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|S o u t h A f r i c a n
F O R M U L A O N E C H A M P I O N S H I P
I was born and brought up in Milnerton, a suburb of Cape Town, a few kilometers from the Killarney motor racing circuit. As a youngster, I used to cycle to Killarney to watch as many of the races as I could.
|The most memorable races were the Cape 3-Hour events, a round of the Springbok Series for ‘big banger’ sports cars, held from 1966 to 1973, which attracted most of the top ‘works’ teams to the Kyalami 9-Hour, at least. The ‘works’ teams rarely came to Killarney but many of the top privateers competed in the full series.
I still have vivid memories of the race in 1967, with the Lola T70 Mk IIIs driven by Paul Hawkins and Mike D’Udy, the Ford GT40s of David Prophet and Ed Nelson, the Lola T70 of Doug Serrurier (sponsored by Wall's ice-cream, with “Stop me and buy one” painted across the back of the spoiler!), the Ferrari 330P3/P4 of David Piper and the Porsche 906 of Tony Dean. The race was an epic battle between Hawkins and D’Udy from start to finish, but 15 minutes before the end, with D’Udy leading, the engine threw a rod and burst into flames.
|Killarney motor racing circuit near Cape Town, South Africa|
|South African F1 Racing 1968 – 1975: “The Tobacco Wars”
South Africa used to have a national Formula One championship series and Killarney hosted two or three rounds each year. The F1 cars made a huge impact on me as a teenager, especially when compared to the family Mini! The South African National Formula One Championship series started in 1961, with a class for F5000 cars being included in 1968, the year that commercial sponsorship in motor racing in South Africa took off in a big way.
The Gunston Cigarette Company of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, introduced tobacco sponsorship to motor racing when they sponsored Rhodesian drivers John Love and Sam Tingle for the 1968 SA National Championship series. The first time Formula One cars appeared in a Grand Prix with cigarette sponsorship was the 1968 South African Grand Prix, where both John Love's Brabham BT20–Repco and Sam Tingle's LDS Mk3B wore Gunston livery. The next race of the 1968 F1 World Championship was the Spanish Grand Prix, the first time that Team Lotus cars entered a Grand Prix in Gold Leaf cigarette livery, although their cars had appeared in Gold Leaf colours during the 1968 Tasman Series, held after the SAGP, where Jim Clark and Graham Hill drove Lotus 49T's in Gold Leaf Team Lotus livery mid way through the series.
|John Love, 1968 South African Grand Prix, Brabham BT20-Repco|
|Gunston and multiple South African Champion John Love developed a long-standing relationship. Following the 1968 South African Grand Prix, Gunston bought the Lotus 49 driven by Graham Hill to 2nd place, and the Brabham BT24 Repco with which Jochen Rindt finished 3rd. In the SA national series for F1 and F5000 cars, Love campaigned the Lotus, winning the 1968 title, with Tingle finishing 3rd in the points with the Brabham, behind the Lola T140 F5000 car of Jackie Pretorius.|
|John Love, 1968 SA Formula One Championship, Lotus 49|
|South African saloon car driver Basil Van Rooyen got his first taste of single-seater racing when he competed in the 1968 South African Grand Prix, entered by John Love to drive the ageing Cooper Climax T79 (in which Love so nearly won the 1967 SAGP). For the 1968 SA national series Van Rooyen drove a STP sponsored Team Lawson Brabham BT24 Repco, winning the Natal Winter Trophy and finishing second in the Republic Trophy, Rand Winter Trophy and Rand Spring Trophy races.|
|Basil Van Rooyen, 1968 SA Formula One Championship, Brabham BT24 Repco|
|For the 1969 season, Team Lawson obtained McLaren M7A/1 and Basil Van Rooyen promptly won the opening race of the series, the Cape South Easter Trophy at Killarney, as well as winning the Coronation "100" at Roy Hesketh. Team Lawson entered Van Rooyen in the 1969 SAGP, where he qualified 9th, just behind the works car of Bruce McLaren and ahead of Beltoise (Matra MS10), Siffert (Lotus 49B), Ickx (Brabham BT26) and the works BRM's of Oliver, Rodriguez and Surtees. He retired early in the race with brake problems.
