British rider Ian Simpson is a former winner of the SA TT series. Picture: Dave Abrahams

Cape Town - It’s no secret that the first meeting of the year, the annual Passion for Speed international historical racing festival on the first Saturday in February, is one of the best attended on the Killarney calendar.

It’s not hard to see why. For an entire generation of riders who came of age at the beginning of the superbike era, when big twins from Ducati, MotoGuzzi and Norton vied with the Triumph/BSA triples and the big Japanese fours, when hairtrigger two-strokes screamed their way into the Grand Prix record books and the Japanese giants were bringing out new models twice a year, it truly was a golden age.

Forty years later, it’s easy to see past their primitive suspension and dodgy electrics, to understand how they changed motorcycling forever and to salute the brave men (and women!) who raced them – and still do.

Because the SA TT series is real racing, at international level, open to motorcycles made before 1986. Expect to names such as Brian Ellard on a Yamaha FZ750, Gordon Grigor (Suzuki Wes Cooley replica), British rider Ian Simpson, a former winner of this series, on a Suzuki XR69, the endurance-racing forerunner of the GSX-R series, former SA Superbike champion Graeme van Breda (Suzuki GSX-R750) Jason Joshua ion a Suzuki Katana, Carl Tiffany (Honda CBR400 ‘Baby Blade’) and Gary Edwards, also on a Katana, among the front-runners.

Parading in a hurry

The Historic Motorcycle Groups parades (and it’s astonishing how fast some of these older riders are prepared to parade on bikes half a century old) should include David Barson on a Greeves Oulton, Mike Cox’s Ducati 860GT, Terry Barson on a Manx Norton, Dion de Beer (Royal Enfield), Tommy Schoeman on a BSA Rocket 3), Derek Lockwood’s Norton Commando and Len Phelps, on his Triumph Bonneville.

Racing starts at 10am on Saturday 4 February and there will be two outings for each class of classic race bikes.

Footage from the 2016 Passion for speed meeting by Cosmic Surfer.

IOL Motoring

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