Cracking racing and a cool new HRSA initiative
This weekend sees Historic Racing South Africa’s 2020 championships kicking off in spectacular style when the Pre-1990 Sports and GTs, Universal Healthcare Pre-’81 Historic Saloons and the Charlies Superspar HRCR Pursuit series join the ever-popular Passion for Speed races at Zwartkops Saturday 1 February. Not only does each class offer a cracking entry including a few international and special guest entries, but the HRCR will also roll out a splendid new Historic City initiative to attract fans to all its championship races through the forthcoming 2020 season.
The new Historic City initiative for HRSA members commences from the Passion for Speed races and includes a dedicated paddock and pit area, the benefit of a convenient private grandstand, refreshment marquee and entertainment area at the track. A first for historic racing in South Africa, an Historic City will be established at every race on the Inland and Historic racing calendar — sounds lie a damn good reason to join HRSA – visit www.historicracing.co.za for more info in this great historic racing initiative.
Genuine Le Mans GT40s
Getting on with the weekend’s races, the HRCR Pre-’90 Sports & GT series is privileged to be joined by a few overseas drivers pedalling some very special original race cars, including Swedes Janne Kling and Kennet Persson’s priceless 1965 Ford GT40s just like those that won Le Mans ’66, along with Briton Russel Fear’s 1965 Lola T70 lining up against a few SA entries for faithful recreation cars. Those include Lola T70s for veteran SA race heroes Larry Wilford and Neil Lobb, Jonathan du Toit’s supremely quick 1969 Chevron B8 and rapid Porsche 911 RSR duo Keegan Campos and Richard Schuhardt.
Class B is just as iconic, headed by Bailey Porsche 917 trio Peter Bailey himself, Oliver Dalais and John Beaumont, with Colin Ellison’s ’71 Chevron B19 and Swede Brent Andersson’s 69 Lola 212 in hot pursuit and fending off Peter van der Spuy and Richard de Roos’ Porsche 911 RSRs, just as it was in those ‘70s Kyalami 9-Hour races.
James Dalais (Ford GT40) will have his hands full in Class C with Porsche gang, George Avvucadmides, Andre van der Merwe, Brian Algar, Johan de Bruyn and Richard Pott’s 911s and Michelle Hambly-Grobler’s 90 944T snapping at his heels. There will also be a few Trans Am entries in that race for Hennie Groenewald (1970 Chev Camaro), Arnold Neveling (’82 Nissan Skyline), JWA de la Porte and Phillip Pantazis’ Datsun 240Zs, Glen Loxton (1970 Alfa GTAM) and Franco Donadio (Ford Escort).
Moving on to the Universal Healthcare Pre-81 Historic Saloon Cars, Zwartkops’ Passion for Speed races have drawn just as spectacular an entry topped by a few special appearances and including the regular HRSA mob commencing their fresh championship year. A V8-rich added attraction comes in the form of Willie Hepburn and East London racer Darren Gudmanz’s 1972 Ford Capri Peranas, more EP visitors in Rudolf de Vos and Derek Boy’s ’73 ‘Little Chev’ Can-Ams, Nick Sheward’s ’84 Ford Sierra XR8, Miguel Ribeiro’s ’71 Alfa Romeo GTAM, PE visitor Christopher Radloff (’74 Toyota Corona) and Grant McCleery back at the wheel of an Opel Superboss.
The more serious stuff goes down between HRCR Pre-’81 regulars chasing to dethrone 2019 champion, Class F racer Sean Hepburn and his nimble ’75 HiQ Midrand Datsun 1200 Deluxe. Sean and his Class F rivals Stewart McLarty’s ex-Don Bruins Mazda 323, Cindy Evans-Finney in a Renault R8 like her dad Brian raced, Marco Verwey’s ’75 Datsun GTX Coupe, Kirsten Venter (1968 Escort) and Cor Kraamwinkel (’69 BMW 2002), and unlikely Class G rivals, Mike O’Sullivan’s 72 Chev SS and Riaan de Ru (’55 Ford Perfect) will dice towards the back of the field, while the Class C and D action entertains up front.
Seef Fourie Jr.’s wailing ’69 Mazda R100 will have Jannie van Rooyen’s rudely rapid ’76 VW Scirocco and Phillip Pantazis ’76 Datsun 240Z to deal with in Class C, while Marius Verwey in another ’69 R100 and Stuart Konig (Scirocco) will have ‘72 Ford Capri duo Frank Davis and Johann Barnard, Mario Rossi (’84 Alfa GTV6) and Seef Fourie Sr. (’79 Datsun 140Z) to deal with in Class D. Class E is also interesting with Ian Kilburn’s ’72 Datsun GX Coupe having to deal with Andre Ten Napel’s 76 Scirocco, Neil Lobb and Paulo Lopes’ Fiat 131s, Keegan Ward, Ryan Budd, Daniel Lotter and Rene Janse van Rensburg’s Ford Escorts, Mike Rudolf’s ’68 Ford Cortina, Carlos Lapace (’92 BMW 325iS), Regard van Zyl (’76 Alfa Alfetta) and Lourens van Zyl (’74 Alfa Berlina).
A secret treasure of any historic race weekend has to be the Charlies Superspar Pursuit races. More easily described as a reverse race, every car starts individually on its handicap time, with each car’s time designed to see all cars reach the finish at the same time in a spectacular concertina race to the line.
In the Trophy class, 2019 champion Wernher Hartzenberg has swapped his trusty 928 for a 1968 Porsche 916 this year and he’s set to take on Tim Abbot’s similar ’68 914/6 and Datsun-Nissan trio, Kola de Klerk (’83 300ZX), Kobus Brits’ ’72 SSS and danger man Sean Hepburn’s ’75 1200 Deluxe at Saturday’s season and championship opener. Add Rob Wood (1970 Ford Escort), Duane Aslett (74 Audi Coupé S), Gavin Spiller (’83 Rover V8) and MG quartet, Warrick Eva’s ’59 A, William Kelly (1970 Midget) and Rikus and Les McLeod’s MGBs and you are assured of a mighty dice to the line.
It’s just as hectic in the Fines class, where Pursuit Nissan stalwarts Frans Venter (’86 280ZX) and Michelle Smith (’87 Skyline) will face off against Porsche trio, 944 pair Brad Schafer and Wynand du Plessis Sr. and Althea Pretorius (’81 924), Henk de Klerk’s 1993 Honda Civic and Robert Clark back in action in his listing Sarel van der Merwe tribute 1979 Citroen GS 1220 Club. Added variety will come from Willem van Niekerk’s SA-made 1974 Marauder MK3, Tiaan Vermeulen’s ’82 Rover SDI and Wynand du Plessis Jr. (’93 Toyota MR2).
Race fans can expect a fantastic day of Passion for Speed racing at Zwartkops with a spectacular and action packed track program also including a classic F1-rich Historic Single Seater field and a variety of Zwartkops historic classes including the Legends of the 9-Hour, Le Mans and TT sports, GT and saloon car races and contemporary Extreme and V8 supercars, BMW Club, as well as Kawasaki ZX-10R Masters, SuperBike and Challenge motorcycles. That’s all complimented by an off track carnival in one of the coolest race days of the year. Find Zwartkops on the R55 near Laudium in Pretoria West.