Andre De Kock
Motorsport Editor
2 minute read
11 Jun 2014
2:00 pm

Kyalami to go under hammer

Andre De Kock

It is official: the Kyalami circuit will be sold on auction on July 24.

The event, to take place at Summer Place in Sandton, will mark the largest no reserve auction in SA’s history.

The High Street Auction Company have no doubts that the property will change hands.

According to Joff van Reenen, director and lead auctioneer, there have been numerous local enquiries, plus others from the US, London and Europe.

Apparently they are equally divided between investors who are looking at the development rights of the property itself, and buyers who are interested in owning a racetrack.

Motorsport enthusiasts will fervently hope that one of the latter ends up with the gate key.

To lose Kyalami as a racing venue will have dire consequences for local circuit racing.

The place carries an incredible amount of history, crafted on every one of its various guises over the years.

It would be unthinkable for the venue to become a suburb or a factory area, where once Jim Clark, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna raced.

It is true that Kyalami has been mismanaged over the last decade, but that should not mean a death sentence for the track.

If bought by people with the capital to fix it and run it properly, Kyalami could, in due course, again become a viable project.

Astute management is needed, someone who can find ways for the venue to generate income during the week.

That would include the running of driving schools, the use of the facilities as a bicycle track, plus attracting motor industry related businesses to the circuit.

First, of course, the new owners will have to fix the place, and replace the trust so uncaringly stomped into the ground by the current occupants.

As Kyalami comes under the hammer, other circuits in our country have their problems.

Encroaching suburbs threaten the future of the Western Cape Killarney circuit, the Aldo Scribante circuit near Port Elizabeth and the East London Grand Prix circuit.

I have always been aware of one sure fact: once a race circuit shuts down, it is lost forever.

The list is long and painful. Roy Hesketh, Brandkop, Dunswart, Wembley, WesBank Raceway, Lichtenburg.

I fervently hope we don’t add Kyalami on July 24.