In the SA series, Van Rooyen finished 2nd in the Rand Autumn Trophy at Kyalami to Love's Gunston Lotus 49, but unfortunately crashed heavily in practice for the Republic Trophy Races at Kyalami in May. It put an end to his season and practically finished his racing career. The McLaren M7A broke in half when it hit the crash barriers at over 150 mph, flinging Van Rooyen from the car when the seat belts broke. A deflated tyre or suspension failure was thought to be the cause of the crash. Love went on to win the 1969 title in his Lotus 49.
|1969 was the era of high wings. Love in the Team Gunston Lotus "bi-plane" and Van Rooyen in the McLaren M7A|
|Aldo Scribante, the owner of a construction company, was an ardent motor racing enthusiast who sponsored a number of South African drivers under his "Scuderia Scribante" banner, including a the Brabham BT11 campaigned by Dave Charlton from 1966 to 1969. For the 1970 season, Scribante bought Jo Bonnier's Lotus 49B (chassis number R8) and had it upgraded to 49C specifications, which Charlton used to good effect to win the SA National title from John Love that year. Charlton drove the car in the 1970 South African Grand Prix under the "Scuderia Scribante" banner, being classified 12th, although he failed to finish the race.|
|Dave Charlton, 1970 SA Championship, Lotus 49B. The car was upgraded to 49C specifications|
|Following the 1970 SAGP, Charlton was able to secure sponsorship from South Africa's United Tobacco Company. Gunston was the main rival of United Tobacco's Lucky Strike cigarette brand and this saw the start of the "tobacco wars" in SA motor sport. Lucky Strike's entry into SA motor sport resulted in a long-term association with Charlton, his Lotus 49C first appearing in Lucky Strike colours at the Coronation "100" held on 30th March 1970. With the team renamed "Scribante Lucky Strike Racing", Charlton went on to win his first South African National Championship.|
|Scribante Lucky Strike Racing Lotus 49C|
|Midway through the 1970 season, Gunston obtained a brand new March 701 (chassis 701/10) for John Love, replacing the Lotus 49, and the Cosworth powered Brabham BT26A/1 campaigned in the 1969 Grand Prix season by Piers Courage, for Sam Tingle. After the first race of the season, Pieter de Klerk took over the Team Gunston seat from Tingle, who retired from racing. Love debuted the March 701 in the Bulawayo 100, which he won, but the car was plagued with problems, retiring from four of the five remaining races.|
|John Love, Team Gunston March 701|
|Love started the 1971 season with the March, which included an entry in that year's SAGP, but the car continued to prove unreliable. Despite beating Charlton's Lotus 49C in the Goldfields Autumn Trophy, Gunston decided to replace the March with a Surtees TS9, which was to be even less competitive than the March, in time for the Bulawayo 100. Unfortunately, Love crashed the Surtees heavily just three races later in the 25th Anniversary Trophy race at Kyalami, the car wedging itself between the barriers at Clubhouse Corner after a tyre burst. Thereafter Team Gunston brought the March out of retirement and Love raced it right up to January 1972, winning the 1971 False Bay 100 and the 1971 Rhodesian Grand Prix. Jackie Pretorius took over Team Gunston's Brabham BT26 for 1971, beating Love to take 2nd place at the Bulawayo 100 and Republic Festival Trophy races, both of which were won by Charlton, and winning the Natal Winter Trophy race after Charlton retired from the lead.|
|John Love, Team Gunston Surtees TS9|
