Adventure, Dreams, Risk, Hard Work, Luck and Tenacity is how I succeeded in this colorful journey
I was born and raised in the suburbs of of Durban, Natal, South Africa with humble beginnings. Life for my family, my Mom, brother and sister was tough as we lost our Dad when I was 6 years old, my dad was just 29 years old! We would be in two boarding schools and being able to see my mom on week ends for a Sunday picnic, Richmond was 1st thru 7th grade and Stanger was high school. When my Mom remarried years later, we moved back the the Durban suburb and a house in Sea View. Although the boys in my family that now included a step brother and sister had already been exposed to motorcycles, it was here that we were among the very first to compete in Junior Motocross in South Africa on home make motorcycles we would share. Oh what memories!
However, as a young boy, I was always intrigued by Nature, the Outdoors, Adventure and Motorsports. My first recollection of “what I wanted to be” was a Park Ranger. I loved being outdoors and witnessing the beauty and wildlife in South Africa as we experienced when in boarding school, Richmond specifically, from a few of the junior school friends farms we visited on week ends. In retrospect, I would only really appreciate South Africa’s natural beauty and wildlife after returning for a vacation decades later.
Motorsports however elevated to the top of exciting things to watch as a spectator. I vividly recall making a scrap book of all the news paper articles and pictures back in the early 1960’s that included our local motorsports events and all of the international events such as F1, Indy etc. I wished I still had that snap book!
When I was about 10 years old, and eventually come to participate as a teenager, I was heavily influenced by my late step dad who was a gear head. Not just a gear head, he was much more as a mentor and an inspiration that made me who I am today. I have so many fond memories of riding our home made bikes with my brother and friends through sugar cane fields of the north coast of Natal where we would save every penny to by petrol as we called it back then. That was freedom and it was fun!
The next big deal was, on a whim in early 1982, I decided that I would quit my job, sell everything I owned at the time, and committed to crew and be a part of what turned out to be a two year sailing experience of a lifetime on a friend and his parents 50 foot trimaran called Windspray. More to follow on this experience.
As a result of that experience, I eventually ended moving the the USA in 1985 and then becoming a Naturalized Citizen in 2006.
A great hobby before drag racing was building and flying giant scale RC planes for fun. I had many! My favorite was a 108″ wingspan Extra 300s that had a 6.4 cu. in. 2 stroke, twin cylinder engine, a 30″ propeller and a smoke system to fly aerobatics and haven’t as much as started it in 10 years. I used to love “tearing up the sky” and one day preceding my divorce and starting over, I just decided I wanted switch gears and own a sports car. You know, the single guy thing!
I remember my early days, back in South Africa as a teenager when the rotary’s used to perform so well in road racing and seeing my first generation RX7 on the street and thinking to myself, I’d love to have one of those cars! As the saying goes, the rest is history!
So my journey in the US into motorsports began in 1999 following my divorce, many months of pulling myself back together and having the ideas that I would like to go fast again, as I had done growing up in South Africa on motorcycles, initially “home made” built by my late step father, then eventually competing in outdoors in the South African Motor Cross Championship Circuit on a Suzuki RM125B.
It started out with a desire just to own a Mazda RX7. I had always loved how they performed so well in the 1970’s when we watched them kick butt road racing in South Africa. So, I purchased a very clean and well maintained 1987 Turbo II RX7 and it was not long before I attend Friday Night’s street nights at the Texas Motorplex, drag racing! Gosh, it was so much fun getting the lead out, meeting new friends. I never imagined drag racing would be fun, but boy, was I wrong!
Again in retrospect, drag racing would consume the next decade of my life.
It was not long before the modifications began with the help of Chris Ott & Ari Yellon of the famous RX7.com, Rotary Performance business. Within months, I was hanging out these guys not long after, I competing in the inaugural, 2001 NHRA Import Drag Racing Series in my 1987 Turbo II RX7. That was followed by the purpose built All Motor RX7 13B to compete in the NHRA Summit Import Drag Racing Series which later was renamed The NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing Series. Then 2004 after I crashed the All Motor RX7 at Raceway Park in New Jersey, I switched from All Motor to the turbocharged Modified RX8 all the way to the end of the series in 2007, then known as the NHRA Sony Xplod Drag Racing Series.
With 2 runner-up National Championships, a World Street Nationals title, 8 NHRA “Wally’s”, 2 NOPI Xbox trophies, several ESPN2 Television interviews, several other trophies along the way, I can honestly say I had a good blast and that drag racing was good to me.
Then I met a few guys in the neighborhood who were road racing so again, needing the feel for speed, I embarked on yet another sector of the motorsports world. Road Racing.
Road racing provided me with yet another means to grow, learn and DRIVE. Totally different from drag racing in setting up cars and driving, I had to start from scratch. Again, a total blast meeting a bunch of new people and winning.
After so many years racing, I made my dear wife a promise, to give up motorsports and so in 2018, the race cars are gone and now it’s time to explore new places and adventures we can enjoy together. That would be traveling and photography.
A simple, hard working, never give up, type of man
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