date: 7 February 2015 | Words: Alex Finlay | Photos: Nishaam Ebrahim,
J & Alex Finlay
Killarney International Raceway.
My usual trip to Killarney
International Raceway usually involves waking up and pulling my
Japanese drift machine out from its slumber; laden with additional
wheels for a session of tyre slaying with my equally drift-crazy
friends - Grassroots Drifters Cape Town… However this trip
An early wake up and stepping outside to be greeted to one of
those breathless Cape Town days (on those rare occasions where
the cape doctor sleeps in), today was race day, but not your usual
It was Historical Race Day. An ultimate throw-back if you will
- to your insane, fuel guzzling and unrestricted beasts; produced
before the technological hype; allowed to be pushed to their limits
on track – providing the old race fans with a reminder of
the races they used to watch and showing the new generation of
race fans where today’s racing developed from.
These were machines where drivers were the only entities controlling
the vehicle’s movements, the real cowboys came out to play.
This was an audio-visual museum for a petrol head.
I remember Speedhunters.com running a carburettor themed feature
series a few weeks ago, something that Mike Garrett said rang
true with me, “carburettors represent everything we love
about automobiles.” They’re simple and make the best
sound (Those in attendance at Passion for Speed will be able to
vouch for the brilliant sounding vehicles screaming around the
track), no top end computers controlling the air fuel ratio, mechanical
adjustments make the difference with the tuning of a carb being
an art that’s slowly disappearing.
And boy – oh- boy were there loads of carburettor equipped
machines at passion for speed!
My dad, younger brother and I arrived early and got our spot set
up on the inside of turn one, the cool sunscreen was applied and
the camp chairs set out as creature comforts to help us in enduring
the African sun while watching each race.
During the warm up lap early on in the day, I heard the distinct
sound of a flat six growling with a turbo spooling, the symphony
was emanating from a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Turbo. The unmistakable
911 shape was finished in eye catching silver with the iconic
Martini Racing livery just completing the package.
Seeing and hearing this air-cooled, boosted flat 6 going into
boost was an unexplainable experience, it needed to be lived first
One understands why Porsche is the most successful racing marques
in the world after you’ve seen some of their flagship race
vehicles being pushed around the track, every one of their platforms
just seem to corner on rails. Some of my friends commented on
this car and called it the “Braai grid” due to the
huge flames it was throwing out the exhaust on entrance into Malmesbury,
with the orange glow being reflected by the polished rear panel
with louvers, reminding them of the good old South African braai.
While on the subject of Porsche, a couple of 917 replicas had
made their way to Cape Town. A black 917 replica had confused
me at first due to the addition of an aftermarket- type wing,
an estimated guess that it was added for some additional down-
force to increase the rear grip. Its sound track was amazing,
with what sounded like a v8 growl emitting from twin pipes angled
out the rear.
The second 917 spotted was a Bailey Edwards replica, sporting
Martini colours but was parked in the pits and never made it to
the track on race day. She was running a turbo Porsche engine
package with the snail sitting far back. These Bailey Edwards
replicas are stunning and allow you the opportunity of owning
some machines that are priceless in their original guise, as well
as having an updated package using newer manufacturing processes
like CNC machining and laser cut parts, allowing you to go out
and push it on the track.
One car that was an original came in the form of a hardtop Porsche
356A. It wasn’t the fastest of cars out on track…
with a similar chassis design to the Beetle and the small 4 pot
boxer trying to power it along, but that bolus and streamlined
shape just looked at home on the track. (I’m a sucker for
aircooled Porsche’s too!) I must pay big respects to the
owner for racing this car among much faster machines. I even spotted
some battle damage on the left side from wheel –to- wheel
race rubbing while exploring it more closely in the pits. Rad!
The Lindenberg Racing camp had pulled a strong showing with their
Blue and white liveried Lazarus Ford sponsored vehicles with a
performance in almost each class. The Ford GT40 replica and the
Shelby Daytona looked especially menacing on track.
A slight bit of drama occurred during the 45minute endurance race
where the Daytona being driven by Peter Lindenberg at the time
lost its rear wheel at the braking zone coming into turn one,
this resulted in a crash at the end of the main straight with
no further hopes of competing using the car. Luckily no serious
injuries of the driver or spectators occurred during this incident
as a bouncing and flying wheel hurtling at speed is as dangerous
as it gets.
During the aforementioned 45 minute race, a huge battle ensued
for 1st and 2nd place between the GT40 (of the Lindenberg racing
stable) and The Walls Ice-cream liveried Lola T70 Spyder replica
(of Bailey Edwards motors.) These two cars were going balls –to-
the- wall throughout the race and a strategically timed pit stop
by the Lindenberg team placed them ahead of the flying T70 , eventually
resulting in the GT40 winning the race with the T70 right behind.