|For the 1971 South African Grand Prix, Lucky Strike sponsored Charlton to drive a works Brabham BT33-Cosworth, alongside works driver Graham Hill. Despite out qualifying Hill (19th), Charlton (12th) was unable to raise the sponsorship for a full world championship season with Brabham but managed instead to persuade Lucky Strike to pay for a Lotus 72 for the remainder of the 1971 South African season.|
|Dave Charlton driving the Lucky Strike sponsored 'works' Brabham BT33 in the 1971 SA GP.|
|Before bringing the Lotus 72 to South Africa, Charlton entered the 1971 Dutch and British GP's, under the Gold Leaf Team Lotus banner alongside regular GLTL drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and Reine Wisell. The car was then shipped to South Africa, where it was painted in Lucky Strike livery and driven by Charlton to his second national title.|
|Dave Charlton, Lotus 72|
|Charlton kept the Lotus 72 for the 1972 season and went on to win his third SA national title. He also had a brief foray into Europe, entering the Lotus 72 in the French, British and German world championship rounds. He failed to qualify for the French Grand Prix but in the British Grand Prix, Charlton was competitive against the likes of Niki Lauda, before retiring with gearbox problems. Lucky Strike also sponsored South African national series driver Eddie Keizan's F5000 Surtees TS5A in 1972, when F5000 cars were included in the national series.|
|Eddie Keizan, F5000 Surtees TS5A|
|Although he drove the March 701 in the 1972 opening Cape South Easter race, Love's Team Gunston Surtees TS9 was rebuilt for the 1972 season, but after a DNF in the Highveld 100 and spinning out of the SAGP, he opted to drive the Team Gunston Brabham BT33 which had been acquired for Willie Ferguson, Jackie Pretorius having decided to drive a F5000 car instead. With two wins and four second places, Love finished 2nd to Charlton in the championship.|
|The 1973 championship series included a class for Formula 2 cars, along with the F1 and F5000 machinery. Team Gunston opted for a F2 Chevron B25 FVC for John Love, with Lucky Strike retaining the Lotus 72D for Charlton. Lucky Strike's involvement further extended to sponsoring the ex-Jackie Stewart/Patrick Depailler Tyrrell 004 for Eddie Keizan, entered by Alex Blignaut, and a March 721 for Meyer Botha.
Driving the Lucky Strike Lotus 72 in the 1973 South African Grand Prix, Charlton was dicing closely with Clay Reggazoni (BRM) and Mike Hailwood (Surtees), when the three cars collided and crashed. Reggazoni lay unconscious in his burning car until Hailwood rescued him from the blazing wreck, for which he was awarded the George Medal for Bravery by Her Majesty the Queen. In the SA Championship, Charlton went on to win his fourth SA title.
|Eddie Keizan, Lucky Strike Tyrrell 004|
|With John Love having retired at the end of 1973, Team Gunston obtained the two 1973 works Team Lotus 72's for Ian Scheckter, Jody's elder brother, and Paddy Driver for the 1974 season.|
|Keizan's Tyrrell was painted in UTC's Embassy cigarette brand colours for the 1974 season, while they obtained a McLaren M23 for Charlton to race in Lucky Strike colours. The 1974 SAGP saw a strong contingent of South African privateers enter: Charlton in the McLaren M23, Keizan in the Tyrrell and Scheckter and Driver in the Gunston Lotus 72E's. Later in the season, Scheckter was able to obtain a drive with Hesketh in the 1974 Austrian Grand Prix, as team mate to James Hunt. However, he failed to qualify, while team leader Hunt managed 3rd. Charlton won his fifth successive SA national title in 1974.|
|Keizan's Tyrrell 004 was sponsored by UTC's Embassy cigarette brand for 1974|
