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South African F1 championship


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#1 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 19:43

I am not sure if this has been covered on here, but The South African F1 championship is a subject that is surely worthy of it´s own thread. It was, at the time, one of, if not the only, domestic F1 championship held in the world, and as such, has a very special place in racing history.
John Love, Sam Tingle, Gary Hocking, Trevor Blokdyke, Bruce Johnstone, Paddy Driver, Sid Van Der Vyver, Tony Maggs, Ian Schechter, Doug Serrurier, Neville Ledyle, Ernest Pieterse and many other great names were involved in the series which produced first class racing as well as a great spectacle.
I have many fond memories of this unique period in SA motorsport, and anyone who can add to the data base that will ensure this era is not forgotten, is kindly asked to contribute to this tread. Maybe there are stories, facts and photos out there that would help recreate those glory days.

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#2 macoran

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 20:58

Rhodie,
have you checked using BB yet.
There are posts on Doug Serrurier,Neville Lederle, Alex Blignaut and a few others.

If you enter the name Serrurier in the BB Search, you'll get quite a list of threads.

#3 antony duprat

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 21:05

Hello my friend, just few pics to illustred your new thread ;)
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(sutton)

#4 David Shaw

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Posted 16 March 2007 - 22:45

Nice pictures Antony. I actually did a Grand Prix Legends skin of Love's BT20 a couple of years ago, but didn't have enough detailed reference photos to note the gold trim around the dark brown.

#5 Rob Miller

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 02:16

Some of my first memories of motor racing are watching Syd van der Vyver and Doug Serrurier sowing the seeds of this great series around the Roy Hesketh circuit in Pietermaritzburg in their Cooper-Alfa Romeos.

Peter de Klerk is another great name that must be mentioned.

#6 Russell_Sheldon

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 02:39

Hello,

You may find this brief article on the SA F1 championship interesting:-

http://www.geocities...ampionship.html

Kind regards,

Russell

#7 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 07:43

Originally posted by antony duprat
Hello my friend, just few pics to illustred your new thread ;)
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(sutton)


Awesome Anthony, thank you very much. :wave:
In the top pic you can see John Love adjusting something or other at the rear of his stunning BT20. And for those who don´t know, it was taken in the pits at Killarney, Cape Town. The seconf pic is taken in the pits at Roy Hesketh. Looks a bit primitive by todays standards, but that only adds to the charm IMO.

Macoran, I am aware that several of the names I mentioned having already been discussed on here, but I still thought a tread devoted to the subject of the SA F1 championship was warranted, especially if it produces pics like those posted on here by Anthony.

Rob. I just took a few names at random. Of course, Pieter de Klerk, as well as multi champion Dave Charlton, would be right up there at the top of the list.

#8 pmbboy

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 11:57

Originally posted by Rob Miller
Some of my first memories of motor racing are watching Syd van der Vyver and Doug Serrurier sowing the seeds of this great series around the Roy Hesketh circuit in Pietermaritzburg in their Cooper-Alfa Romeos.

Peter de Klerk is another great name that must be mentioned.


I have some great memories of the Roy Hesketh circuit and I can still hear the wailing V8 Lotus 24 of Syd van der Vyver amongst all the 4cyl cars of the rest of the entry as they headed down to quarry bend. Syd had his one and only win in the Lotus 24 at Hesketh in 1963 and shortly after that it was destroyed in a fire.
cheers
Peter

#9 bigrog

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 12:29

Originally posted by pmbboy


I have some great memories of the Roy Hesketh circuit and I can still hear the wailing V8 Lotus 24 of Syd van der Vyver amongst all the 4cyl cars of the rest of the entry as they headed down to quarry bend. Syd had his one and only win in the Lotus 24 at Hesketh in 1963 and shortly after that it was destroyed in a fire.
cheers
Peter


Every time I read these threads about South African racing, whether two or four wheels, I think the same things. For a country with such a small population, Southern Africa has produced an amazing number of topline riders and drivers, particularly during the sixties and seventies and also that the racing had such a profound effect on those who saw it during those years. I'm guessing that most of the contributors here are roughly my age (52) and I am amazed at the number of people who were at the same meetings at Kyalami, Hesketh, East London etc. as I when we were all kids or teenagers. Obviously a lot of that is down to us all being of such an impressionable age but it is also due to the very high standard of racing and the amazing ingenuity of the drivers and local engineers. When you think of the number of South African built cars such as Pieter DeKlerk's Alfa Special, Ernest Pieterse's Heron Alfa, Tony Kotze's Assegai, the Nettuar etc. it's impressive enough but these cars were amazingly competititive. Outstanding mention must go to Doug Serrurier's LDS cars which were exquisitely made and very well engineered. When you think that all these cars were home brewed, it's incredible. My other thought is that there must be many Southern African members, who have met each other over the years and don't know it. So does anybody remember three scruffy kids that spent almost their entire chidhoods hanging around Hesketh and other circuits. One of them, Rod Gray went on to become a great South African motorcycle legend and the other two were my brother Peter (pmbboy) and I. Anybody remember us from that time.

#10 antony duprat

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 13:45

few of my pics come from here
http://www.historicr...y.cfm?gallery=3

#11 antony duprat

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 13:55

Niemmann's Lotus from 1964
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#12 antony duprat

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 21:35

From the 1968 ZA GP, the Sam Tingle's LDS Repco
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Copyright DPPI

#13 Hieronymus

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 09:04

Interesting to note than SUTTON claims copyright on the photos in Antony's pics. Those photos were taken by David Pearson.

Note...some closer inspection of "Niemann's Lotus" lead me to believe it is rather Bob van Niekerk in Ted Lanfear's Lotus. Photo shows him in the Killarney pits in Cape Town.

#14 David McKinney

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 09:28

Originally posted by Hieronymus
Interesting to note than SUTTON claims copyright on the photos in Antony's pics. Those photos were taken by David Pearson.

Copyright does not necessarily rest with the photographer

#15 Hieronymus

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 09:45

Originally posted by David McKinney

Copyright does not necessarily rest with the photographer


Interesting...but also a bit confusing. :confused:

#16 Hieronymus

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 10:04

Originally posted by bigrog


When you think of the number of South African built cars such as Pieter DeKlerk's Alfa Special, Ernest Pieterse's Heron Alfa, Tony Kotze's Assegai, the Nettuar etc. it's impressive enough but these cars were amazingly competititive.


Here is the Alfa Special. Lew Baker completed restoration, with some verbal assistance from Peter de Klerk.

I took the photo in February...no copyright (unless the chaps at SUTTON already claims they have copyright ;) )

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#17 David McKinney

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 11:24

It's all been gone into before, Heiro, but if I am commissioned to take photos at a meeting the copyright would normally be the commissioning company's, whereas if I supply pictures to a publication on spec the copyright is mine.
Also, it is not unusual for someone to sell his negs to another party, perhaps many years later, and for the rights to go to the buyer

#18 Hieronymus

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 12:16

Thank you for explaining it again, David. It makes sense.

For the Pietermaritzburg-boytjies here is a pic to remind them of the 1963 Royal Show races where Syd won in the Lotus 24 Climax (22 June 1963).

Serrurier (LDS) on the left, Love in the centre (Cooper) and van der Vyver on the right. Brausch Niemann's Lotus 7 is in the background on the extreme right hand side.

(photo courtesy of Robert Young)

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#19 antony duprat

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 14:24

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Hieronymus
[B]Interesting to note than SUTTON claims copyright on the photos in Antony's pics. Those photos were taken by David Pearson.
There is only the D. Charlton pic from Sutton images ;)

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#20 bigrog

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 15:04

Originally posted by Hieronymus
Thank you for explaining it again, David. It makes sense.

For the Pietermaritzburg-boytjies here is a pic to remind them of the 1963 Royal Show races where Syd won in the Lotus 24 Climax (22 June 1963).

Serrurier (LDS) on the left, Love in the centre (Cooper) and van der Vyver on the right. Brausch Niemann's Lotus 7 is in the background on the extreme right hand side.

(photo courtesy of Robert Young)

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I can almost smell it! Great picture which reminds me of my youth. The cars would often be parked at my father's engineering company before the races to prepare them for the weekend. The drivers would bring them down from TVL or Rhodesia (as it was then) and use the facilities whilst mybrothers, friends and I would make nuisances of ourselves watching it all go on. The old memory is not reliable and does strange things but I am sure that I watched this race from the outside of Beacon (pmbboy do you remember?). As a matter of interest Brausch Niemann's Lotus 7 was modified into an eligible single seater? just a few hundred metres up from my old mans place at Thomson Motors. Again we used to be in and out of that place and the guys would tolerate us having a look at everything. We were so lucky to be able to sit in those cars and when the race came we couldreally feel we were part of it. Great days. I can just hear them all screaming down to Quarry on the first lap.