Pit lane banter was at an all-time high (as with all motorsports)
and we managed to spot this while on our traditional pit walk
during lunch time. The single-seater Lotus had been parked up
outside and I hadn’t seen it running on the track at all,
one lovely competitor/pit crew member took it upon themselves
to duct tape a baked roll to the back of the car with a caption
of : “The Baker Fast Late Delivery.” The conclusion
I came up with is that the owner is a baker and his car suffered
mechanical failure… at least people still find humour in
I think the most talked about car on track was the pace car kindly
provided by Crossley & Webb, a Morgan 3-wheeler. If you can
imagine a WW2 spitfire…but land bound with wheels, that’s
what the Morgan 3-wheeler reminded me of.
It was finished in a green hue better associated with military
vehicles with its V-twin motor mounted as far forward as possible,
it just seemed to go against all things that are usually associated
with automobiles, and I guess that’s what made it inherently
cool, it just went completely against the grain (see what I did
there… we all know Morgan has used wood in their chassis
construction for years.)
The iconic Gunston Orange Ford Capri Perana stuck out like a sore
thumb to me, as I had received an old Gunston racing poster from
my grandfather during my childhood with the same liveried Capri
Perana. This poster was a celebration of The Perana setting the
lap record at Kyalami in January of 1970 while piloted by Bob
Oltoff. The V8 lump from Ford Racing was immaculately laid out
and stopping power was provided by Willwood calipers all round.
Earlier my dad and I joked that all the “sin substances”
helped support racing with the abundance of liveries with cigarette
and alcohol advertising... Aaah the good old days!
It’s always good seeing SuperVan (Sarel van der Merwe) out
on track in his tank of a Ford Galaxie and watching him skilfully
manoeuvre the hefty lump around the track still is a sight to
behold for me (especially at his age of 68) I really do hope I
can be driving at his pace when I’m his age! (Wishful thinking
He was getting the red tank sideways (Queue the “WOOOHOOO
DRIFTING” reaction with both of my arms in the air) as were
a few other drivers; most notable for me was the driver of a blue
and green GSM Dart getting his car over-steering with heaps of
body roll around turn one (Go little Dart gooooo!!)
I’m a total Japanese car freak, now that’s out the
way, you could just imagine how I was losing my mind seeing not
one, but two Datsun s30 240z’s out on track. These s30 brothers
are incredibly rare in South Africa and you’ve more than
likely seen the cousins, the 260z’s and 280z’s, out
on the roads in our country. Seeing two ultra-rare s30’s
racing at full tilt was an amazing experience for many race fans
(and especially my inner Japanese J-tin enthusiast).
The more competitive platform was liveried with a design hinting
to the historic BRE 240z’s (that most Nissan fans will be
familiar with.) I just loved the way this car looked on track
with its pop riveted over fenders and the Watanabe racing wheels
completing the nostalgic racing look.
The red 240z was running this amazing Nissan 6 pot lump, which
looked like a L24 motor. The engine bay was spotlessly completed
(just like the rest of this build as I later learned while making
my way through the entire vehicle) - and who doesn’t love
AN Connectors on the fuel lines … soooo pretty!
Newer race cars were also added to the event roster with the likes
of Jaki Scheckter racing a Ferrari F430 and other standouts included
a track tuned Lotus Exige and a stripped out white, race Mustang.
A special mention needs to go to the driver of the yellow Lotus
Exige, Dawie Joubert, who in the last race of the day, found himself
in last place after two corners of the first lap, but displayed
some amazing driving with flying pace, pulling 1:16’s through
the traffic to eventually place 3rd overall.
Although the Pièce de résistance of the event was
the parade lap of the former Formula 1 and Formula 2 cars of the
Franschhoek Motor Museum collection. The standout here was the
genuine Tyrrell 007 that competed in the second half of the 1974
Formula 1 season. This car was originally piloted back in the
day by Jody Scheckter, but now saw Ian Scheckter driving it around
Killarney and the sheer width and outright pace of the old F1
car was absolutely astounding.
Who doesn’t love the sound of an old F1 car… remember
no noise restrictions and a well-tuned Ford Cosworth V8 –
recipe for automotive audio porn! I’ll let the pictures
speak for themselves, it was a beautiful machine!
The Gunston liveried car of the Zimbabwean racing legend John
Love was also making its way around the track during the parade
lap, having seen this car static at the museum a few months ago
it was really interesting seeing it flexing its muscle around
the track for the benefit of the race fans in attendance .
Once again Passion for Speed lived up to my ever present expectations
from past attendances at the classic racing for most of my childhood
(thanks dad for introducing me to this amazing fuel filled passion
and taking me to my first classic car race meeting as a 6 year
Guess we’ll just have to wait for next year’s meeting
and hope that even more vehicles are in attendance!