One hundred and sixty four years after the Simon van der Stel Foundation was formed (8 April 1859) the oldest conservation lobby group in Cape Town, now known as the Cape Town Heritage Foundation, awarded the Killarney International Raceway a coveted Blue Plaque in recognition of it’s historically significant status.
Though the first motorsport event was hosted on the Old Potsdam road 1 March 1947 and one JL Craig set an astonishing time 22.6seconds quarter mile time in his 1250cc MG TC. Then the circuit became reality in 1951, growing to 1.65km in length by 1955.
Ambitious plans saw the inaugural Cape Grand Prix hosted on a proper 3.267km F1 Grand Prix circuit 17 December 1960. Sadly the traditional Cape Doctor (south easterly wind) wreaked havoc and the event was not a financial success.
From mistakes greater things grow and though the second attempt was again unsuccessful financially Adrian Pheiffer created the Cape Motor Show which also led to the Cape Helldrivers at Goodwood Showgrounds. All debts were paid, but why the circuit was not returned to the WPMC remains something of a mystery.
76 Years later and the Killarney International Raceway has become folklore in the Western Cape and there is a new Cape Town Heritage Foundation Blue Plaque to view near Table Mountain.
Alderman JP Smith (City of Cape Town MAYCO Member for Safety and Security) unveiled the Blue Plaque on the Control Tower after a brief function in the WPMC Clubhouse.
Lauren Jacobs (Cape Town heritage Foundation) explained the international value of the Cape Town Heritage Foundation Blue Plaque and it is truly international! It also entails a long and thorough evaluation process before such an award is made, hence the fact that this is a truly prestigious award.
Number crunchers will be quick to speculate on what it would cost to relocate a superb sporting facility such as the Killarney International Raceway, but no amount of money can ever relocate it’s historic value, essentially built by unique personalities such as Adrian Pheiffer and Denis Joubert.
Simply walk into the foyer of the WPMC Clubhouse and spend some time reading the names on the Honour Scrolls to start appreciating how many dedicated people contributed towards building this history. And there are many more!
Generations of families have grown from the Old Potsdam drag strip to what is today a truly International standard Raceway and it is not simply a place where cars race in circles, it is a South African heritage site representing Cape Town internationally.
International drivers, teams and our own legends such as Sarel van der Merwe, Giniel de Villiers and Serge Damseaux to name but a few.
J.L. Craig set the scene with a 22. 6 second run and added overall victory at the 1937, 1938 and 1939 Camps Bay Hillclimb
John Craig would add the:
1980 WP 100cc Motorcycle Championship on a Suzuki A100
1989 Group N Western Province and Coastal Championships with an unbeaten record and lap records at every circuit visited with the Mazda EGi 1600.
1989 Western Province Colours
1997 & 98 Group N Class A Championships in the mighty Nissan Maxima 3.0.
John Craig Jnr then became the
2010 Western Province Clubmans Karting Champion
2013 Western Province Clubmans Junior Champion
2013 Western Province Colours
Present at the function was John Craig and John Craig Jnr.
Executive Manager, Desmond Easom, provided the audience with an informative presentation before joining Alderman JP Smith and Lauren Jacobs on stage for a question and answer session.
Master of Ceremony, Ricky Schroeder of Smile 90.4Fm, introduced Larry Soffer and now Gavin Cerff, Arlene Brown and Patrick Vermaak will never be the same again as the popular Mentalist proceeded to do what most of us believe cannot be done!
Making the impossible possible have always featured well at Killarney!
To the next 76 years
Published by: Patrick Vermaak
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