Last weekend – 2nd December 2017 was a really special occasion at Kyalami. Formula Ford celebrated 50 years of racing in South Africa!! Quite an achievement!!
My story goes back several months to when I was first told this was going to happen. I told a few people I would attend if I could find a car to compete in. Reg Anderson jumped in and delivered a part built Royale RP24 to me and said “It is ready to race. Just check it over and race it.” This was a really generous offer but the car needed too much work and I just did not have time to complete it. Thanks Reg for the offer – very much appreciated.
After this I told Matt Nash I would not be attending the event. He did not like that idea and about an hour later called to say he had a car for me. I was not that keen so he said he also had a sports car for me for the 1 hour endurance race. My reaction was that he was playing dirty and I told him so. That was not the end of his devious behavior – he then sent a text message to Tandy and told her what he had organized and that took all the decisions out of my hands – thanks Matt for persevering. We all had a great weekend and I would have regretted it if I had not been there.
Seeing as I had the use of one of Matt’s cars for the endurance race I called Eric Salomon who I have raced with in his car this whole year and offered him a share of the drive for the endurance race and he jumped at the opportunity.
On to the story of the weekend.
Tandy, Eric and I caught an early flight to JHB on Friday morning, collected a hire car and arrived at Kyalami at about 10.00am. All the Formula Fords were parked in the pits when we arrived and made a really impressive as well as emotional sight – about 40 old and new cars as well as a lot of people I had not seen for years including Piet who worked for me in JHB at the time I relocated to Cape Town. Piet had the car all ready to go so I jumped in and headed off for the first practice – bad news as the car had a serious misfire. This carried on for the rest of Friday, Qualifying and the first heat on Saturday. Fortunately for me Alan Grant had run bearings in his motor and was unable to take part in the racing so his car became a source of parts for me. First the carburetor – did not help! And then after the first heat the distributor – solved the problem. I had a great if not very competitive drive in the second heat and that made the whole weekend worthwhile. Thanks Alan for your generosity.
In the meantime the sports car took a bit of a backseat and the first drive I had in it was the warm at about midday on Saturday – 4 laps. Eric took on the task of practicing with it and doing the qualifying. Eric did the first half hour and we changed drivers and I did the second half hour. I was quite glad when the flag came out as the last 3 laps were totally in the dark. The car ran like a clock all weekend and was easy and relaxed to drive. A few more laps and some setting up would probably have helped but it was a great end to the day’s events.
Thanks to all who helped organize the event – no names in case I forget someone. It was fantastic to meet a lot of my fellow racers from years gone by.
An especially big thanks to Matt Nash for all his organizing of the event as well as the cars for Eric and I to drive.
Maybe there will be a next time