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One for the Boykies

21 August 2018

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough,” said racing driver Mario Andretti.

South Africa is a country of many legends. The book Saloon’s Bars and Boykies certainly presents a case for the revival of the glorious past of South African Motorsport.

In 1979 Jody Scheckter became South Africa’s only Formula 1 driver’s champion. In fact the only one from Africa.“We sacrificed everything to go racing,” he says in his forward to the book. “We prepared our own cars, making our own parts and sometimes driving through the night to be at the races,” reminisced Scheckter.

Bernie Ecclestone, the former F1 owner of the pinnacle motorsport event said, “Motor racing is at its core a sport fuelled by people, passion and ambition – elements so vividly depicted in this book.”

The return to Formula One racing for South Africa beckons. South African Motorsport, with a few exceptions, has not kept pace with globalisation. International racing did not leave us; we left it. This is the first sentence of the book authored by Greg Mills and his co-author Robert Young embellished with classic photographs by David Pearson.

Sarel van der Merwe, another icon of South African Motor racing who has competed as a driver for over fifty years remembers the enthusiasm of the fans who packed the stands despite it being televised live. After all motorsport is a spectator sport. The roar of the engines, the squeal of the tyres, the smell of burning rubber and combusting fuel is surely something to behold.

South Africa is clearly capable of hosting major events. The FIFA 2010 football world cup, the first to be hosted on the African continent, was one of the most successful world cups of all time. The Rugby World Cup of 1995 when Nelson Mandela lifted the trophy when the Springboks of South Africa won the much coveted Web Ellis trophy for the first time was unforgettable. South African athletes hold world records in athletics and swimming.

It seems that time to take a leap of faith confronts South Africans once again. To capture that miracle that once defined this nation, to connect with one another and revive that sassiness, glamour and celebrity that is uniquely South African.  After all, many of the major motor vehicle manufactures have established state of the art factories and plants here. The well-developed logistics and infrastructure coupled with a first world financial sector in a country world renowned for its natural mineral resource abundance can easily restore the sport of motor racing to its former glory and beyond.  

K Bhana



November/December 2018








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