Nine years ago Zwartkops added motorcycling to the annual “Passion for Speed” weekend that has become so popular at Zwartkops Raceway.
Since classic and historic motorcycles were added to the program the event has evolved from featuring a series of high speed parades to one which includes the first two rounds of the “South Africa Classic TT”.
“The South African Classic TT Racing Series” will feature two races as part of the “Passion for Speed” day on Saturday 30th January, and what a contest it is going to be. The bikes are big, enormously powerful and have no electronic trickery to help manhandle them around a race-track. Most of them will top 350km/h at the right place and time.
The favourite this year has to be Scotsman Ian Simpson, multiple TT winner, several time British Superbike winner. He has won the SA TT titles twice already. Challenging him this year is Swiss fighter pilot, Peter Linden, a past World Endurance racing champion. Another Scotsman riding in classic racing for the first time is former World Supersport rider, Iain McPherson, known affectionately as “Fearless McPherson”. Facing down these guys are a host of South African legends, starting with the father and son duo Les and Graeme van Breda. New in the series this year are the famous Ramsey brothers, Mike and Gavin, both capable of putting one over the visitors.
There’s a Scotsman living in glorious exile in the Natal Midlands, and his brainchild the “Honour Challenge” between a visiting team of Scotsmen, including both Simpsons, as well as fearless McPherson and Scottish champions Ian Duffus, Gordon Grigor and Howard Selby, against a South African team of The van Breda’s, Rodney Gray and the Ramseys, as well as another SA champion Peter Labuschagne are ready to take them head on. The Honour Challenge will be run concurrently as a race within a race as part of the SA Classic TT.
The bikes in this class are just as famous as their riders, and are icons from a golden era. Ian Simpson is back on another of the Team Classic Suzuki XR 69 racers owned by Steve Wheatman. The local South African riders have opted to use several variations of Suzuki’s early 80’s GSXR Superbikes.
The “Day of the Champion” motorcycle only day on Sunday 31st has also become an institution with motorcycle enthusiasts. Spectators can mingle with the riders and rub shoulders with many heroes normally seen only on TV or in magazines like Bike SA. Amongst these will be the likes of World Champion Jim Redman, 7 times TT winner Mick Grant, Alan North, Rod Gray, Les and Graeme van Breda and so many other famous names. In addition there will be many interesting groups like the Katana and Honda RC 1100R clubs, more than 50 miniature motorcycles a huge collection of two stroke race bikes and modified road bikes, and once again the Historic Motorcycle Group who always field a wonderful collection of classic and historic race bikes.
To top off the program, Suzuki South Africa, who are the sponsors of the day, have some special fun in store for visitors. Firstly there will be a full range of Suzuki cars and bikes on display, with many of the cars being available for demo rides on the circuit after the motorcycle program is finished.
On track Suzuki will run a unique contest between their high performance hatch the Suzuki Swift Sport and their GSX-R 1000. To top off the excitement of the day, Alan Walker is bringing a modern MotoGP Ducati which will do a short demo.
Full weekend tickets can be bought at Computicket or at the Zwartkops office before the event for a discounted rate of R170 per adult and R100 per student, with children under 12 going in for free.
Tickets sold at the gate on Saturday will cost R190 per adult, R110 per student and children under 12 free.
Friday or Sunday tickets only will cost R90 per adult and R70 per student.