Andre De Kock
Motorsport Editor
2 minute read
31 Jul 2014
10:00 am

Kyalami’s rich heritage: can the magic happen again?

Andre De Kock

Local motorsport enthusiasts heaved a sigh of relief last week when the Kyalami circuit was purchased by Porsche SA.

EVEN F1. In 1992, the South African Grand Prix filled Kyalami to capacity. Picture: Tony Alves

The deal erased many nightmares that the hallowed ground would become factory fodder.

RACER, OWNER. Toby Venter racing his Porsche at Kyalami in 1991, without any inkling he would one day own the place. Picture: Tony Alves

RACER, OWNER. Toby Venter racing his Porsche at Kyalami in 1991, without any inkling he would one day own the place. Picture: Tony Alves

Porsche SA boss Toby Venter sent out the right signals when he said the company planned to restore Kyalami to a spectator-friendly, happy place where families could enjoy racedays – as it has been in the past.

STANDARD CARS. The great spectacle of Stannic Group N racing in 1990  – the grid exceeded 60 cars. Picture: Tony Alves

STANDARD CARS. The great spectacle of Stannic Group N racing in 1990 – the grid exceeded 60 cars. Picture: Tony Alves

We fervently hope that Porsche and Toby succeed with their vision.

Meanwhile, we reflected on the fact that every fan has his or her favourite memory of the circuit.

BIKES. In 2002, Noriyuki Haga led the Yamaha team when the World Superbikes visited Kyalami. Picture: Tony Alves

BIKES. In 2002, Noriyuki Haga led the Yamaha team when the World Superbikes visited Kyalami. Picture: Tony Alves

And to aid in our reflections we delved into a collection of photographs by Tony Alves. He has trudged many, many kilometres behind a camera lens around Kyalami in its current form.

MOTORISED BULLET. World championship sports cars in 1988 – the Sabat Porsche 962 of Sarel van der Merwe and Jochen Dauer. Picture: Tony Alves

MOTORISED BULLET. World championship sports cars in 1988 – the Sabat Porsche 962 of Sarel van der Merwe and Jochen Dauer. Picture: Tony Alves

The pictures aren’t set out according to an exact timeline. And yes, we know Jody Scheckter won the South African Grand Prix in a Tyrrell at Kyalami some years before.

However, most of our readers will surely remember Kyalami better in its current form.

WILD SALOONS. WesBank Modified Saloon Cars in 1991  – rubber-fraying power – and the country's top drivers. Picture: Tony Alves

WILD SALOONS. WesBank Modified Saloon Cars in 1991 – rubber-fraying power – and the country’s top drivers. Picture: Tony Alves

People who still remember Crowthorne and Barbeque Corners are, like this writer, coffin dodgers. We probably won’t be around for much longer.

HEAVY METAL. In 1999, the Super Trucks came, causing a huge crowd to go completely hysterical. Picture: Tony Alves

HEAVY METAL. In 1999, the Super Trucks came, causing a huge crowd to go completely hysterical. Picture: Tony Alves

So we offer these memories to people who are still young and strong enough to visit Kyalami in the future.

We were there when all of these photographs were taken – maybe some of you were too.

CLOSE STUFF. Hellishly expensive, but good to watch – Stannic Touring Cars in 1994. Picture: Tony Alves

CLOSE STUFF. Hellishly expensive, but good to watch – Stannic Touring Cars in 1994. Picture: Tony Alves

Here’s to a new chapter in Kyalami’s story. May there be many more memories, come 2030.