Basil Read Pre-1974 ISP and Pre-1974 Trans-Am - Photograph by Deon Venter

Pretoria’s Zwartkops Raceway hosts its Passion for Speed event this weekend, a two-day international racing festival that will see have more than 450 cars and motorcycles in action.

Embracing the golden age of motoring, legendary machines and men from yesteryear will compete in several sprint races and endurance events for two and four-wheelers.

One of the highlights on Saturday will be Sarel van der Merwe, multiple South African rally and saloon-car champion, teaming up with multiple touring-car champion Michael Briggs in the International SA Tourist Trophy for Pre-1966/68 Le Mans Sports & GT Grand Touring Cars Series.


The two will share a red Ford Daytona Coupé in the 45-minute event - which includes a compulsory pit stop - and will be up against a local and international line-up of racers from afar afield as the Netherlands and Sweden. The field will be dominated by Ford GT40s and Cobras, with a sprinkling of Chevs, Lolas, Lotuses and GSM Darts.

Van der Merwe will also be racing a big red Ford Galaxie in the Legends of the 9 Hour race, featuring production street fighters of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

He will have no easy time of it against respected opposition such as Hennie Groenewald in a Plymouth Fury and Jaki Scheckter in a Mario Andretti Nascar Ford Galaxie replica.


Saturday’s action, which starts at 7.30am, will also include races for Classic Marque Cars, Pre-1974 International Sports Racing Prototypes, Pre-1966 ‘Little Giants’ Legends of the 9 Hour, Extreme Supercars, Isle of Man Motorcycles, and Historic Single Seaters featuring Grand Prix cars of the ‘50s and ‘60s among others. There will also be special parades for Gunston, 50 years of Mustang and a tribute to South African ingenuity.

Entry is R140 for adults, R80 for students, and free for children under 12, and are available from Computicket or online from


On Sunday the historic motorcycles have their turn in the Day of the Champions event starting at 9am. There will be several races for classic two-wheelers, led by the Legends of the TT featuring bikes that starred in the Isle of Man TT in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Also on the programme are Boxer Cup, Historic Motorcycles, and 50cc heritage challenge races .

British bikemaker Norton Motorcycles will send a selection of famous Norton race bikes to the event, to commemorate South Africa playing a unique part in the history of the marque, with famous Norton riders including Jim Redman, the late Gary Hocking, and Paddy Driver.

Norton is now back in South Africa and Sunday’s event will showcase the latest V4 racer along with a full range of new twin-cylinder models.

Entry to Sunday’s Day of the Champions for motorcycles is R60 per adult, R40 for students and free for under-12s, with tickets available at the gate.