Dankie H

pmb ou

#21 Hieronymus

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 15:19

It is a pleasure Roger and thanks for your input.

Do you perhaps know what has happened to Jurgen Niemann (Brausch's brother)? Do you still have any contact with some of the Natalian car racers from those days?

I had contact with Keith Berrington-Smith a few months ago. He is still up in PMB. Brian Raubenheimer is also farming near PMB.

#22 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 23:05

I remember seeing quite a few shots taken by Rob Young and Malcome Kinsey. Does anyone on here know if these two gents are still around, and if they are, are they still active in what was obviously more than just a hobby for them?
They must have a veritable treasurehouse of pics from that time, both 4 and 2 wheels. If only we could somehow get them to share their photos on here.

#23 David McKinney

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 23:26

Rob Young posts on TNF - perhaps not as frequently as he used to

#24 macoran

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 23:31

Originally posted by David McKinney
Rob Young posts on TNF - perhaps not as frequently as he used to


That would be TNFer ry6?
I have posted some pics on his behalf in certain threads.
He'd pop me a mail and be off for business quite often.

Haven't heard anything of late from him.

#25 Hieronymus

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 05:44

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
I remember seeing quite a few shots taken by Rob Young and Malcome Kinsey. Does anyone on here know if these two gents are still around, and if they are, are they still active in what was obviously more than just a hobby for them?
They must have a veritable treasurehouse of pics from that time, both 4 and 2 wheels. If only we could somehow get them to share their photos on here.


Rob is at present working in Swaziland. He co-wrote the book on David Piper that was launched in February in South Africa. Rob was also a more than capable racing driver, although he seems very modest about his achievements.

Rhodie

If you wish to ask Rob any questions, please do so. I'll direct him to this thread...

#26 clarko1230

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 08:34

Dour Serrurier´s nephew (Mike Serrurier) makes 1/43 and 1/18 Lotus and Jaguar models in South Africa.
They are hand made and can sometimes be crude,but they are lovely
I have Lotus Mk-I,II,III,IV,IX,X,& XVII from him

#27 Hieronymus

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 11:44

Here's a photo from 1963:

Neville Lederle in Lotus 21 leads Doug Serrurier’s LDS-Alfa out of Clubhouse (Blokdyk Cooper T56 behind)



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(Photo supplied by Robert Young)

#28 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:24

One of the names that attracted a lot of attention in the very early days of the championship was a very promising young driver by the name of Jo Eckhoff. Tragically, he lost his life during the Governor Generals cup held in Lorenso Marques (now Maputo) in 1961, and what had promised to be a very successful career was over before it really began.
I was fortunate enough to see him race and was very impressed by his ability. I was wondering if anyone has a photo of Jo, and if so, would they be kind enough to post it on here?

#29 Hieronymus

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:49

I presume that you are looking for a profile (face) photo of Jo? The only ones I do have of him is "in car" shots.

Here's another photo that Robert Young supplied.

Peter de Klerk in the Alfa Special at Kyalami in 1963.

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#30 Hieronymus

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:56

Photo of Jo Eckhoff driving a Dart-Peugeot at a hillclimb event in Natal:

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#31 Hieronymus

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 05:59

Originally posted by ex Rhodie racer
One of the names that attracted a lot of attention in the very early days of the championship was a very promising young driver by the name of Jo Eckhoff. I was wondering if anyone has a photo of Jo, and if so, would they be kind enough to post it on here?


This is about the only photo I have where one can see Jo's face. The photo was taken during the race where he crashed fatally in Mozambique. Jo hit a kerb on the street circuit in Lourenço Marques, lost control and slammed into a lamp post. His car burst into flames on inpact, fatally injuring Eckhoff.

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#32 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 07:33

Originally posted by Hieronymus


This is about the only photo I have where one can see Jo's face. The photo was taken during the race where he crashed fatally in Mozambique. Jo hit a kerb on the street circuit in Lourenço Marques, lost control and slammed into a lamp post. His car burst into flames on inpact, fatally injuring Eckhoff.

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Thank you H. My recallection of the LM circuit is a bit vague, but I think there were 2 variations of the track, both of which I raced on. The one being used at the time was the original layout, and one of the problems we encountered was that due to the circuit being located on the beach front, a lot of sand was blown onto the road which made things very slippery indeeed. I have always been of the opinion that this could well have been a contributing factor in Jo´s accident. What I do know is that it was a very sad day for so many motorsport enthusiasts who were expecting such great things from the young man.

#33 Hieronymus

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 08:30

I have some maps of the circuit somewhere at home.

Rhodie, do you know anything about the story that Jo's car was buried by his father after the accident? Maybe just a story, since I recall similar stories of racing cars being buried after accidents.

#34 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 11:54

Originally posted by Hieronymus
I have some maps of the circuit somewhere at home.

Rhodie, do you know anything about the story that Jo's car was buried by his father after the accident? Maybe just a story, since I recall similar stories of racing cars being buried after accidents.


H, I have heard the same story, but how true it is, I don´t know. Every father would be deeply affected by the loss of his son, but I heard Jo´s father took it harder than most, so there certainly could be some truth to it. Very sad.

#35 Hieronymus

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:49

Originally posted by Hieronymus
I have some maps of the circuit somewhere at home.

Rhodie, do you know anything about the story that Jo's car was buried by his father after the accident? Maybe just a story, since I recall similar stories of racing cars being buried after accidents.


First hand info on this...

Rob Young did an interview and story on Gordon Henderson some years ago. Henderson bought the remains of Eckhoff's Cooper and he used corners and wheels and bits to build the first Scorpion.

The 2.2 litre Climax engine was put into an Alfa Guilietta.

#36 Carlos Guerra

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 19:32

On the Monday that followed Jo Eckoff’s tragedy, a local Lourenço Marques newspaper described his Cooper-Climax as being ex-Stirling Moss.
Any comments on this?

#37 Hieronymus

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 19:44

Indeed, Carlos

Jo had his first race in this car on 3 April 1961 at Roy Hesketh, Pietermaritzburg during the Coronation 100. The car was described as an ex-Moss Cooper T51 fitted with an ex-Jack Brabham 2200cc Climax engine.

Do you perhaps still have this newspaper article or articles any of the races held in Mozambique?

Anything perhaps on Luki Botha's accident in LM in 1967?

#38 Rob Miller

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 00:12

The 2.2 litre Climax engine was put into an Alfa Guilietta


How strange considering how many Guilietta engines went into single seaters.

Perhaps the 1,5 litre formula meant that it was not much use for the summer series and the SA Grand Prix.

I would have thought the best place for it would have been in a Dart.

#39 pmbboy

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 13:32

Originally posted by Hieronymus
Indeed, Carlos

Jo had his first race in this car on 3 April 1961 at Roy Hesketh, Pietermaritzburg during the Coronation 100. The car was described as an ex-Moss Cooper T51 fitted with an ex-Jack Brabham 2200cc Climax engine.

Do you perhaps still have this newspaper article or articles any of the races held in Mozambique?

Anything perhaps on Luki Botha's accident in LM in 1967?


This car could well have been ex Moss. The chassis number for this car at that race was F2-1-59 which if correct, then that was the ex Moss Cooper Borgward but as we know with all chassis numbers they move around more than the cars themselves.
I beleive that Jo finished second in that race and was quite a revaltion at the time with his speed but i do not think any one else had as big an engine.
please correct me if i am wrong as time does play tricks on the memory.
cheers
Peter

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#40 Hieronymus

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 19:19

pmbboy, you are correct.

Jo Eckhoff came second in the Coronation 100 in 1961. The winner was Bruce Johnstone in a Cooper T43.

I managed to find a report from CAR magazine on this race. Here is what they wrote on Eckhoff:

" Joe, formerly of Durban and now of Pretoria, has long been a familiar figure at Roy Heaketh as a driver of sports cars, but this was his first appearance in such a powerful car".

Further to his fatal accident in Lourenco Marques - it is believe that he was blinded by the light of the setting sun. Shadows of trees were falling across the road, halfway though the "s" bend were he hit the kerb.

