20 May Festival to add to extreme legend
The 2017 South African Extreme Festival National Circuit Racing Championship roadshow heads to its third round at the East London Grand Prix Circuit — SA’s oldest and perhaps most prestigious race circuit, Saturday 20 May, and while the meeting offers a great day of racing for local and visiting race fans, there’s always an element of greatness about racing or spectating at the great Border track.
Next Saturday’s races will see National Championship showdowns between the likes of the on-form Gennaro Bonafede’s Sasol BMW and EP heroes, champion Michael Stephen and Simon Moss in the Engen Audis as well as the GTC2 Golfs, Minis and Hondas in Sasol Global Touring Cars, the best of SA’s future superstars in Engen Volkswagen Cup and Investec Formula 1600. There are also National Challenge races for the G&H Transport Extreme Supercars, Bridgestone Thunderbikes and Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 R Masters, along with an away race for the Gauteng Comsol VW Challenge, all of which will happen on hallowed ground…
The classic East London Grand Prix Circuit still runs on regular public roads and remains SA’s fastest racetrack with its long flat out run down through the imposing Potters Pass and Rifle Range bends and into the beachside Copabana corner, before heading back along though a twisty section along the coast road. It is a legend in the world of motorsport that stretches back to the 1930s.
Initially run on a circular road on the West Bank of East London playing host to the classic Border Hundred, the circuit hosted the first South African Grand Prix over six laps of a 23km course won by American millionaire Whitney Straight’s Maserati in front of 65000 spectators in 1934. The pre-war SA Grands Prix attracted the world’s finest racers to East London, including the legendary Auto Union Silver Arrows, but World War 2 saw a stop to that.
It took a while for grand prix racing to return to the current, shorter circuit on New years Day 1960, with the ’64, ’65 and final 1966 East London SA Grands Prix counting toward the world championship and fought out by the likes of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, John Surtees and Jack Brabham; driving Coopers, Lotus, BRM and Ferrari among others.
Today, 50 years down the line, the East London Grand Prix Circuit still plays a regular host to top SA National motorsport and Saturday 20 May should add more great history to an incredible legend and promises to be yet another great day’s racing at an idyllic and legendary location. Find out more at www.http://bmsc.co.za