BLAST FROM THE PAST: The international Formula Juniors provided close and exciting racing during their previous World Series visit to Killarney in 2008. Image: Colin Brown
Cape Town - The long anticipated South African legs of the Formula Junior Diamond Jubilee World Tour are expected to be among the highlights of the international Passion for Speed meetings at Zwartkops near Pretoria on January 30 and at Killarney on February 6.
These will be followed by their participation in a meeting on the old Grand Prix circuit in East London.
The Juniors then move on to Australia, before returning to Great Britain and Europe. The three-year tour that is the most comprehensive ever organized for a single world racing formula, continues to New Zealand and North America in 2017 before finishing in Europe and the Baltic Region the following year.
Famous circuits hosting the Juniors during their safari include Spa Francorchamps (Belgium), Monza (Italy), and Zandvoort (Holland), as well as Brands Hatch and Goodwood in Britain. The legendary Historic Festivals at Montery and Lime Rock in the United States are also on the Tour calendar.
While the Killarney entry list features a variety of British Lola, Merlyn, Cooper and Lotus models, Italy is represented by a de Tomaso and a Stanguellini, both of them powered by Fiat (naturally). There'll also going to be an Alfa Romeo-engined South African LDS on the starting grid.
All classes of racing
Many of the leading Junior drivers were at Killarney during their Golden Jubilee Tour in 2008 when the crowd was spellbound by their no-holds-barred, close racing.
Although the speed (and sound) of the Juniors is nowhere near that of their more illustrious Formula 1 counterparts, the close racing that was produced in the Cape in 2008, from a large field of expertly driven cars, had the appreciative crowd on the edge of their seats.
At this stage, the Killarney leg of the international Passion for Speed Series seems to be attracting a number of overseas entries for the other events on the programme. While many of the races are for Classic and older cars and motorcycles, it is not an exclusively Historic meeting.
There are also going to be events for current high speed Extreme Supercars, as well as pre ’74 International Sports Racing Prototypes and pre ’74 Trans-Ams.
Speedsters who could feature in an event of this nature include Jonathan du Toit (Ferrari F430), and Killarney’s own Johan Engelbrecht in a Porsche GT-2R.
Remember, the Cape driver who was only marginally behind the redoubtable Toby Venter’s similar model at the finish of a recent Zwartkops event, will have a home circuit advantage at Killarney.
While bike fans can look forward to seeing a vast array of historic international machinery, a starring role is certain to be accorded to a world championship MotoGP Ducati.
This awesome missile is going to be guided by its current owner Alan Walker or – better still – by the legendary Mick Grant. The Yorkshireman is a former Grand Prix rider and seven times winner of the iconic Isle of Man TT.
In his hands the Ducati should be able to set the Cape circuit’s fastest ever motorcycle lap time, and possibly even shatter the all-time circuit record.