By: IOL Motoring Staff
Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and doorways after whom the first month of the year is named, is depicted as having two faces, one looking forward and one back into the past.
Thus it's appropriate that the first meeting of each season at Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria - and at Cape Town's Killarney circuit a week later - is the annual SA Tourist Trophy Revival international series for historical racing vehicles.
Mick Grant's touring team of former British champions and friends has been leading the overseas motorcycle contingent on this 'sunshine tour' of South Africa's race tracks for nearly a decade and this year they will be joined by Stuart Garner, the driving force behind the recent revival of the iconic Norton brand.
NORTON IS BACK!
He'll be fielding a number of famous Norton racers in the series, including the rotary-engined John Player Norton that won a British Superbike championship and for a number of years held the outright lap record at the Isle of Man TT races, the V4-engined SG1 TT racer and a selection of classic Manx singles and Commando twins.
Asked why, Garner explained: "South Africa was the breeding ground of so many famous Norton racers; riders such as Jim Redman, Gary Hocking and Paddy Driver learned their craft here - many of them on Nortons - went to Europe and successfully took on the world's best.
"We want to celebrate that, and what better way than by taking part in the SA TT Revival?"
He'll also have one each of the new Norton 900 Commando Sport and Commando Café Racer in the paddock for Britbike fans to drool over. Garner has appointed former racer Keith Zeeman as South African distributor and they'll be available locally in very limited numbers later in 2014.
DAY OF CHAMPIONS
The two-leg series will start in Gauteng at Zwartkops on Saturday 1 February, with the "Day of Champions" parade as the headline event. Yes, Cyril we know these machines are utterly irreplaceable and there is no way these gentlemen, some of them pensioners, would ever be allowed to race them - but it's astonishing how hard they will ride to ensure that they finish the allotted number of parade laps before their rivals from back in the day!
Sunday 3 February will see a full programme of classic racing and historic parades, featuring some of the most exotic Suzuki, Norton, Honda, AJS, Matchless and Ducati Grand Prix racing machines from the golden era of motorcycle racing.
Local competition will be as intense as ever; 2013 overall winner, former SA champion Les van Breda on his very rare Suzuki TR750 three-cylinder works racer will take on former Grand Prix riders such as Alan North, Mario Radameyer, Ian Scheckter, Ophie Howard, Dave Petersen, Jimmie Guthrie, Jim Redman, Kevin Hellyer and Peter Labuschagne, to name but a few.
Also riding in the parades will be more than 60 enthusiasts from the Historic Motorcycle Group.
The 2014 SA TT Revival will move to Killarney on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 February to complete the series and give Cape fans an unforgettable taste of the magic.