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Classic-car heaven heads for Killarney

After his victory at Zwartkops last weekend, Sarel van der Merwe is aiming for a repeat performance in his monster Galaxie, at Killarney on Saturday.

After his victory at Zwartkops last weekend, Sarel van der Merwe is aiming for a repeat performance in his monster Galaxie, at Killarney on Saturday.

Published Feb 4, 2016


Lee McGeorge

WITH A full day of top class international racing, highlighted by the opening events in the long-awaited Formula Junior Diamond Jubilee World Series, this Saturday’s Passion for Speed meeting at Killarney should have more than enough for any motorsport enthusiast.

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Among the best of them could be the Historic races for pre-66 Production Cars and Little Giants. However, this title is a misnomer. The category is actually loaded with Big Giants headed by Sarel van der Merwe in his monster 7-litre Ford Galaxie. The evergreen SuperVan is going to be fighting it out with the similar Galaxies of Ferdi van Niekerk Jnr and top Dutch driver Michael Campagne. Chevrolet will be represented by Gauteng’s Mark and Jonathan du Toit in their Bel Air and Nova V8s while Jacques Mouton has entered his deceptively quick 5.8-litre Studebaker Silver Hawk. A 5.7-litre Ford Fairlane is being urged on by Mark Uytenbogaardt with Ferdi van Niekerk Snr’s Porsche 356 lining up as the smallest car on the grid.

Van der Merwe emerged victorious after the first round at Zwartkops last week.

The heavy metal is going to feature in other categories as well, notably those for Historic Le Mans/ Sebring Sports and GT cars. Here, two of the magnificent Lola T70 V8 sports-racing cars that used to thrill Killarney crowds in the days of Doug Serrurier, Jackie Pretorius and that outrageous Aussie, Paul Hawkins, will be seen in the hands of Mark Lauth and Mark du Toit. Their opposition includes a Ford Daytona coupé driven by Jonathan du Toit, the redoubtable Larry Wilford (Ford GT40) and a pair of Shelby Daytonas driven by Peter Lindenberg and Djurk Venter.

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American V8 fans can look forward to even more of their favourite motive power in the pre-77 Classic and Invitation events. Watch out for the ebullient Robbie Smith in this one. Still one of South Africa’s greatest stunt drivers, he should be near the front in his Capri V8. However, he is going to be up against the likes of Djurk Venter (Capri Perana V8) and Erik Mouton (6.3-litre Chev de Ville), as well as Peter Lindenberg and Mark Uytenbogaardt in a pair of potent Ford Fairlane V8s.

The modern era is being represented by the high-speed Extreme Supercars. In this one the fastest Kaapenaars include Craig Jarvis in his brutal V10. 8.4-litre Dodge Viper, Paul Beachy Head’s magnificent R8 Audi and Junais Slamang (BMW E46).

They will be up against Highveld raiders like Willem van der Westhuizen (Ferrari F430), Gianni Giannoccaro (BMW CSL GT) and Ricky Giannoccaro (BMW M3 GTR). It should be a close one.

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However, the largest entry belongs to the pre-77 Classic and Invitation Cars. Front runners here are likely to include Robbie Smith (again), as well as Mike Schmidt in another Capri V8. Then there’s Richard Quixley (Datsun 240Z), Dave Kopke (Mazda R100) and Chris Carolin (Mazda Capella).

Motorcycle fans will have plenty to witness as well, with Classic TT and Vintage Superbike races and parades by historic race machinery. British enthusiast Alan Walker will be bringing his Ducati Desmosedici MotoGP machine to lead the parade of race bikes. It’s rumoured that he will hand the bike over to seven times Isle of Man TT winner Mick Grant for an attempt not only on the motorcycle lap record for Killarney, but also the ultimate lap record for this circuit.

With spectators able to gain access from 7am, the clubhouse will be serving breakfast soon afterwards. It will then remain open until late evening.

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Other attractions include items of motoring memorabilia on the clubhouse lawn, with drum majorettes due to parade on the track during the lunch break.

Admission is R90 for adults and R40 for scholars under 16. There is no charge for kiddies under 12.

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