|Dave Charlton, Lucky Strke McLaren M23|
|For 1975 Alex Blignaut obtained Tyrrell 007/1, Jody Scheckter's ex-works car, which was sponsored by Lexington cigarettes for Ian Scheckter. Scheckter recorded a string of victories in the SA national series that year, but Charlton's more consistent finishes saw him clinch his 6th successive title with the Lucky Strike McLaren M23. The 1975 SAGP saw entries from Lucky Strike Racing (Dave Charlton, McLaren M23), Lexington Racing (Ian Scheckter, Tyrrell 007) and Team Gunston (Eddie Keizan, Lotus 72D and Guy Tunmer, Lotus 72D). In the World Championship series, Ian Scheckter had two one-off drives with Williams in 1975, in the Swedish and Dutch GPs, crashing the Williams FW01 in the Swedish race and finishing 12th at Zandvoort, 5 laps behind race winner James Hunt's Hesketh.|
|Ian Scheckter, Lexington Tyrrell 007|
|Eddie Keizan, Team Gunston Lotus 72D|
|Due to spiralling costs, the SA national championship series switched to Formula Atlantic cars for 1976. Adapting well to the less powerful Formula Atlantic machinery, the 1976 season was the beginning of Ian Scheckter’s reign as the South African Drivers Champion. The Formula Atlantic series ran for 10 years, during which time the leading contenders, aside from Ian Scheckter, included Tony Martin and Graham Duxbury (winners of the 1984 Daytona 24 Hours along with Sarel Van Der Merwe) and Wayne Taylor (a successful IMSA and WSPC driver who won the LMP1 class for Cadillac at Le Mans in 1998 and has also won at Daytona and Sebring, as well as winning the IMSA series in 1994 and 1996).|
|Sarel Van Der Merwe, Tony Martin and Graham Duxbury won the 1984 Daytona 24 Hours|
|Mention should be made of Ian Scheckter's period as a March works driver in 1977, during which he drove a March 761B with sponsorship from Rothmans International. March entered Ian Scheckter in 14 GPs that year but he only finished in three, his best placing being 11th in the Spanish GP.|
|Ian Scheckter, March 761B|
|In 1977 March built the 6-wheel 240 car (two wheel steering, four wheel drive, zero differential), which had four wheels at the rear. Scheckter practiced the 240/771 for the 1977 Brazilian GP, the only time it appeared in six-wheel trim at a GP meeting. After further testing, both Ian Scheckter and Alex-Dias Riberio felt that there was nothing to be gained from the twin rear wheels and the car was converted to four wheels, being raced at the end of the season as the 771. At the end of the year March pulled out of Grand Prix racing; the car was sold to British Hill Climb specialist Roy Lane, who asked for the car to be re-built in its original 6 wheel form. Lane promptly won the opening two rounds of the British Hill Climb Championship in the 240. Nevertheless, like Scheckter, Lane didn't think the six wheels gave him any real advantage; it was soon put back on four and went on to win the British Hill Climb Championship.|
|Ian Scheckter testing the 6-wheeled March 240/771|
|Both Gunston and Lucky Strike also sponsored many of the cars entered for the Springbok Series, such as David Piper's Porsche 917 in the 1970 Kyalami 9-Hour (Team Gunston, Love / Attwood)) and both Piper-entered 917s in the 1971 Kyalami 9-Hour in Lucky Strike Racing colours, driven by Charlton / Attwood and Casoni / Adamowicz.|
|John Love: A Tribute|
|Rhodesian-born John Love was one of South Africa's greatest ever racing drivers. Love started racing at the age of 19 on a Zundapp motorcycle, but switched to single seaters and went to Europe where he did some races for Ken Tyrrell.
