Quintin van Jaarsveld
The legendary Willie Hepburn put on a show as Ford and Friends joined KwaZulu-Natal Road Racing Club (KZNRRC) for what proved to be a special day of racing at Dezzi South Coast Raceway on Saturday.
Ford and Friends drivers from as far as Cape Town brought their treasured classics to the Oslo Beach track with Hepburn to celebrate the South African racing great’s 54th year in motorsport.
They joined local drivers who continued their chase for points in Round Eight of the KwaZulu-Natal Road Racing Club Championship.
Despite wet weather, around 90 motorcar drivers and 60 bikers were in action, which made for fantastic spectator viewing.
One of the greatest duels of the day was the spat between the man of the hour, Hepburn, and Mike McLoughlin with the two monster V8s thundering around the track. Unfortunately, the decorated duo had to retire in the second race after some “nudging”.
Their battle was a great showcase for local petrolheads to see Hepburn in action.
“Hepcat”, or “Hubcap” as he’s known by his fans, has won numerous regional and national championships, the highlight being the 1982 Star Modified Saloon Car Championship, which he clinched with a Chevrolet SS.
He was presented with the State President’s Award in 1980 for his contribution to motorsport, and long held the South African land speed record (372,401km/h), which he set in 1990.
“Willie, as big as a celebrity as he is, proved to be a humble and surprisingly small man that can still muscle that monster V8 around the track. He’s a very exciting driver to watch,” KZNRRC chairman Llewelyn Puren told eHowzit.
“It was great to see the number of spectators that braved the wet weather to come out and witness some great racing.
“The practice and qualifying session was wet, but just about all the races were dry with a cold track. The weather did prove to test the skills of the competitors, and we saw quite a few spills out on the track.
“We had an increase in the Superbike Class, which was great to see with some nice battles in the premier class. The Modifieds Class was spectacular to watch with full time action to be viewed with 32 cars on the grid,” he added.
The Ford and Friends honours went to Darren Gudmanz, with Duncan Dos Reis winning the Super GT Class, Tony McCree clinching the Sports Cars shootout and Franco Danadio doing the business in the Retro Class.
The respective modified classes were won by Ronald van Rensburg (A), Rodney Potgieter (B), Quentin Lessing (C) and Elton Fuchs (Super).
On two wheels, Roy Hallett did the double in the CBR150 Masters and Powersports Classes, with Hein Etzel managing the same feat in the 300cc Masters and Supermotard Classes.
The other bike class winners were Riley Nadauld (Mini GP), Baron O’Hagan (Motards), Karl Etzel (CBR150), Mark Jansen (300cc Masters), Nikolai Conci (600cc), Bryce Hills (1000cc) and Sanjiv Singh (Superbike Masters).
Puren concluded: “As always, we thank our sponsors who make it possible for us to enjoy our sport: Honda Umhlanga and Natal Recovery, for the recovery vehicles that minimises the recovery time, allowing us more race time, CMH Suzuki for the Safety Car leading the fields to the start line, Midas Durban Brake and Clutch that keeps our officials looking professional, and Startline for their support in making the admin work seamlessly.
“Our next event is on the 10th of November and we expect it to be another cracker.”
For more information about the club and their events, visit www.KZNRRC.co.za.
Photos by Graham Montanari/sponsored by IndyGO Tyre Pinetown