredibly brave.
Peter is seen here in a jovial mood, some while after recovering from his horrific accident.
The South African motorsport fraternity is mourning the death of colourful former double national champion Peter Gough (born 28 Dec. 1937), who passed away on Friday, May 5.
A former SA Saloon, as well as Sports Car titleholder in the late 1960’s, Peter’s sports car success came first and was partly due to his meticulous attention to detail. This resulted in his four Amal, GSM Dart performing flawlessly and going on to win class D despite serious opposition in every event, from Richie Jute in a similar Dart.
This attracted the attention of Willie Meissner, who had left GSM and was running a Ford backed racing team, with Koos Swanepoel as the driver.
Before long, a second car was offered to Gough.
The timing was perfect, with Koos taking over one of the recently launched Mustangs, while Peter moved into a Cortina. Next came the Escort era when Meissner’s brilliance led to the development of the belt driven DOHC engine. Gough drove the new car to victory in its first competitive appearance in the world. Its British debut only took place a week later.
The new combination became unbeatable. Peter qualified on pole at every race meeting and set new lap records at nearly all the circuits.
With his talent now recognised internationally, he was invited to share a Porsche 906 with Formula 1 McLaren and BRM driver Peter Gethin, in the 1969 Kyalami 9-Hour race.
Sadly, Peter‘s burgeoning career came to a sudden end when the indoor mounted, long distance auxiliary fuel tank fitted to a rotary engined Mazda he was sharing with Basil van Rooyen in a six hour race in Bulawayo, wasn’t closed properly after a routine pit stop. With leaking fuel centimetres deep, swirling around on the floor, there was a deafening explosion as the car became an incendiary device and was immediately engulfed in smoke and a sheet of flames.
Even in the resulting mayhem, Peter recalled he tried in vain to find an ambulance or fire post. So, stopping alongside the track, he released the safety harness, but by the time he reached for the door handle it had already melted. Eventually getting the window down he opened the door from the outside and rolled out onto the grass.
He suffered 65% burns and with no fireproof underwear, his overalls melted onto his body and he was in excruciating pain. The injuries were so severe that no commercial airline was prepared to accept him as a passenger and he had to be flown back to Cape Town in a private plane.
He eventually spent more than a year, in and out of hospitals and had to endure more than 100 surgical procedures, many of them for facial reconstruction.
Incredibly, although it took a very long time to regain the full use of his limbs, specifically his fingers, he eventually recovered and — to a limited degree — even returned to competing in regional events on the track in a selection of Porsches. He also acquired a commercial pilot’s licence and with initial support from Don Philp in Stellenbosch, began a highly successful career in the motor industry.
Sadly, there were other accidents. The most serious of these was when he had to be hospitalised again, after crashing his bicycle during a high speed downhill training run.
He is survived by his wife Ardi, three daughters and four grandchildren.
He Certainly was a Sky-High Character.
Mike Beachy Head (59), died suddenly on Sunday May 21. Although by Killarney standards he was probably less distinguished than Peter Gough, Mike can certainly be said to have surpassed Goffie in the skies above us.
His last track racer was a Porsche 917 replica. But while the final factory Porsche 917/30 was a twin turbo monster that produced a staggering 1580 bhp, Mike’s class D, S/C Nissan motivated replica, was way out of that league.
However, once in the air he became three dimensional – and made certain he extended all the variants to their outer limits.
Beginning with radio controlled model planes as a youngster, Mike was always fascinated by flight and went on to log many 1000’s of hours at the controls of a variety of aircraft, as soon as he was able. It led to him launching a courier service that used several surplus Albatross aircraft he had bought. The company grew until the Albatross planes were replaced by a Boeing 727-100, which seemed like the right time to sell the business.
He then founded Thunder City, the world’s largest private collection of fighter jet planes, with its own hanger at the Cape Town International Airport. The company was also the home of the National Test Pilots School, South Africa.
The fleet was hugely impressive and included three iconic English Electric Lightnings, the latest version of which was able to achieve a speed of Mach2 (2156 km/h), in level flight. There were also 3 Backburn Buccaneers, 7 Hawker Hunters, 1 BAC Strikemaster, 1 Puma helicopter and a Gloster Javelin.
And it was no museum. Except for the Gloster, all of them were restored and ready for take-off.
Mike flew one of the Hunters out from England himself, after clinching the deal there. They were all available for flights – aerobatic and other – and his customers included folk like Sir Richard Branson, as well as a selection of the more adventurous among the world’s rich and famous.
My most vivid memory of MBH was a call I made to him after we’d had a gentle, but highly successful low level flypast by a WW2 Avro Shackleton bomber during a regional race meeting. Hoping to better that at the high profile national event that was next on the calendar, I called Mike to ask if he would be able to help us. His reply was that the Civil Aviation guys were very strict about anything over built-up areas, and he didn’t think there was anything he could do, but he would check.
I heard no more from him.
Come race day and I was in the VIP Lounge looking out towards the ocean when I noticed a plane flying at little more than tree-top height and approaching me at what seemed a tremendous speed.
There was no sound – that was still to come.
When it got over the circuit, Mike pulled back the stick and shot straight up into the sky. This hugely impressive manoeuvre was accompanied by an unbelievable explosion of noise that sounded as if Table Mountain had just been blown up. It was truly awesome.
The plane (his brother Paul, thinks it was a Buccaneer, but at the time I was convinced it was a Lightning), then just climbed vertically into the stratosphere – and disappeared.
Although not much more than a split-second performance, it was surreal and came as a complete surprise. Now I don’t know how many people saw it, but to this day it remains the most incredible single incident I have ever been privy to at Killarney.
Mike is survived by his wife Jane and three sons.