|Getting the Prospecton Backdrafts ready are (from left) |
Warren, Kennith, Travis and Mike.
TWO teams from KwaZulu-Natal hope for at least a class win in the first endurance race staged in South Africa in years.Organiser Scott Rainier said 35 cars had entered the African Six Hour at Phakisa Raceway in Welkom on February 23.
He told Weekend Witness, as far as he can recall, this will be South Africa’s first endurance race since the Southern Sun 500, which was held at Kyalami on the 26 November 1988 and won by the Joest racing team in a Porsche 962c.
For today’s race at Phakisa,KZN’s Toyota guru Bruce Avern-Taplin will race in his Toyota Touring Car spec 1 600.
While he starts as an underdog in the field of 35, co-driver Mike Schmidt of Frankies soft drinks fame believes that anything can happen in endurance racing.
“There are so many factors that can come into play in a race of this nature. There are also very few teams in the field with endurance race experience, so I guess we have as good a chance as any of the rest,” Schmidt said.
Definitely no underdogs in the race are the Backdraft team of Tony Martin, Franco Scribante, Mark Owens and Mike McLaughlin.
Martin told Weekend Witness he was giving his Backdraft’s new livery at his factory in Prospecton, KZN’s largest privately-owned car builder.
Martin exports these replica sports cars to the states, and his local racers are powered by four-litre Lexus V8 engines that has earned him a class win from Phakisa late last year. Rainier said the entry of veteran cars featured a broad cross section of Prototype, Sports, GT and saloon cars.
“But this is not a race for historic cars. We have some of the latest endurance machines in the world competing, although we welcome the historic cars that will be competing in their own categories,” says race organiser Roger Pearce.
Some of these interesting modern cars include the Pilbeam MP98, entered by Greg Mills, author of several books on South African motor racing, and a man who plans to enter the 2014 Le Mans in a South African-built car.
As Mills will be out of the country on February 23, the car will be driven by multiple off-road champ Duncan Vos, who also has single seater championships to his credit.
Vos finished 10th in the 2012 Dakar Rally in the Imperial Toyota Hilux. He will be partnered for this race by his brother Graham, a man with vast experience in historic car racing.
For more information, contact Roger Pearce at 082 8970771, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org