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Old hands give some F1 advice to young Stuwie

Opinion
Two burly men and a promising motor-racing prospect pushed the three high-octane racing cars to safety, while another gentleman with a paunch, as well as ah brandy and coke in the hand and cigarette in the mouth, blocked the entrance.

It was a fitting end to an evening of Free State hospitality at the Zwartkops Raceway outside Pretoria.

The love for fast cars runs deep, but it pales in comparison to the fondness the men have for the lanky 15-year-old Stuart ‘Stuwie’ White.

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Ockert de Villiers.

The evening was for the benefit of the young racer, who hopes to one day move up to F1 from the Autosport French F4 Championship, where he is currently competing.

Consisting of seven rounds, White has already earned two third-place finishes over the first three legs.

Sports functions often lack authenticity as PR and marketing types reduce events to stale carbon copies.

It seems like the support crew for Stuwie’s fundraiser were imported from the Free State as the young vellies-wearing men doubled up as barmen and stage crew.

At the entrance, former world F1 champion Damon Hill’s Jordan Formula One car serves as a reminder of Stuwie’s ultimate goal, while oversized men squeeze into cramped racing vehicles, reminding them of leaner days.

Stuwie’s father, David White, who is well-known in South African racing circles, played a key role in the catering on the evening. The krummelpap was a dead giveaway that the food may have crossed into Gauteng from the Free State.

It is the human element that is often lost once aspiring youngsters have realised their dream of becoming pro athletes.

Stuwie, his family and friends represent the authenticity of a dream, and the passion that drives our pursuit for something greater.

As David White can attest, reaching for one’s dreams often requires sacrifice from you as a person, but also one’s loved ones.

White has sold his collection of vintage cars, including a 1928 Chevrolet Cabriolet and a 1937 Mercedes-Benz V170, to help fund the family’s collective dream of seeing Stuwie reach the pinnacle of his sport.

“The cars are nice to have and nice to look at, but it is not memories. Tomorrow I can crash into a pole, and what do I have left,” White said.

“Now I have all the memories, the experience of doing everything possible to give my laaitie an opportunity to etch out a career in motorsport, which is one of the most difficult sports to break into.”

White admits it is not only about reaching the goal, but soaking up the experience and creating the memories.

“The journey to get there is equally exciting, I can tell you stories..."

Saturday Star

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