Unfortunately, a crash resulted in a badly broken arm, requiring a bone graft from a hip and he returned home. Ken Tyrrell wanted him to come back to Europe to drive for him but he didn't go, because he didn't think his arm was going to be good enough for a full season of racing. It was the end of the 1965 season and Bruce McLaren was racing a Cooper Climax, an ex works car, which Love obtained and brought out to Rhodesia and latterly raced in South Africa. Later he bought a Tasman Cooper, also from Bruce McLaren, in which he'd been competing in the Tasman series
|Love was a privateer entry for the 1967 SA Grand Prix in the old car which was painted black and white when he got it directly from New Zealand. He had the car painted in Cooper colours, as a throwback to the days with Ken Tyrrell when he ran the Cooper works team in Formula Junior. Love had been racing the Tasman Cooper in the Rhodesian Formula 1 series that year, but the rules were slightly different. The Grands Prix cars were heavier and they carried more fuel, so he had an extra side-tank fitted. At 43 years of age, Love was one of oldest driver on the grid (Sam Tingle was 3 years older). The rest is history. Leading for 25-laps and with only seven laps to go, Love dived into the pits for more fuel; despite having an extra fuel tank on the Tasman-spec car, the fuel pump wasn't working properly! Rodriguez took the lead, with Love emerging from the pits half a minute later. Although Love tried valiantly to catch Rodriguez again, setting his fastest lap of the race and third fastest overall, it was not enough. Rodriguez recorded Cooper's last Grand Prix victory by just over 20 seconds.|
|John Love, 1967 South African Grand Prix. 2nd place.|
|In 1968 John Love and the Gunston cigarette company forged a long standing relationship. In addition to the South African National Championship, Gunston also backed some of the sports racing cars which used to come out to South Africa for the end of season Springbok Series, especially for the Rand Daily Mail 9-Hour endurance race. John Love paired with the likes of Paul Hawkins, Brian Redman, Richard Attwood, Helmut Marko and Peter Gethin, always acquitting himself well alongside the international stars.
The nine hours endurance race was first held in 1958 on the old Grand Central track and was won by Ian Fraser-Jones and Tony Ferguson, driving a Porsche Speedster Carrera. John Love and George Pfaff were second in Pfaff’s Austin-Healey 100, despite losing a number plate! According to Autosport: "John Love of Rhodesia lost his number plate part way down the straight, halted, dashed across the track in font of an oncoming bunch to retrieve it, and proceeded to the pits to replace it". (Marius Matthee, The Last Rhodesian Hero)
The 1959 race was won by Hugh Carrington and Chris Ferguson (Dart-Climax), with John Love and Dawie Gous winning in 1960 and 1961 with a Porsche 550 Spyder. He shared a Piper Ferrari GTO with Peter de Klerk in 1964, finishing second to Piper and Maggs, driving a Ferrari 275LM. In 1965 he co-drove Peter Sutcliffe's Ford P40 GT/112 in the 9-Hours, but failed to finish. For 1966, Love teamed-up with Mike Spence to drive Piper's Ferrari 250LM, finishing 6th.
|John Love, Ford P40, 1965 (DNF)|
|Love finished the 1967 Kyalami 9-Hours in second place driving a Lola T70 Mk.III Chev with Paul Hawkins.|
|Paul Hawkins/John Love (Lola T70 Mk.3 Chev SL73/112), 1967|
|The newly- formed Team Gunston entered the 1968 Kyalami 9-Hours for the first time and Love again teamed up with Hawkins, finishing 3rd in the Ferrari 350P 'Can-Am'.|
|Paul Hawkins/John Love (Ferrari 350P 0858), 1968|
|In the 1969 event, John Love and Brian Redman drove the Team Gunston Lola T70 Mk.3B SL76/138 (DNF).|
|John Love, Lola T70 Mk.IIIB, 1969|
|For 1970 Team Gunston sponsored the mighty David Piper Porsche 917/010 for John Love and Richard Attwood (DNF).|
|John Love, Porsche 917, 1970|
|In 1971 he finished 5th with Helmut Marko (Lola T212) and again finished 5th in 1972 with Peter Gethin (Chevron B21 Ford).|
|John Love, Chevron B21, 1972|
|Having retired, John Love did not enter the 1973 nine hour event, which was won by Reinhold Jöst/Herbert Müller (Porsche 908/03). The fuel crisis ended the 1973 Springbok Series after just two rounds, the Kyalami 9-Hours and the Cape 3-Hours (Killarney). After a long struggle with cancer, at the age of 80, John Love, 6-times South African motor racing champion, passed away at his home in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on the 25th of April, 2005.|
|Jody Scheckter: 1979 World Champion|
|Anything written about South African F1 racing would not be complete without mention of Jody Scheckter, South Africa's only Formula One World Champion. Scheckter began his career in go-karts at the age of twelve, moving onto motorbikes and then saloon cars at eighteen. Campaigning in a Renault R8, he recorded numerous class wins until his racing had to be put on hold as he was called up for national service.
