What’s wrong with SA motorsport? That’s the question posed by Roger McLeery, who finds many reasons why there should be concerns about the sport, in the December issue of the top selling CAR magazine.
Looking at the broader picture, McLeery investigates the promotion of international as well as national events. He tells readers that the V8 category in the WesBank Super Series is on its way out.
He also criticises the weight penalties in the Bridgestone Production Car Championship, although it can be argued that this method of handicapping was first conceived by the horse racing fraternity centuries ago where it has proved hugely successful.
Less attention is paid to local racing that is after all – or should be – one of the main reasons for the existence of any SA circuit.
Sadly, Kyalami and one or two others seem to have lost sight of this.
By contrast, Cape Town’s home base for petrol heads, Killarney, remains the only major motorsport facility that is controlled by a club for the benefit of its members.
The CAR magazine article includes an interesting comparison of the country’s eight circuits.
Here Killarney receives an accolade for being well run and actually tops the list for the way it is promoted.
The Western Province Motor Club is also judged to be the richest club in the country. This should prove particularly satisfying to senior members who will recall the time in the mid 1960s when they helped with a rescue operation that saved it from insolvency.
In this respect there was a period when the complex could have been compared to an ageing, but still proud lady of aristocratic birth but limited means, whose haute couture had become a trifle frayed around the edges.
Fortunately that is all in the past and the Killarney of today has been revitalised, with still more improvements in the planning stages.
But what of the future?
McLeery emphasises the value of the facilities needed to make any event enjoyable for spectators.
And here, despite its age, Killarney again stands out in comparison with all the others.
Because while East London is undoubtedly a drivers’ circuit, the Cape track is more spectator friendly as it doubles back on itself and offers different views of the action from almost any vantage point.
There is no shortage of grandstand seating, while cars can be parked up against the perimeter fence in other areas.
More trees have been planted and a new picnic/braai facility was recently opened opposite the original pit complex.
And for those desirous of even more comfort, the spacious clubhouse includes a pub with a view.
Ten regional meetings a year cater for a variety of cars and motorcycles, with a class system that ensures an equal chance for everyone.
But while the glory belongs to the fastest and most accomplished drivers and riders, more often than not the overall championships are claimed by the consistent grafters in the lower classes.
Although Killarney hosted two Formula 1 races in days long gone, the club has no current world championship aspirations and is well satisfied with its one annual international meeting, a weekend of historic racing that is scheduled to take place again on February 4 and February 5 next year.