Killarney is going to be taking a step back in time when it hosts Saturday’s round of the international Passion for Speed series – and it’s a season opener that promises close and exciting racing coupled to a selection of magnificent motorsport memories.
But although the selection of historic car and motorcycle entries will evoke nostalgic memories of an era now long gone – when visiting stars like David Piper and Paul Hawkins were commanding the headlines — Saturday’s far greater variety of models is certain to provide its own unique attraction.
With three Formula 1 cars of the 1.5 litre era among the historic single seater entries, these events in particular are certain to command a great deal of attention. Topping the list is a classic BRM V8 in the hands of English driver Andrew Wareing who will probably start alongside fellow Briton, Alan Baillie, in his similarly BRM V8 powered Lotus 24. And with the driver’s seat of the 24 having previously been occupied by Jack Brabham and Syd van der Vyver, Baillie will be adding his name to a proud line of succession.
The third car is the late Peter de Klerk’s famous Alfa Special, now with Pat Dunseith at the wheel. A South African built open wheeler, it attracted world attention when De Klerk finished third and was only beaten by the factory entered Ferraris of world champion John Surtees and Lorenzo Bandini, during the 1963 Rand Grand Prix at Kyalami.
Behind them, but certain to add to the waves of sentiment, are a pair of vintage front engined, rear wheel drive, MG “Specials” of the type that used to dominate national events in South Africa during the 1950’s. There’s even going to be an extremely rare 750cc Climax powered, wind cheating Lotus 11 that is being driven by Di Dugmore.
The pre-77 Classic car entry list features local favourites like Dave Kopke (Mazda R100), Charles Arton (Datsun 240Z) and Trevor Momberg in his indecently quick V6 Capri. However it is going to be interesting to see how they fare against a pair of visiting British E-type Jaguars in the hands of Chris O’Neill and Richard Wilson.
Other pairings are going to include a couple of 7-litre Ford Galaxies occupied by a maturing Sarel van der Merwe and Holland’s super-quick Karel van Maarschalkerwaarts. Of course, Pretoria’s Chev mounted du Toit’s are brothers, while the Lindenberg’s — Peter (Shelby Daytona) and Paige (Ford Fairlane), are father and daughter.
The Ford oval will be particularly well represented by a variety of model names like Mustang, Shelby, Daytona, GT40, Capri, Cortina — and even Escort and Anglia. However the General Motors threat posed by the impressive Erik Mouton in his monster Chev de Ville V8, could just surprise them all.
The International Classic TT Superbike events are dominated by Suzuki entries. Starting with the big GSXR’s, there is little to choose between Noel Haarhoff, Ian Pinkerton, Adrian Gibbon, Mike Alborough and Robbie Breakspear. This could be a close one.
But that’s not all. There is also a variety of family entertainment — and here the ladies can look forward to being well cared for at the clubhouse, while the pedal karts are always a first stop for the youngsters. For those who prefer to wander, the new spectator facilities along the outside of the rallycross circuit are available at no extra charge.
The first race is due off after the final qualifying sessions at 10.00. Admission is R100 for adults and R40 for scholars under 16. However there is no charge for kiddies under 12.