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David Piper - The Golden Age of Motor Racing

Page 3 of 3

Broadcast date : 4th March 2007


Another classic to emerge at Zwartkops was Alan Poulterís Cortina Perana. 

This superb Bobby Olthoff replica in the correct historic livery was completed just hours before the event and won Car of the Day at the Springbok revival meeting.

Also fresh out the box was Gavin Ritchieís cute Hillman Imp, a replica of the 1965 Bob Kelsey racing car.

But there was, and is, nothing cute about the Nissan Skyline GTX, pedalled here to such good effect by Richard Sorensen, ace production car driver.

This is the famous Hennie van der Linde Skyline that won 56 consecutive races and three championships in the 1980s.

The Skyline had been parked for 15 years in the Sorensenís workshop, so Dick decided it was time for a walk in the park.

A pleasing feature of this yearís series was the number of mid-level racers from the UK.

Apart from Lincoln Smallís super-handling and super-rare Brabham BT 8, there was also a very rare McLaren M1 from 1964, a car that preceeded the Bobby Olthoff McLaren Elva.

In America the Trans-Am series was for cars like this Plymouth Baracuda. Fitted with a five-litre V8 it took on the likes of the Mustangs and Camaros, and although it was never quite as quick, as this example owned by the UKís Graham Bryant shows, it was beautiful.

The Barracuda was available here in this shape in 1965 and 1966, a special coupe version of an otherwise family-orientated car. In South Africa it was known as a Valiant.

Way back in 1960 the likes of Paul Frere, Jo Bonnier and Stirling Moss competed in a series of summer races in South Africa Ė not in sports cars, but in top-flight Grand Prix cars.

This year we had four UK drivers taking part in the likes of Cooper and Lotus Formula One and Formula two cars, taking on our own specialists like Brian Tyler and Lew Baker.

Richard Bakerís 1951 Cooper JAP was restored immaculately by Cape Townís Dickon Daggit, and is a Cooper Mark 5, driven by the great Stirling Moss in the early 1950s. John Cooper and others like him started out in the racing game with cars like this, competing in a 500cc Formula with Norton and JAP speedway motorcycle engines. This particular car runs an 1100 cc JAP engine, built for hill-climbs in the UK, and itís quite ferocious by 1950s standards.

The beauty of the historic single-seater race is that it mixes a whole bunch of cars from different classes and era into one bunch.

Cars ranging from Barry Fosterís 1934 MG Midget, to the great Kenny Grayís 1975 Formula Ford mix it up, and even a few Protea and Lola sports cars were thrown in for good measure, because thatís the way they used to do things.
David Pipers association with the Springbok series is indelible, and we hope heíll keep on pedalling Ferrariís, Porscheís and the like. This yearís series was the best ever, and weíre already looking forward to the first week in February 2008.

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