TJ Timing for all race results at Zwartkops Raceway
Day_of_the_Champion

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“Day of the Champion” – Zwartkops Raceway 2nd Feb 2014

The 7th annual “Day of the Champion” classic racing motorcycle event to be held at the Zwartkops Raceway on the 2nd Feb 2014 promises to be the best yet.
The big news is the participation by Norton Motorcycle Ltd, from the UK. They will be sending a selection of famous Norton racebikes to the event for this special day. Owner and CEO of the re-incarnated Norton motorcycle company, Stuart Garner, who will be there as well, says this is because South Africa played a unique part in the history of Norton motorcycles, and will always have a place in the future plans for the famous Marque. “After all”, says Garner, South Africa was the breeding ground of so many famous Norton riders, with men like Jim Redman, Gary Hocking, Paddy Driver, and many, many more learning their craft on Nortons and then arriving in Europe and successfully taking on the World’s best. “We want to celebrate that, and what better way than by taking part in the wonderful event put on every year by Zwartkops?”

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The historic Nortons, which will include the incredible rotary engined Norton superbike which won a British Superbike championship and also starred in many Isle of Man TT races, will be there. The iconic “John Player Norton “ livery, and the distinctive sound of the rotary engine is unforgettable. The V4 engined SG1 TT racebike will also be seen on track during the day. There will also be one each of the new Norton models, the 900cc Commando Sport and the Commando Café Racer for enthusiasts to drool over. They will be available in very limited numbers in SA next year. The bikes will be coming to SA as part of Mick Grant’s annual UK group of riders.
For the 2014 Day of the Champions Mick’s group looks very exciting indeed. Alan Walker will be bringing his BSB 888 Ducati, his F750 MV Agusta and possibly a 500cc Manx Norton. Steve Wheatman is sending a Suzuki RG500 GP bike and a factory Suzuki XR69 1000cc F1 from his “Team Classic Suzuki” stable. Scotsman Alan Duffus will have his beautiful Yamaha TZ750 running again. Another Scott, Ian Simpson, who has just been crowned the 2013 International Classic GP 350 cc Champion, is being brought out to SA by specialist oil company, Motul, to ride one of the Nortons. These are just a few of the bikes and riders coming out.

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Joining them will be the Historic Motorcycle Group, with a full complement of wonderful classic racing bikes, several of which have been recently restored and will be out for the first time in many years. The Day of the Champion also brings many past riders from championships gone by, as well as many South African Champions. It attracts top classic bike riders like Tony Jones and John Kosterman all the way from Cape Town, and Craig Buck with a collection of fabulous racing Honda CBX’s from Natal. He has promised to bring Rodney Gray to ride one of them. Dave Cuthbert, also from Natal, is bringing a Frankie Chili replica Ducati 998, which went so well in the hands of young Aussie Levi Day last year.
To give biking enthusiasts even more eye candy there will be displays of famous marques. Norton of course will be there, with owners of Nortons of all ages being invited to put their bikes on show with the UK factory bikes. Triumph, Ducati, MV Agusta, Moto Guzzi, as well as Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha will also be there. The newly formed Team Classic Suzuki SA invites all owners of classic Suzuki’s to join and put bikes on show as well.
A fascinating addition to this year’s Day of the Champion is the “50cc Heritage Parade”. 50cc bikes played such an important part in South Africa’s motorcycle history in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and Eddie Hellyer of the 50cc club plans to get 50 or more of these fabulous tiddlers out on the track for 3 frantic laps during the day. Many of today’s great motorcycle companies like Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha found their footholds in this country with these machines, and many of our most famous riders learned their skills on screaming 50’s
Custom bikes will also be on show, with companies like KCR from Kempton Park, and Fanie Coetzee’s GSC customs displaying bikes as good as anything seen on TV. The gates open at 7am and the racing starts at 9. The Ace’s Café will be in full swing until late, with the prize giving at the end of the day promising to develop into an affair to be remembered. The pits are open to spectators and the riders and display bike owners are available and friendly, Picnic and braais are allowed in most spectator areas, and this is a wonderful family day out to celebrate lots of motorcycle history, and racing in years gone by!

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Article by: Clive Strugnell

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