Classic Festival - Passion for Speed Killarney

Passion for Speed cannot be illustrated more eloquently than by having both man and machine present their unique era of motorsport to an appreciative crowd of  enthusiasts in perfect weather conditions at Killarney, nestled at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain.

And for the first time in many a year the presence of a healthy amount of spectators set the scene for a magical trip down memory lane as men and machines were prepared for action.

Initially the entry lists did not hold much reason for excitement as some key names and vehicles were absent from the South African contingent and the international side certainly did not include any “never before seen” elements. Fortunately this did not have any negative effects as there were a number of pleasant surprises amongst the late arrivals and everyone present brought their A game!
The presence of four very South African single seaters from the Franschhoek Motor Museum started the buzz on Friday. The fact that they were there to be viewed and warmed-up to the joy of many an elderly ear left one with an air of anticipation as they would be completing two sets of demonstration runs Saturday.

Charles Arton added to this special atmosphere when he broke his ex-Derek Daly Formula Atlantic March 79B out of it’s American crate, completed three shakedown laps before parking his new steed amongst the FMM quartet which just happened to include the 1974 Elf Formula One Tyrrell-Ford 007/01 of Jody Scheckter. Ian Scheckter utilised this car in the final domestic Formula One series in SA during 1975, winning the most races but finishing second to Dave Charlton in Lexington colours.

John Love drove his final race at Killarney in the Team Gunston Formula 2 Chevron B25 and it just seemed fitting that the cars of two 6x SA Drivers Champions should be present at Killarney. Ian would be driving the Tyrrell, but his championship winning Lexington Formula Atlantic March 78B was also present as was the LDS Climax of Sam Tingle who, together with John Love, made F1 history as the first sponsored F1 team in the world.

Classic Motorcycle Demonstration

Almost unnoticed the garage next to the FMM cars contained some of the most interesting classic motorcycles and riders with Paul Bolton having a field day trying to keep everyone going. In Mick Grant they have a walking talking motorcycling PR machine as this 7x Ilse of Man TT  and Moto GP legend was happy to chat to anyone about their two wheeled passion. Add to the fact that he was graciously parting with autographed copies of his Takin’ the Mick autobiography and his enthusiasm could only be described as contagious.

Move to any machine and you would more than likely find Paul Bolton fiddling on some part of it but though their English was about as useful as mine the Finnish contingent was as impressive with Tepi Lansivuori leading the pack on his rare Suzuki RG500. Jussi Hukkanen and Erkki Tapaninen making this a very special occasion for the Fins outside Europe. Tepi finished second in the Moto GP Championship as teammate to the legendary Barry Sheene whilst Errki Tapaninen were instrumental in getting the Russian F1GP on the calender.

Clive Strugnell re-invented the SATT eight years ago and is invaluable to the sport as organiser and character. Instrumental in bringing the international riders to SA the annual SATT sees the Scottish contingent facing off against an SA team and though they all tell you this is simply reliving the era – they take this very seriously once the visors are shut!

Ian and Bill Simpson lead the Scottish contingent with Stephen Maxwell and Robbie Burns as strong support. The SATT (Ilse of Man Motorcycles) presented separately from the Classic Motorcycle Parade, but then there is no such thing as a parade once they leave the pitlane. Read Sorry Officer, I Thought You Wanted to Dice by Clive Strugnell and you will quickly find your way to the superb 2015 Motorheads Diaries presented by Heide-Marie von der Au. Yes, I am a car racing supporter, but the bikers made a huge, positive, impression in 2015!

Pre 1966/68 Le Mans/ Sebring Sports & GT – SATT 

Only thirteen cars started the eight lap sprint heat and it was the Walls “Catch me and buy one” 1965 Lola T70 Spyder of Mark du Toit that dominated the opening with Lennart Bohlin second in the Kennet Persson 1965 Ford GT40. Michiel Campagne third in the blue, lightweight, 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. This not the same car as he had present in 2014 and though this may have been a more effective racer it certainly was not as spectacular. Jan Kling fourth in the second of the Swedish 1965 Ford GT40 entries and in fifth spot it was Ferdi “Heimlich Maneuvre” van Niekerk Snr in his monster Daytona Coupé. David Smithies sixth overall in what is believed to be a 1966 Chevron BMW B8 with a South African history.

Tommy Brorson had the nimble little Swedish based 1964 Lotus Elan home in seventh with the Ford GT replicas of Craig Shorter and Paul Schwartz the meat in the Swedish Lotus Elan sandwich as Lars Bondesson completed the top ten in his 1965 Lotus Elan. Sadly the 1967 Lola MkIII Coupé of Mark Lauth would go not further than lap four.

Having remained in the pits for the Sprint event it was Ross Lazarus who succeed in winning the 45min SATT with his Lazarus 1965 Ford GT40, by 0.459seconds from the Du Toit brothers Lola T70 Spyder. Peter Lindenberg looked menacing in third spot and clever tactics saw Ross slowing the lead battle in order for Lindenberg to attack the Lola, but the Lazarus 1965 Ford Daytona Coupé spectacularly parted company with it’s rear suspension going into Hoals Hoek after thirteen laps. Playing a tactical game of follow the leader the Lola simply did not have the rubber to pass the GT40.

Kennet Persson and Lennart Bohlin third in the first of the two Swedish Ford GT40 entries and in fourth the almost docile Chevrolet Corvette Stingray of Michiel Campagne. Jan Kling and Ronert Enestedt fifth in the second Swedish Ford GT40 and in sixth spot it was the thundering Daytona Coupé of Ferdi van Niekerk Snr. Thirteen cars started and nine teams were classified as finishers.
Pre 1977 Classic and Pre 1984 Invitation Cars

The Western Province contingent of the Classic Car fraternity deserves an accolade for the 50 strong entry they attracted was not only very varied and interesting their on track efforts was much appreciated too.

After a long layoff it quickly became apparent that Mark Uytenbogaardt had indeed spent the time away constructively as his very neat notchback Ford Mustang V8 was simply untouchable. Richard Quixley is no slouch in the rapid Datsun 240Z and neither is Trevor Momberg in the Ford Capri V6, but they had to be content with podium placings in heat one.

Robin Forbes, Chevrolet Corvette V8, fourth and Dave Köpke fifth in his Mazda R100 Rotary. Vance Kearney and Djurk Venter next in line with their respective Ford Capri Perana V8 entries. Charles Artonre and his Alain Lavoipierre replica BMW 530 eighth overall with Jan Driedijk ninth in his Ford Granada Perana V8. The top ten completed by Claude Williams in the ex-Kosie Swanepoel Opel Kadett. Positions eleven and twelfth going to the duelling Alfa Romeo GTA entries of Ferdi van Niekerk Jnr and Dave Alhadeff.

The second heat podium remained unchanged but the Capri of Kearney and the R100 of Dave Köpke failed to pass the chequered flag.

Ilse of Man Motorcycles and SATT

Ian Simpson was the man to beat and between Graeme van Breda and Danie “van Killarney” Maritz they had a plan to beat the Scot in Cape Town, at least they did for heat one as the first three motorcycles crossed the line as one. Going into the final lap Graeme just managed to take line honours on board of his 1987 Suzuki GSXR1100 from Ian Simpson, Suzuki GSXR750, with Danie Maritz third, also on a Suzuki GSXR 750. David Bolding home fourth on board of his Suzuki Katana with John Kosterman fifth on his Suzuki GSXR750. In fact the top ten all on Suzuki motorcycles.

Ian Simpson cleared off into the distance for heat two with Graeme van Breda and Danie Maritz forced to simply follow him home with David Bolding and John Kosterman completing the top five.

Though it was fantastic to see the names of Les van Breda, Rodney Gray and Peter Labuschagne  one can but admire the passion and perseverance of the likes of Jimmy Guthrie, Manx Norton, who still compete at age 80! In fact they have been at it for so long their favourite make of motorcycles do not even exist in the modern era.

Pre 1966 Legends of the 9 Hour Production cars & Little Giants

Spinning Mustangs and Fairlanes are something that is normally limited to 8mm black & white movies from years gone by but in the hands of Franco Scribante the Remos 1965 Ford Mustang can spin an still prove victorious in both heats of the Legends race. Drop a 1964 Trans Africa Racing Chevrolet Nova with Jonathan du Toit behind the wheel into an equation that already includes a very determined Larry Wilford, Keith Hinckley Ford Fairlane 7L, and one Sarel van der Merwe, Bob Olthoff 1963 Ford Galaxie, an the recipe delivers  nothing but action on track.

Sarel limited his actions to putting a brilliantly excuted professional foul on Larry Wilford entering turn 5 but Larry was in the process of recovering from a self inflicted off and still beat Supervan to the line. Jacques Mouton driving as hard as he could in  the Studebaker.

