HISTORIC RACING AT KILLARNEY, SOUTH AFRICA,
10th FEBRUARY 2002.
My friend Geroge Michael, who lives outside Cape Town in South Africa has sent me this report and pictures from the recent historic race meeting at Killarney. This is one of a short series organised by veteran David Piper.
Practice day, 9th February
The temperature was a blistering thirty two degrees with virtually no wind which sent the track and tyre temperatures skyrocketing. In spite of this weather, very few cars suffered mechanical failures. German driver Peter Schleifer was most impressive in his black Lola T70, and Richard Attwood soon showed he had lost none of his talent while behind the wheel of Piper's green Ferrari 250LM.
Local enthusiasts of advancing years will always remember Atwood's titanic battle with Australian Paul Hawkins in the 1968 Killarney Three Hour Endurance Race. After whittling down the Australian's lead to the point where the two Ferraris were nose to tail, Attwood's tyres failed and he limped into a third place. This year however, Piper turned in some very quick times in his Ferrari Dino 206 and John Bendall pushed his AC Cobra to beyond the limit with some spectacular slides out of the tricky Vodacom Corner. Of particular interest to the crowd was the ex-Jim Clark Lotus 25 driven by Chris Alford. It also proved to be one of the most photographed cars in the pit area. The car is immaculate and the sound of the V8 Coventry Climax engine was pure nostalgia. It was most pleasing to see the return of a firm favourite with the crowd, namely the Ford Capri V8 Perana resplendent in its' original orange Team Gunston colours.
Race day, 10th February
Fortunately, a much cooler day dawned with temperatures only in the region of 25 degrees, with a good crowd in attendance. In the first heat of the pre-1966 Sportscar Race, Richard Attwood drove to a well deserved win in the 250LM, follwed by Chris Chiles in the big red Ford GT40. The second heat saw Piper engaged in a huge battle with Chiles which unfortunately ended when the Ferrari left the track at Vodacom corner. John Bendall was as usual a treat to watch as he stayed with the leading duo, drifting the thundering Cobra through most of the corners on this tight little circuit. The historic single seater races were won in convincing fashion by Chris Alford in the afore mentioned Lotus 25 with Alan Baillie taking second place in his Lotus 24. In the pre-1978 Sportscar event, the big V8 engined Lola T70's did not fare well in spite of putting in some impressive times during practice. In the end only Chris O'Neill's car finished in the third place with the other entrants either retiring with engine failure or not even making the grid. All was not completely lost for Lola though, as Peter Dunn won the first heat in his T210, while heat two local driver Gary Dunkerley brought home his immaculate Chevron B16 to a well deserved first place.
These races were first staged in 1999 and have become a firm favourite with local fans both young and old who eagerly await the return of these classics net year.
OK then, on with the photos!
Yes, we love those Lolas!
The 'thank you' section :
Sincere thanks for this piece must go to George Michael who wrote the report and took some photographs, and also to John Haworth and Joe Portuese for letting me use some of their photos.
Thanks indeed lads!