What is also sad, is the fact that there were no spectators or officials nearby. So nobody could even made an attempt to pull him free from his blazing car.

#41 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 19:46

Originally posted by Hieronymus
[B

Further to his fatal accident in Lourenco Marques - it is believe that he was blinded by the light of the setting sun. Shadows of trees were falling across the road, halfway though the "s" bend were he hit the kerb. [/B]


I have to say that I cannot agree with this report H.
Firstly, other than the palm trees along the main straight, I cannot recall any other trees in the vacinity of the track. The palm trees in question couldn´t have caused shadows as they were between the track and the beach, therefore on the eastern side. As the race would have been run mid afternoon, no shadows would have been cast across the trrack.
IMO, that report had more to do with newspaper reporting than actual fact.

Edit: As for the sun blinding him, well, in your pic you will clearly see he is wearing dark glasses.

#42 Hieronymus

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 20:03

Thanks Rhodie

What I wrote was from a media report. Nothing can beat "on site" experience, though, so I can't disagree on your views.

I have the map of the Lourenco Marques circuit in front of me at the moment. I do not have a scanner here at home, but will make an effort to post it tomorrow.

From what I read, Jo must have crashed in the slight s-bend on Rua Marques de Pombal.

#43 Hieronymus

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 20:18

Managed to make a copy of the map with my digi cam.

The area where Eckhoff crashed I have marked with a yellow circle. What do you think Rhodie?

Posted Image

#44 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 20:34

Originally posted by Hieronymus
Managed to make a copy of the map with my digi cam.

The area where Eckhoff crashed I have marked with a yellow circle. What do you think Rhodie?

Posted Image


H, I must confess I don´t know the exact location of Jo´s accident, however, from what I have heard, I think you might be right.

#45 Hieronymus

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 20:41

From what I could discover in race reports, this was the place.

There was also a shorter version of this circuit. The area to the left on the map was not part of the shorter circuit.

#46 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 20:57

Originally posted by Hieronymus
There was also a shorter version of this circuit. The area to the left on the map was not part of the shorter circuit.


I wouldn´t be able to comment on that H. What I do know is that around 1969 a new circuit was built. While it still retained the main straight in the bottom (I think) of the pic, the rest was a purpose built facility. It was a great track which unfortunately I only got to race on once, in 1971. Shortly afterwards racing came to a halt when the Portugese handed over power to the ethnic majority, which signaled the start of a 20 year conflict that ultimately devastated what was an amazing country.

#47 Hieronymus

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 05:47

Rhodie

Do you please have any information on the following Rhodesian drivers:

D.C. Byron-Moore
R. Duncan
R.J. Glight (Flight??)
J.C. Jensen
F. Johnson
T. Newman
T.C. Stager

They all were active late 50s and early 60s.

For a start, I need their first names, but any bit of background info on their racing activities will be of interest. I know that Byron-Moore raced a Volkswagen Special at one time.

#48 Hieronymus

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 09:08

Posted Image

Robert Young supplied this photo of Sam Tingle's LDS-Alfa at the 1965 Rand Winter Trophy at Kyalami.

This car ran for several years and was reliable and quick.

#49 Hieronymus

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 09:15

While on the topic of Sam Tingle....Sam's grandson was killed in a rocket attack in Afghanistan earlier this month. Ross Clark was a member of the British Army.

http://www.mod.uk/De...Afghanistan.htm

#50 Senor

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 10:15

I fondly recall visiting LM (Lorenco Marques), during it’s heyday, in the sixties and seventies. It was a fabulous holiday destination. With a little racing included in the mix, well, it was even better.

From my recollection, the circuit used up to the winter races of ’61 (when Eckhoff was killed) was the called the circuito de Lorenco Marques and was a full street circuit located in the town. A purpose built circuit including some public roads was built next to the beachfront near the Costa do Sol and was called the Autodromo Lorenco Marques. I don’t believe that the original “circuito” track was used again after Jo’s death in ’61. All racing after that, was switched over to the new Autodromo track.

It may be of interest to followers of this thread, to look at an earlier thread called “cooper juniors”, as there are also more memories from that time. Look out too for a great shot of Jo (from macoran), wrestling his Cooper through Quarry during the Easter event at Hesketh that same year.