Letters From Readers - Doug Van Riet Correction, May 2000
I hope Mr M Whatley will forgive me correcting his ‘David and Goliath’ letter in your March issue. Doug Van Riet did not participate in the 1937 South African Grand Prix held in East London, but did race in the Grosvenor GP, another handicap race held at the Polsmoor Circuit in Cape Town, where he took on the Silver Arrows and drove remarkably, finishing seventh on handicap. Doug completed the race in his 747cc supercharged Austin at an average speed of 61.32mph.
On December 16 1937 Doug participated in the First Rand Grand Prix handicap at the Earl Howe Circuit outside Johannesburg, and won at 60.85mph. The 1939 South African GP at East London was run as a 1500cc scratch race; what Doug won was the First South African handicap race, run over nine laps, equalling 99.3 miles.
Doug was an extremely competent driver whose race preparation was outstanding. He celebrated his 93rd birthday this month and still has a tremendously clear memory of his past exploits.
I am, yours, etc.
P G Macintosh, Somerset West, South Africa/em