Champion list for Day of Champs

2012-01-19 11:55

Castrol's Day of the Champions, which forms part of the classic motor racing extravaganza at Zwartkops Raceway at the beginning of each year, continues to enjoy a strong following as the number of motorcycles that will be in action on Sunday, January 29, 2012, could total as many as 250.

The massive gathering of classic motorcycle racing enthusiasts will again include many champions and former champions of local and international track racing.

Many overseas riders, mainly from the United Kingdom, are spending time in South Africa to contest the classic racing series, including seven-time Isle of Man TT winner, Mick Grant.

Grant, who has been sponsored by Castrol for more than 40 years, will be riding an ex-Barry Sheene factory Suzuki RG500 as well as racing one of Peter du Toit’s GSM Dart sports cars in the 45-minute Execuline SA Tourist Trophy for 1966-1968 sports and GT cars.


Grant had the opportunity in 2011 of racing a genuine ex-factory Lotus 23 sports car at the Goodwood Revival and says he is looking forward to racing on both four and two wheels at Zwartkops.

REVIVING A CLASSIC: Mick Grant raced a Lotus 23 sports car at the Goodwood Revival.

Steve Wheatman, owner of the largest collection of Suzuki GP bikes outside the factory, is sending two factory RG500s to South Africa. One is the 1984 issue for Grant, the other a 1974 model, ridden by Phil Read, with which he wond that year's world championship. Read holds eight world titles.

Another important machine that will show its paces at the Day of the Champions event is a four-cylinder Formula 750 MV Agusta, which was one of the machines used in the famous Italian factory’s last foray in Grand Prix racing. It will be ridden by former multiple SA champion Keith Zeeman.

Many other ex-SA champions have entered for the event, including Les van Breda, who will be riding his 1974 Suzuki TR 750 - the only known machine of this type still being ridden in anger by its original rider anywhere in the world.


Some of the other well-known names from the past that will be seen at Zwartkops are Paddy Driver, Jim Redman, Dave and Robbie Petersen, Wayne Heasman, Howard Mellett, Tiny Marriner, Ian Scheckter, Rodney Gray, Ophie Howard and Kevin Hellyer.

Honda SA managing director, Yoshiaki Nakamura, will again be in action, this time riding John Chapman’s Honda RS250, while multiple SA production car racing champion Gary Formato will be out on a 1981 Suzuki superbike.

Making up the numbers will be many owners of exotic racing machinery from years gone by, with motorcycles that have been lovingly restored and maintained by enthusiasts from the Historic Motorcycle Group, Classic Racing Club of SA and private teams.

Racing will start at 08:45 and continue well into the afternoon.