In 1971 he competed in the SA Formula Ford "Sunshine Series", which he won driving a Lola T200. Scheckter's prize was the “South African Driver to Europe” award and later in 1971 he found himself in England. In a short Formula Ford career he spun away potential race wins and gained a reputation as being wild. The same year he moved onto Formula 3 with an uncompetitive EMC but impressed sufficiently to be offered a works Merlyn drive.
|Scheckter in Formula Ford Merlyn in 1971|
|By the end of 1971 he was winning regularly and was noticed by McLaren, who signed him up for a Formula 2 season in 1972.|
|McLaren M21, 1972|
|Despite promising outings the Formula 2 McLaren was unreliable and Scheckter's only win was the Greater London Trophy at Crystal Palace. McLaren offered him his Grand Prix debut at the final race in 1972, the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, where he finished ninth.|
|McLaren M19A, 1972 USGP|
|In 1973 McLaren's F1 drivers were Denny Hulme and Peter Revson, with Scheckter being given an occasional third car to drive in selected races. Although always fast in qualifying, his five race Grand Prix season were a series of mishaps and accidents, the most remarkable being a spin on the second lap of the British GP in which he wiped out half the field, fortunately without serious injury to anyone.|
|McLaren M23, 1973 British Grand Prix|
|In complete contrast to his Grand Prix season, Scheckter won the L&M F5000 Championship in the USA driving a Sid Taylor-entered Trojan.|
|1973 L&M F5000 Championship winning Trojan|
|Scheckter also competed successfully in the Can-Am series, driving a mighty Porsche 917K Turbo.|
|Can Am Porsche 917/10 Turbo|
|In 1974, Scheckter was signed on by Ken Tyrrell, following Jackie Stewart’s retirement, where he achieved his first two Grand Prix victories at Sweden and Britain, taking a well deserved third place in the World Championship.|
|1974 SAGP, Tyrrell 006|
|The 1975 season was less successful, Scheckter's only victory being at home in that year's South African Grand Prix.|
|1975 SAGP, Tyrrell 007|
|Jody and team-mate Patrick Depailler were given the Tyrrell P34 six-wheeler for the 1976 season. Scheckter was never keen on the car although he did score the P34’s only victory, the Swedish Grand Prix. Throughout the season he managed consistent placings, once again finishing third in the championship.|
|1976 Tyrrell P34|
|With Tyrrell intent on running the P34 for the 1977 season, Scheckter decided to move to the new Wolf team, winning first time out in Argentina. Victory at Monaco and Canada, along with three other top finishes, gave him second in the championship to Niki Lauda.|
|1977 Monaco, Wolf WR1|
|The 1978 Wolf was not a good car and proved unreliable, Scheckter having a spate of retirements. He nevertheless managed to finish 2nd in the German Grand Prix and 3rd in the British Grand Prix.|
|1978 Wolf WR5|
|With an offer from Ferrari for 1979, Jody could achieve his ambition. Although a non-starter in the first race at Argentina and tyre trouble at Watkins Glen, over thirteen races he scored three wins, three seconds, four fourths, one fifth, one sixth and one seventh place to win the championship in style, with victory at Monza in a Ferrari.|
|1979 Ferrari 312T3|
|The 1980 Ferrari was not a successful car, with even team-mate Gilles Villeneuve seemingly incapable of getting the car to perform properly. At the age of 30, Scheckter announced his retirement and left to start a new life in America, outside motor racing.|
|From 109 Grand Prix starts, Jody Scheckter scored 10 victories, 3 poles, 5 fastest laps and one World Champion title.|
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