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Noise row - Killarney responds

2013-06-11 09:44

RACING LEGACY: Peter Burroughes, father of SA motoring journalist Peter and member of the exclusive BRDC (British Racing Drivers Club), is seen here in 1952, preparing for a drag race at Killarney in his Boffin Special. Image: WPMC


Every few years residents near Killarney Race Track in Cape Town complain about the noise pollution coming from the track. Watch the video!


CAPE TOWN - In June 2013, Wheels24 reported that eNews Channel Africa (ENCA) spoke to some residents who had a difficult time dealing with noise from the Killarney Motor Racing Complex in Cape Town during race days and nights.

A *motorsport driver shared their perspective on the noise row but reckoned organisers, authorities and spectators should take responsibility for the alleged problem.

Watch the video

A former Killarney chairman, ADRIAN PHEIFFER, responds to the anonymous SA motorsport driver:

PHEIFFER says: "The letter from the “motorsport driver” (referred to as *MI for the purpose of this article) cited the reasons for anonymity as the fear of being banned from competing by MSA, “as competitors are not allowed to speak out against any club, organiser or fellow competitor without using the appropriate MSA and/or club channel".


Since any competitor’s accusations can only lead to a banning order if they are blatantly untrue or seen to be bringing motorsport into disrepute, the driver’s reasoning is questionable.

The driver has obviously given the problem serious thought and arrived at some interesting observations, yet in some ways displays a surprising lack of knowledge. For that reason I’m going into the background.

Firstly MI, stop referring to it as circuit - Killarney is a motorsport complex. It’s ironic that when the Cape Divisional Council allowed the Mets club to take over a section of the main road to Malmesbury, that had been bypassed in 1949, this stretch was initially used exclusively for drag racing (they were called speed trials in those days).  

The strip was on the Potsdam Outspan, an overnight stopover in the 19th century, when it was a two day wagon journey from Cape Town. Table View was on the map when the Mets began work but had not yet been developed and was mainly Port Jackson trees, sand dunes and wetland.    

When the first of the four circuits that followed was built, sponsorship hadn’t been invented. The club had no money and members carried out most of the manual labour themselves during weekend work parties. Contractors were only called in for the finishing touches.


As a complex, we have since promoted circuit events for all types of cars and motorcycles, organised rallies, motocross, karting, drag, stock-car and supermotard racing. The track has been divided into a main circuit, a short circuit (1.6km), stock-car oval and two drag strips  one of which  is currently in use).

It also has a kart circuit and a motocross track that is not operational at the moment. Ironically (again), it was only the two main-circuit Cape Grands Prix that were run at a meaningful financial loss. OK, there were reasons. Like the inclement weather, state of the recently completed GP circuit and the cost of the international entries.

We then hired the Cape Show Grounds, staged a mammoth Argus Motor Show and “invented” modern stock-car racing. Top drivers such as John Love, Doug Serruier, Jackie Pretorius and Bernie Marriner were among the stars that helped attract record crowds.

They all came at their own expense (we never gave them a cent). They offered their services because they knew we needed help. It was a wonderful display of esprit de corps.   

So in the end it was mainly the stock-car base that resulted in us being able to repay our debts.


The Cape Peninsula Motorcycle and Car Club (CPMCC) was the only motor club in Cape Town until the bikers, who felt they weren’t getting a fair shake, broke ranks in the 1930’s and formed the Mets - the club that later nailed the Killarney deal. 

Other specialised clubs were then formed over the years until eventually, once the smoke had cleared after the motor show, it was decided to amalgamate them into a single unit that catered for every type of enthusiast, gave them a home and was able to present a united front.

It was NEVER meant to be a refuge for just one section of the motorsport populace.

"The result of that forward thinking is that today the Western Province Motor Club (WPMC) is the only motor club in South Africa with a comprehensive motorsport complex of its own and independently operated for the benefit of its members.    

MI claims the circuit organisers, are ‘as guilty as sin’. Wrong! They are motorsport, not circuit, organisers. The person further claims the club’s motivation is financial. Wrong!

The club’s motivation is the promotion of motorsport. To ensure this, it has to be financially viable. Any profit is funnelled straight back into the sport. On that subject, the straight-line racing attracts more spectators than Regional main circuit events.

The circuit brings in a considerable amount of additional revenue in many other ways.        


The driver said the huge retaining wall is not going to make Table View residents happy. Maybe not, but it is an indication of our ultimate intention. Construction of that wall began years ago, long before there was any real pressure on the WPMC to act.  


The driver has admitted to modifying and competing successfully in a relatively silent car. Full credit goes to the driver’s foresight. Here’s my take on that one:

Some years ago when the Cape Hell Drivers brought out an English stock-car team, I was amazed at how quiet the cars were. Answering the obvious question, their manager told me that most of the best British ovals were in London’s built-up suburbia and there was no way they were allowed to make a noise there.

The punch line was that the lack of sound from the visitors was matched by the shocked silence from the grandstands as well, as the Brits blew the pants off the locals.

Makes you think doesn’t it?           

Finally, I agree unreservedly with MI about being a good neighbour, taking whatever steps are necessary and all of us working together to solve the problem.

*MI = Miss Informed."

*The motorsport driver has requested anonymity but is known to

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