Rhodesian Grand Prix 1961

by ZimPete

I was brought up in Gwelo. From the time I first was given pocket money, 2 bob a week, I spent a good portion of it on the monthly published Motorsport. It cost 3/6 at Kingstons. I established that it arrived on the first Wednesday of every month. I was motor sport mad.The rhodesian Grand Prix was held at Khumalo track, adjacent to Brady barracks. In 1961 I was 11. My father could not take me to the GP. An important round of golf took priority. For weeks I planned my trip and saved like a demon. Eventually I had 15/-,a fortune. Came the big day, 6am. I sneaked out the house and made the short walk to the Byo Rd where I hitched a lift to Byo, leaving a note on the dining room table.

The meeting was awesome.The English team, Team Willment, were there and did they have some impressive machinery? A Lotus Cortina driven by Sir John Wilmott, a thundering 7Lt Ford Galaxy driven by Bob Olthof and a Shelby Cobra driven by Aussie Paul Hawkins. Also Englishman Divid Piper in a 250 LM Ferrari, Adrian Phieffer from Que Que in an Aston Martin. The stars of the show were the great Jim Redman, and his No. 2 works rider, Bruce Beale from Byo, riding works 250 cc Hondas, 4 stroke 6 cylinders. I can still remember the sound. In the main race there was, of course, John Love in his Cooper Climax, Sam Tingle of Hartley in a South African built LDS with an Alfa based motor built by Gwelo's own Ray Reid, Ray Reid in a home built car with his own Alfa based motor, South African Paddy Driver in a hybrid Lotus BRM, Byo's Eric Glasby in a rather ancient Cooper Bristol. The GP race was won by John Love. The Hondas dissappeared into the distance in the 250/350 race. They were entered in the 500cc race and were beaten only by Willie van Leeuen on a Manx Norton.

Now! I have to go home. Hours of hitching outside the circuit produced no results. Darkness was approaching fast. Fortunately a family friend passes, recognises me, stops.Does your dad know your here? No. My boy are you in trouble. Friend takes me home. All 6'5" of flame haired, ANGRY, father is waiting.Offered beers delays the friend's departure and my , temporary, agony. Inevitable sound thrashing comes my way. Was it worth it? You bet!

October 1962.

Hey Pete, isn't the Grand Prix coming up in a couple of weeks? Ja Dad, 2 weeks time.Well I'll tell you what. I'll take us all there. We can also take one of your friends. Happy days.