NEWS FOR SOUTH AFRICA
MOTOR RACING IN SOUTH AFRICA
Excellent prospects for the coming Grand Prix Motor Racing Season in South Africa are held out by Mr. C. S. Douglas, Organising Secretary of the South African Grand Prix at East London. In an interview he said that he expected a bigger overseas field than last year to compete in the races at East London,
Johannesburg, and Capetown. He is hoping that these three races will attract the best of overseas drivers. Negotiations are now in hand to have part of the East London track widened to a uniform width of twenty-four feet throughout and it, is hoped that when these improvements are completed the lap record of 115 m.p.h. will be raised to 120.
BLOEMFONTEIN BLUE RIBBON RACES
These races which were characterised by perfect organisation and favoured by glorious weather were held on the Brandkop Speedway on August 2nd The track was in excellent condition, and com
petition was very keen. The motorcycle event for the L. W. Deane Trophy which was run over 100 miles was won by J. Teeken riding a Rudge 250 c.c., with M. J. Botha (Norton $48 c.c.) second, and Joe Sarkis (Norton) third.
The Blue Ribbon Race for the ” Volksblad ” Trophy and £150 was won by J. van den Dool whostarted first and maintained his lead throughout ; with G. Stewart (Plymouth) second and A. S.
du Tait (Morgan) third. Van den pool drove with confidence and fine judgment and kept a steady pace throughout and won a very spectacular race with ease over 100 miles. The scratch man Roderick, driving a Maserati, set off in great style, completing the first lap at about 70 m.p.h. At the half-way stage his car started giving trouble and he was forced to withdraw on the twenty-fourth lap. Joe Sarkis who had been lapping consistently was eventually compelled to retire through engine trouble in the twenty-fifth lap. Woodhead in a Ford V8 dropped out, with broken steering gear, on the twenty-ninth lap.
A SOUTH AFRICAN RELIABILITY TRIAL
The seventh annual Oudtshoorn Double Twelve Trial, organised by the Cape Peninsula Motor Cycle and Car Club of Capetown, was held over the recent August Bank Holiday week-end, and
proved to be one of the most successful events of the year. The trial, which is open to all cars, running in two classes (above and below 1,500 c.c.), is run over a 650-mile course from Capetown to Oudtshoorn and back. Competitors are required to maintain an average speed of thirty miles per hour consistently, and although this is easy on level tarred roads, some degree of skill is called for when mountain passes 6,000 feet above sea-level and unmapped farm tracks have to be negotiated.
The trial commenced from Capetown at 8.30 p.m on Saturday night when the first of twenty-one competitors left the starter, the remaining ears leaving at three-minute intervals. The first seventy miles presented no difficulties, but the next section proved the undoing of Schnlenberg (Morris Eight), who took a bend on a mountain pass too fast and, colliding with the stone parapet, tore -front wheels and axle away from the rest of his car. Weaver, another competitor in a Morris Eight, took the wrong road and in endeavouring to regain his position bent his front axle and broke both front spr’ngs. As he was probably travelling at something like 45 to 50 m.p.h. over a road that was almost invisible, this is little to (.)2 wondered at.
To appreciate the conditions under which these cars are competing, it must be understood that little used roads are chosen purposely, and if one realises that these roads are in places little more than muddy, rutted farm tracks with occasional wide and stony drifts, additional handicaps in the form of torrential rain, fog, and on the tops of the mountains snow being present, some idea of the difficulties to be overcome can be obtained.
A compulsory stop at Laingsburg, 213 miles away and 2,000 feet above Capetown, enabled replenishments of petrol, oil and water to be made, and afforded an opportunity for minor repairs to be carried out.
The outstanding hazard of the next section was the Swartberg Pass (6,000 feet), which, with hairpin bends and a gradient in places of one in seven, besides being surfaced with six inches of loose gravel, called for more than an oratar,y amount of driving skill. Even so, of the original twenty-one competitors, nineteen managed to reach Oudtshoorn on schedule on Sunday morning. The return journey was timed to start at 4.30 a.m. on Monday, and on Sunday afternoon competitors were able, by
forfeiting points, to make repairs to their cars, and nearly everyone was busily engaged in straightening axles or replacing headlamps, mudguards, etc., which had become detached. Starting off once more early on Monday morning, the passes negotiated on the outward journey gave way to farm tracks and unmapped country roads, and heavy toll was taken before competitors reached the main road again about eighty miles from home. Birkby (Hillman Minx) left the road in skidding to avoid an unseen gate at dawn and lost many minutes straightening a bent tie-rod, while Pheiffer (Ford V8) holed his sump and gear-box on a pile of rocks bidden in the grass on an almost invisible farm-road. Wilkins (31-litre Bentley) lost valuable time in missing a turning, but, nothing daunted, drove his powerful car at an unbelievable
speed to regain his position. Where corners were too sharp to be taken at speed he took to the virgin veldt and rejoined the track further on, soon making up the time he had lost.
Fourteen of the original entrants managed to bring their cars into Capetown on time after one of the most gruelling reliability trials the country has known. That as many cars finished as did speaks well for the engineering of the modern car, and is also a tribute to the capabilities of the drivers.
Not a car returned without carrying some memento of the terrific battle waged over unmade roads against adverse weather. There were skids by the dozen and many crashes, but ingenious drivers and observers patched most of the cars so suc cessfully that they were able to finish.
Motoring enthusiasts are now eagerly awaiting the Trial from Capetown to Port Elizabeth and back over a 1,000-mile course, which will take place in October. The entries and results of the Oudtshoorn Double Twelve were as follows :
Light Cars : 1, P. Priem (M.G.); 2, N. Smith (Lancia Aprilia); 3, A. Brockman (Peugeot).
Mrs. K. Davies (Ford 10); C. Liebrandt (Singer); It. Miller (standard Nine).
Retired :J. Millman (Hillman Minx); C. Birkby (Hillman Minx); .T. Weaver (Morris Eight); E. Setmlenberg (Morris Eight); T. Jessop (M.G.).
Heavy Cars : 1, H. Nolte (Terranlane); 2, H. Wilkins (Bentley); 3. H. Bane (Peugeot ).
(‘. Gerieke (Chovrolist), M Pheitier (Ford VS); R. Miller (Ford V8); P. Spnake ((‘lymouth); V. Walters (Terraplane).
Retired : C. Segal (Nash); A. Murphy (Riley).