World racing heading back to PE

Bobby Cheetham

THERE’S fantastic news for local motorsport fans! International motorsport returns to Aldo Scribante raceway in Port Elizabeth at the end of the month.

And petrolheads will see world class racing with some of the best racers of yesteryear competing in the re-vamped SA TT Classic Series, which features a day of champions in a new three-leg series to include a superbike race between the UK and South Africa.

The first event will be held at Scribante on January 26.

Historic racing will roll out two other must-see events at the Zwartkops International race track on February 3, followed by Kyalami on the 8th.

Now in its seventh year of running, the annual vintage and classic bike-racing bonanza for South Africa promises to be better than ever for enthusiasts.

Zwartkops owner Peter du Toit, the entrepreneurial spirit behind the race series, says the original events for four-wheelers, organised by the legendary David Piper, had moved on to cover a major motorcycle component in the classic racing pageant.

This year’s Classic TT racing series will host a number of new historic racing machines from both the UK contingent and an expanded local list of entrants to continue its success.

“A real racing event is now included,” says former TT winner Mick Grant, who has assembled a respectable selection of famous racing TT winners like Gary Johnson, who is also down to ride. On the machinery side, there are a number of exotic classic race bikes booked to race the series.

Spectators will see the Suzuki RG500 square fours, Kawasaki 750 HIR Tripple and Honda SNR 500 GP machinery backed up by some superb forgotten era classics like the “Team Incomplete” Matchless G50, Norton Manx and Honda CR 163 250cc four-cylinder machines.

The packed programme for each day’s racing will see the banshee wail of the two-stroke era and extra loud classics on parade to deliver a great audible treat.

Steve Wheatman’s selection of Suzuki Grand Prix bikes will be the foremost attraction in the ear splitting department.

Clive Strugnell, a local organiser, says that despite the economic downturn, the appetite to come and race in South Africa’s wonderful summer weather remains ever strong among riders.

Exciting newcomers like Doug Bretson, Des Collins, Sean Emmet, and Ronnie Russel will make up a contingent of sunshine refugees to have, it’s hoped, some spectacular dices with our former greats like Les van Breda, Peter Labuschagne, and six-time world champion Jim Redman – among other quick local riders.

With a full superbike race series, parades and the TT series in full view, the local international classic series looks set to produce more spectacular scenes for spectators’ interest than ever before, while stepping back in time to the golden era of motorcycle racing of the last century.

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