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 Durban suburbs into 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 that my brother and I 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, MotoGP, Indy etc. I wished I still had that scrap book!
When I was about 10 years old, and later as a teenager, I would participate in Moto Cross heavily influenced by my late step dad who was a gear head. Not just a gear head, he was much more, 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. 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 up moving the the USA in 1985 and then becoming a Naturalized Citizen in 2006.
A great hobby 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. 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 Mazda rotary’s used to perform so well in road racing. Seeing my first, 1st 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 and into motorsports began in 1999 following my divorce. After a few years of pulling myself back together, mentally and financially, I began having ideas that I would like to go fast again. Some form of motorsports. I had done this in South Africa on motorcycles, initially “home made” built by my late step father, then eventually competing outdoors in the South African Motor Cross Championship Circuit on a Suzuki RM125B.
As I mentioned previously, I always wanted to own a Mazda RX7 because of how well they performed in the 1970’s, kicking butt road racing in South Africa.
A friend I flew model airplanes with mentioned to me that a friend of his had recently married and was wanting to sell his RX7 so I went and looked at it. I was hooked! 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!
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 Shop. Within months, I was hanging out these guys and not long after, I was competing in the inaugural, 2001 NHRA Import Drag Racing Series in my 1987 Turbo II RX7. Then in 2002, I built a purpose built All Motor RX7 13B to compete in the NHRA Summit Import Drag Racing Series that later became the NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing Series.
In 2004 after I crashed the All Motor RX7 at Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, I switched from All Motor and built the turbocharged Modified RX8.
In 2005, I debuted the Modified RX8 and successfully competed with it 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 and several other international events along the way, I can honestly say I had BLAST! Drag racing was good to me and my soul.
Then I met a few guys in the neighborhood who were road racing so again, feeling the need 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 were gone and now time to explore new places and adventures we could enjoy together. That would be traveling and photography.
Retiring at the end of 2020 has opened up so much more time to do the things we love and with so much more freedom to travel where and when we want , without too many restrictions. There will be much more to add in the coming years. Stay tuned.
A simple man, hard working, never give up attitude
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