This picture of Swanepoel was taken at the 2015 Passion for Speed meeting. File photo: WPMC

Cape Town - The South African motor racing fraternity – and certainly those in the Western Cape - have been shocked by the sudden passing of former South African Saloon Car Champion Koos Swanepoel (81), on Sunday 29 January.

A born and bred Kaapenaar from the northern suburbs, Oom Koos, as he was popularly known, competed in an infinite variety of saloon and sports cars during his long racing career.

But Ford was his preferred manufacturer, and nobody who saw him in his glory days during the 1960’s will forget the riveting 'North vs South' battles he had with Johannesburg’s Basil van Rooyen in a Ford Cortina and later a Ford Mustang. They attracted huge crowds to Killarney and eventually led to Swanepoel winning the inaugural South African Saloon Car title in 1964.

But there was more to him than that, and in later years he was almost equally renowned for his ability as a raconteur. So much so that Oom Koos could keep a clubhouse crowd entertained for hours with his stories about motor racing and the colourful characters involved in days now long gone.

The Western Province Motor Club will arrange a special tribute to Swanepoel at the historic Passion for Speed meeting at Killarney on Saturday.

Cape Argus

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