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The African 6 Hours - Race Gallery
Photography by Oliver Hirtenfelder
     

Southern Chevrolet. The Bow Tie is a popular brand in the Republic. Roger Pearce prepares to prepare the grid.
 
Porsche Pros. Two of the old 911 clan were among the first to make the call to the grd.
 
Sun on the Grid. The Panoz is a welcome sight to many sports car racing fans.
     

Lions of the Front. The two prominent sports-racers in the contest, the Pilbeam of Duncan Vos and Francis Carruthers in the Juno lead the formation lap. Six hours later they finished 1-2—the white car in front.
 
Porsches Rear and Front. The more traditional 911 of Dino Scribante leads a Porsche classic of a different strip, the 944 Turbo Cup of Charl Arangies.
 
Sly old Fox. Historic models weren’t limited to Porsches as evidenced by this Datsun 1200.
     

Youthful Bravado. The Panoz and the TVR, here with Darryn Lobb aboard, represented contemporary GT technology.
 
So 1970s. One can be forgiven when looking at Barry Sprigs in the Ford Escort if this were not a South African race of some 40 years ago.
 
Top Drawer RSR. It is arguable whether this car of Peter Jenkins or the number 911 was the best of the older Porsche performers.
     

Lead 911. The expertise of VLN veterans Frank Nöhring and Michael Tischner showed as they led the race overall in the middle stages.
 
Jedi Warrior. A driver change between Peter Jenkins and Mike Altona—their Porsche could have contended for the podium had not driveshaft problems thwarted the effort.
 
German Efficiency. Both of the cars entered by Team Puschavez enjoyed largely trouble-free runs, making for a series of routine stops.
     

Power Source. Note the Ford decals. American entered Panoz frequently emphasize the Elan modifications to the motor while here in South Africa the Blue Oval is proudly displayed.
 
Ongoing Experiment. The African 6 Hours marked the revival for endurance racing in South Africa. The circuit is just about the right spot. The size of the grid is about right too. Some work still needs to be done about reliability and the mix of cars.
 
Gravity Racing International. The old 910 had fuel system issues all day with the crew going to no ends to solve the problem. Moving the filler tank right next to the car was one such attempt.
     

Back of the Backdraft. While central Free State is not all that scenic, it is a pleasant and low-key venue, a perfect setting for racing.
 
Facelifts. None of the vintage 911s were truly original. Each had bodywork and engine modifications bringing them closer to a current standing.
 
Locost, High Value. By far the most exuberant bunch was the close-knot group of Lotus 7 type cars. They helped each other prepare the cars, race each other’s tails off, and then enjoyed a tasty brai (South African barbecue). This is Estelle Vermooten’s home-built Locost type Seven.
     

Putting the Golf. The de Lange / Paynter / Nortje VW was a distant finisher yet was the highest placed Touring Car.
 
Noise to Speed Ratio. Having a wonderful old 910 in a modern endurance race ensured that it attracted ample attention—but it was for all the wrong reasons. Its fuel issues meant that the car ran loud and sputtery, and slow—but the team enthusiastically plowed forward and finished.
 
911 911 calling 911. Thanks in part to a lull in the battle between the sports racers, the old Porsche led until having to making a long stop.
     

Fade to Purple. The Scribante team finished a fine 5th overall. Their splash of color enlivened the scene each lap, particularly as the sun began to lower.
 
Second Seven. This is an example of one of the Birkin built Lotus Replicas. It was second of the four of the type at race’s end.
 
Bridesmaid. Worldwide, the Juno is a popular marque in CN class racing circles. Although it didn’t have the legs of the winning Pilbeam, Carruthers / Adcock / Englebrecht had a trouble-free run.
     

Number 4 was Number 3. The third place finished 993 RSR of Bezuidenhout / du Toit was by far the newest of the Porsche breed. It is of 1990s vintage.
 
Fast at Last. It took hours of diagnosing the fuel issues but owner Steve Pickering was happy just to finish and proud that the late race lap times were reasonably competitive.
 
In front of the Lion Litter. The second place Juno leads the often smoky Toyota. The circuit has ample facilities as can be seen. A bit of sprucing up and Phakisa is ready for prime time.
     

Late and Last. The lowly Datsun 1200 carried a much newer two-liter motor. It was a very late entry at the race and took some time getting dialed in. Running near the back of the pack it did finish but was one of the few cars to be stranded for a while out on course with mechanical problems.
 
Into the African Sunset. The sun drops down quickly and with some majesty in Africa, enough so that the once colorful Porsche is nearly as pale as the white Lotus.
 
Rattling the Buildings. The Backdrafts sounded merely “ok”—but the real V8 rumble from the 11th place Panoz.
     

Somewhat Slowed. Losing the rear engine cover cost some time, but the 10 lap gap between this Juno and the winning Pilbeam could not be attributed to one simple reason.
 
Classic Contrast. Sure the race could use some newer cars, but the sight of an older 911 and a Lotus 7 is still stirring.
 
Touring on the Veldt. A good endurance race can handle all three categories, sports-racers, GTs, and some of these saloon cars.
     

Floating Finish. Oliver’s artistically blurred vision near race’s end.
 
Brothers and Crew. Duncan and Graham Vos go down in the books as the winners of the race’s 1st edition.
 
2nd Overall the #69 Juno of Francis Carruthers, Nick Adcock & Johan Englebrecht