Friday, March 14, 2014

A Great Adventure - Part 2

The second week of our Cape Town trip was just as wild as the first and by the time we’d dried out from our antics on Saturday night it was time to head back to the track and draw our grids for the second meeting, where this time we would be competing in the faster Hot Rod class.  The car I’d been using had to go back to its owner for him to use so I had to swap cars for this one.  I was very lucky though as my new friend and drinking buddy Carlo offered to let me race his brand new car!  Once again I drew a mid-pack starting position for the races . . . unfortunately I didn’t seem to have taken the luck I have for grid draws in the UK with me!

Once again Monday was a pretty wild night and in their wisdom a lot of the guys found themselves agreeing to play netball for the Tygerberg Raceway netball team.  Somehow I managed to remain sensible and avoid getting myself roped into this . . .  something I’m glad about as it was much more fun watching them run around without a clue what the rules were!  Deane and I also managed to fill the time between games by going upstairs and pouring water over them to help them cool down.

Wednesday saw us heading out to practice and I couldn’t wait to give Carlo’s car a run.  It had a 2.0 litre 16v under the bonnet and felt a lot more like our cars here.  Instantly I felt much more at home and headed off to the bar afterwards feeling much happier.  Kym had carried out some pretty big changes to his car, Trevor’s car had been repaired, Deane had bagged himself another one, Paul and Stu kept the same ones and Hughie had managed to secure a car as well so we now had a team of seven.

It would have been rude to go halfway round the world and not go night clubbing so Thursday night saw Leone (the promoter’s daughter) take Stu, Kym, Smiffy and me to a club in Cape Town.  Everything in South Africa is really cheap and it’s easy to get carried away - something we seemed to do most nights!  Another good thing is that due to it being so hot at night you sweat all the drink out - leaving you hangover free in the morning!

Saturday saw us head off for our last meeting and it was also the hottest day of the trip with the heat rising to around 39 degrees in the middle of the day!  Carlo picked me up early and we headed off to get the car ready.  The bodies on the cars are held on with ten bolts and literally just come off in one piece.  My body had to be fitted onto his car and I went mad and bought a new set of tyres for us to use.

Because it was so hot they had to really water the track to make sure it would be ok to race on.  This was fine but it made the parade laps very hard work!  We managed to make a bit of a mess of it with all of us pointing in various directions and stuck at one point!

Carlo was also racing in the 2.1 class so the car had plenty of work to do on the night.  This, mixed with the fact that the track was wet, meant we were kept busy scraping mud off from underneath the car so it didn’t jam the wheels up and stop them from turning, and keeping the radiator clear so the car didn’t overheat.  I’ve never seen so much mud - it was piled up in great heaps everywhere.  Although I was much quicker than the first week I didn’t have any results to speak of.  Apart from Deane who was again unfortunate with engine problems we all managed to finish the races.  Kym drove a blinder in the final and came third, so collecting the third overall trophy and the international driver award.  Carlo also flew in his car collecting first place in the 2.1 class.  He’s won two more finals at different tracks since we have been home, showing that he really is the man to beat at the moment!

The night that followed for me was the best night of the holiday.  It was great seeing Kym get some silverware to bring home and the drink was flowing freely all night.  Everyone signed my overalls and they are something I will treasure forever.  When we arrived everyone said that we would watch the sun come up at the track and sure enough after partying all night I stood in the stands and watched the sunrise.  It was amazing.

I can honestly say that it was one of the best times of my life.  It was a fantastic holiday with a brilliant group of guys.  The racing was incredible and a fabulous experience . . . going sideways flat out is such a good feeling.  We met so many great people and have forged some lasting friendships.  The weather was brilliant and some of the nights will go down in history.  SAF Motorsport really went on tour!

I would like to say thank you to a few people – firstly to Leone and her dad Chris for everything they did for us and making the trip happen.  I know we must have been very hard work!  A special thank you to Carlo and Hilda for letting me use the car and for your hospitality; I just hope you can come to the UK and race my car now!  To everyone at Tygerberg Raceway for making us feel so welcome, Chris at Hyundai for the minibus and Herman for letting us cause complete chaos in your bar every night!  Also to Neville Loosemore and his family for flying down to support us both weekends.  Finally thanks to all the new friends we have made - you guys are awesome.  The only question now is “When will we be back?”

After pouring a bottle of wine over Deane one night I now have to spend the next year living in fear as I have no doubt there will be a very cold bucket of water heading my way at some point when I least expect it!

Thanks as ever for reading.

“Tot n volgende keer”


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