Ferdi van Niekerk and Dave Alhadeff continued their entertaining duel in their respective Alfa Romeo GTA replicas whilst Colin Ritchie embarrassed much bigger cars in his indecently quick 1962 Austin Mini Cooper. The ultra rare and magnificent looking all aluminium 1963 Jaguar E Type stayed out of trouble enroute to eighth overall.

Franschhoek Motor Museum Demonstration

Turning the hand of time back some 40 years it was simply awesome to see Ian Scheckter back behind the wheel of the Tyrrell-Ford 007/01 and did he give it a thorough spec check! For museum reasons one can understand why it was not rebuilt in the Lexington colours in which Ian raced this car during the False Bay 100 back in 1975 but what a treat to this combination back on track.

Wayne Harley, FMM Curator, took the Team Gunston Formula Two Chevron B25 out on track. Though John Love raced with the number 6 during his final event at Killarney just seeing the name of this legendary racer back was very nostalgic. Lorenzo Farella had the privilege to take the dominant Lexington Formula Atlantic March 78B of Ian Scheckter onto the circuit and with Charles Arton joining in with his own March 79B the ra was truly being revived.

One simply have to take a close up look at the Sam Tingle Formula One LDS Climax to appreciate the bravery of the drivers during this period of racing as safety belts was unheard of and the helmets simply kept their hair neat in cars that were extremely capable. Deon de Waal the lucky driver behind the wheel.

This is how one remembers these legendary combinations – bravo FMM!

Extreme Supercars

Remembering what was became so much more valuable when compared to what the future holds in the Extreme Supercars. Jaki Scheckter continued the tradition as the son of Ian broke free in a Morris Cranes / Pablo Clark F430 Ferrari running with the 1979 F1 championship winning number, 11, of uncle Jody making his intentions clear.

Dawie Joubert possibly the biggest surprise package on the day as the liquorice all sorts Lotus Exige was now some 200mm longer, wider and sported a 2.4 Honda Accord engine with six speed transmission. It is quick, and it’s nowhere near sorted yet! Jonathan du Toit was unbeatable in 2014 but the silver Trans Africa Ferrari F430 was simply outgunned on this occasion to finish third overall. Nicky Dicks the first Porsche home in fourth and Gary Kieswetter fifth in his Porsche GT3 RS.Oliver Dalais sixth overall in the very serious Marlboro Crane Hire Ford G. Matt Kreeve and André Brink7th an 8th for Porsche with Desmond Bloem the first BMW in ninth spot.

The top ten rounded off by the most entertaining Porsche RSR Turbo of Peter van der Spuy. Sadly Charl Arangies was forced to utilise his new Ford Mustang Grandam racer when they broke a left front wheel on the awesome Dodge Viper HCRX during practice.

Grand Prix Cars of the 50’s and 60’s

Nothing new to report in this category with respect to cars present at the track but Alan Baillie did his level best to make both heats entertaining in the Brabham BT21. Richard Smeeton drove the wheels off his Wainer to finish second overall with Chris Clarke third in his FF 1968 Ford Titan Mk4.

Pat Dunseith always entertains with determined driving in his FF 1974 Merlin Mk25 and he was followed home by Des Hillary in the ex-Trevor van Rooyen FF 1974 Dulon MPISB and Chris Wilson (UK) in his neat 1960 Cooper Maserati. Ron Liddiard seventh in his FF 1968 Lotus 51.

Dave Alexander tried a little rally X with the 1964 F1 LDS Alfa whilst Roger Lewis and the 1958 MG Hedgehog Special simply never gives up. Also great to see the Clive Wintersteijn owned Elva Porsche back in action with Koos Swanepoel Snr behind the wheel, fifty years since finishing second in the SA championship.

Pre 1974 International Sports Racing Prototypes/ Pre 1974 Trans Am

Franco Scribante was simply not in a mood to make a race of these events and simply disappeared into the distance with the Team Gunston 1974 Chevron B19, despite sounding rather rough in the second heat. Martin Coward second overall in the Harp Motorsport Mallock Mk14 with Louis de Jager third in his Lola Toyota T212 replica.

Ray Farnham fourth in his Birkin-Opel 7 and in fifth spot it was Mike Beachy-Head in the awesome Porsche 917 replica. Rui Campos had to drive his Porsche 911 RSR instead of the Martin 917 replica after engine problems on Friday. Keith Rose drove his RSR to seventh with Arno Church eighth in his FvH7 Ford.

Sadly Colin Clay could not unleash the mighty 1971 Lola T70 Coupé and even the Dirk Waaijenberg 1971 Chevron B19 failed to reach the finish.

If you missed it you probably missed one of the 2015 Killarney highlights.