March 26, 2020, and the South African government made the unexpected announcement that we would be going into lockdown LEVEL 5 so as to limit and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Never did it cross my mind at that moment that this was not going to be a quick turnaround. It also did not cross my mind at that specific moment that things were unlikely ever to be the same as they were before and that a new normal would emerge from this worldwide pandemic which was now killing people from all walks of life across the globe.
This lockdown also meant that everyone, except perhaps those working in essential services, now had to stay and work from home. I was able to deal with this with relative ease as my business was already designed and geared to already work remotely and to provide ongoing services to my clients. What I was not geared for was that motorsport worldwide had also come to a grinding halt. It meant that I was no longer able to travel to my home track, Killarney Raceway in Cape Town once a month. It also meant that for the first time in nearly 12 years I would not be able to see or visit my brother as I had regularly done every month for 12 years where we spent our time together on race days and weekends. Life as I once knew it started hitting home hard. My white Datsun 1200 GX based in Cape Town would now have to wait until we were given the go-ahead to commence racing once again but more importantly when we could finally travel by air to other provinces. The one without the other would simply not work.
It is also strange how life sometimes works and how unforeseen opportunities arise at the most inopportune times. For a number of years, I was besotted with purchasing a race car from a well know race car builder in Johannesburg but each and every time that I had asked if I could get the first option to purchase one of his race cars should it become available one day, there was already a waiting party to purchase it. This did not happen once or even twice but on no less than three occasions. In fact, even on the fourth occasion, there was again someone in waiting but COVID somehow had other plans. It so turned out that the so-called provisional buyer was unable to commit to making the purchase under COVID business conditions and my opportunity finally came. After some careful consideration, I eventually took the plunge and bought the race car in July 2020.
With not much happening at that stage on the racing front, it afforded me some much needed time to start putting some monies away each month for just one race this year. The car is in absolute pristine condition and has been fully race-prepped from front to back since my aquisition. There was in fact very little to do since it was last raced but one can never ever over-prepare for a race day.
To say I acquired this car from a very well respected car builder and himself a fierce ontrack competitor within historic racing is perhaps an understatement and I have no doubt that I have some very big racing shoes to fill in order to reach his level of competivness. We have both sat down and devised a workable race plan and a maintenance program that will suit my budget yet afford both of us an opportunity to still remain in the historic racing environment on the odd occasion. Times are tough today and there is simply no way that I could race every race meeting on the calendar. I have committed to race my first Zwartkops historic race (my last and only outing on this track was done way back in October 2010) on the 10 October 2020 and am looking so forward to competing once again since the lockdown period commenced.
My biggest wish was that my brother who has never missed a race of mine could be with me for this race but sadly, time, flying and money is not an option for this event. I will start planning ahead and will look at the next annual Passion for Speed event in 2021 where hopefully, we can spend a race day together again and hopefully by then spectators will too be allowed to be at trackside.
A very big thank you to Francois Jacobs for all his help, advice, and dedicated assistance in making this opportunity come true.Follow us on social media: