19th annual Passion for Speed by G-Energy took place on Saturday 8 February at Killarney International Raceway.
Spectators were treated to a day of superb racing, dramatic finishes, and incomparable automotive history, some of it by cars that, had they been human, would have been classed as pensioners.
The true aristocrats among them were the Historic Grand Prix Cars, original Formula 1 racers from the golden era before the advent of the all-conquering three-liter Cosworth Ford DFV V8. They ranged from Christian Dumoulin’s iconic 1954 Maserati 250F to the 1964 Brabham BT11 of John Romano, powered by a shrieking 1500cc Coventry Climax V8.
For all that these irreplaceable cars are valued in the tens of millions of Rand, the HGPCA races were no demonstration parades. They were serious, with close dices throughout the field.
Much to the spectators’ delight, the closest battle in both races was for the lead, between Will Nuthall’s 1960 Cooper T53 and Andrew Beaumont in a 1961 Lotus 18.
Beaumont had a big moment on lap two of Race 1 and dropped back to fourth behind Nuthall, Rod Jolley (1958 Cooper T45/51) and Chris Drake (1964 Cooper T71/73), but made a stirring comeback to post the fastest lap of the race (1min10.706sec) and close to within 2.7 seconds of Nuthall at the flag.
He made no such mistake in Race 2, passing Nuthall for the lead on lap three and holding off a determined charge by the Cooper driver (including a heroic 1min20.776sec final lap) to win by half a second, with Drake third and Steve Hart fourth in a Maserati-engined Cooper 51.
For most of the spectators, however, the main attraction was the thundering V8 Legends of the 9 Hours and Sports & GT Cars.
In an eight-lap prologue to the headline 45-minute SA TT endurance race Swedish visitor Kennet Persson (Ford GT40) romped to a nine-second win over Jonathan du Toit from Gauteng (Shelby Daytona Coupe) with Janne Kling third in another Swedish GT40.
Persson went on to dominate the main event, completing 31 laps in 45 minutes. He ran second to the Lola T212 of Bernt Andersson and Michael Kernick in the early stages, dropped to as low as fourth in the middle part of the race as Colin Ellison from Gauteng (Chevron B19) held a tenuous lead, before charging to the front on lap 25 and walking away to win by almost a lap from Ellison and Herman von Putten (Corvette Stingray).
Von Putten misjudged his fuel consumption and ran out of petrol on the final lap, but he was two laps ahead of fourth-placed Christer Pernvell’s Porsche 911 and the ‘Vette managed to coast across the line in third!
The Legends of the 9 Hour cars ran together with the Regional BeJo Trustees Fine Cars, producing an impressive field of 29 cars and two hugely entertaining races. Peter Lindenberg took both races in his Shelby Mustang, winning Race 1 from Colin Ellison’s Ford Thunderbolt by just 1.098sec, with Jonathan du Toit from Gauteng third in a Chev Nova and local hero Erik Mouton fourth in his Chev De Ville.
Ellison didn’t come out for Race 2, handing the win to Lindenberg on a platter, with du Toit second and his brother Mark third in a Ford Fairlane, followed home by Trevor Tuck in an indecently quick two-liter Alfa Giulia and the irrepressible Von Putten.
Photos by David Marchio
Nobody had an answer for Rudolf de Vos and his hugely powerful Chev Can-Am in the Millstock Cars and Classic Pre 80 Invitation races. He roared off to win Race 1 by 13 seconds from Eric van der Merwe’s Lynx Porsche 944T, Trevor Momberg’s Suburban Spares Capri and Robin Forbes in a Corvette Stingray.
Race 2 was very much closer, however. Van der Merwe knocked a second off his lap times and closed to within 1.563sec of the Can-Am at the flag, ahead of Jaco Lambert (Volkswagen Jetta), Mouton’s De Ville and Momberg in the Capri.
Much the same happened in the modern-day Sports & GT race, run together with the Pre-74 Sports Prototypes and Pre-66/68 Le Mans categories, where Craig Jarvis and the Maui Motorhomes Ginetta G57 were in a class of their own.
The Maui G57 holds the ultimate lap record at every circuit where it has competed and is generally acknowledged to be the fastest racing car in South Africa.
Jarvis won Race 1 by an emphatic 36 seconds from Steve Humble in a Pilbeam, with Durban’s Greg Parton third in a Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Race 2 turned out to be a whole lot more exciting, however, as Dawie Joubert went more than four seconds a lap quicker than in the morning, finishing nine seconds adrift of the 6.2-liter Chev-powered Ginetta in his 2.5-liter Lotus Exige, with Franco Scribante third, just three seconds further back, in his Porsche 997.
The 1960/70/80’s Single Seater races belonged to the two Richards, Smeeton (Ford Walner) and Wilson (Brabham BT6) who finished first and second in both outings after two splendid dices. They were followed home on both occasions by Matt Nash (Van Diemen RF81) and Marcus Pye’s Merlyn Mk20.
Photos by David Marchio
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