In 1968 the Cape Hell Drives was established at Goodwood Show grounds by thefollowing members: Jack Holloway (Chairman), Jean Holloway, Joe Marchinkowski, John Geldenhuys, Deon De Waal, Ina De Waal, Bill Lenz, Ray Butters Karel Groenewald, Abie Drotschie, Johan Tullekin, Eric Bryan, Doep Du Plessis en Popeye King. In those days, there was no governing body, except, of course the club rules. It was however required, that all drivers had to have a Cape Hell Drivers Membership / License and proof of third party insurance. In the beginning, only the V8 class existed which was later joined by the 6 cylinders, 4 cylinders (known as Factory Stocks) and lastly the Midgets. As Abie Drotschie says “There were 300 cars and 10 rules. Now, there are 10 cars and 300 rules.
All drivers drivers ran under the “Tap and Spin” rule, pretty easy to follow, I tap you once and if you don’t get out of the way, I spin you out. Even crossing the infield to catch someone on the other side, to repay a favour, was allowed. Of course this kept the spectators coming back for more. Stock Cars in general, during the early years, was rated the second most watched sport in South Africa. Unfortunately, Rugby, even back then, had the top spot. The Cape Hell Drivers has always attracted the crowds, with their “home grown” stunt team, which comprised of Jack Holloway, Deon de Waal, Johan Tulleken en later Andre Frylinck. Even the Canadian Hell Drivers were not prepared to attempt some of the stunts our boys attempted.
The Stunt Team’s performance continually had the crowds on their feet with ramp to ramp stunts, The Roman Chariot Riders, four cars on two wheels all at the same time, and anything else that made their hearts pump faster. Summing it up, nothing was impossible in the eyes of the “Cape Hell Drivers Stunt Team”. Later, these guys formed the group “The Gunston Stunt Team” and their shows were always held in association with charitable events. Late 1994, early 1995, the Cape Hell Drives were informed that Sun West International had bought the property at Goodwood. The Committee immediately started negotiations with Sun West, but after many meetings, they were turned down.
The committee considered the option of building a track in Blackheath or joining arms with the Western Province Motor Club at Killarney Raceway. The Black Heath community soon drew up a petition, and that idea was then discarded. Andrew Fontini (Chairman at the time), Abie Drotschie and Nic van Rensburg decided to meet with Dennis Joubert of the Western Province Motor Club. Very quickly the two parties came to an agreement, and the Cape Hell Drivers had found a new Home! Just before relocating to Goodwood, the Cape Hell Drivers, not prepared to go out without a bang, decided to bring an American team and their vehicles (V8 late models) to South Africa. This was something that no other club had done. Man, did they run serious power machines that we were not accustomed to! A real eye opener, to the way an Oval track should be run and a spectacular event to watch.
In October 1995, the Cape Hell Drivers had their first race meeting at Killarney. Just imagine, a tar track and only a small vibracrete wall, on the now called “Engen Corner”, was all that protected the spectators from the icy wind that we’ve all become accustom to. With many of the drivers, unfamiliar with tar set ups, you can just imagine the chaos at the first race meeting. Tyres screaming, cars spinning, man, it must’ve bee a serious learning curve. In December 1998 Abie Drotschie put word out that the Club intended to move the Grandstands from Goodwood and relocate them to Killarney. Tandem Cranes and Nato Transport jumped to the challenge. All the guys and girls involved with the club, arrived at the Goodwood Show Grounds, with their 10 pound hammers, for a “Work Party”. They were ready to break down the stand for relocation. The hard work was far from complete! Every thing was demolished and moved to Killarney.
In those days things looked completely different to what they are now. The pit area was situated behind Fontini Corner and the Start/Finish line was opposite it’s current location. The control tower was on the opposite side of the track. In January 1998 the Cape Hell Drivers invited some British Drivers to Goodwood, to compete against our drivers. This was exceptional entertainment for all, including the drivers. So when the club decided to invite them a second time in January 1988 to the tar, they were more than eager to take our boys on. Since the Cape Hell Drivers have been at Killarney, there have not been to many changes in the Chairman positions, Andrew Fontini, Kieth Bateman, Andrew Fontini, Ernie Kleyhaus, Martin Neethling, Andrew Fontini and currently Andre Welsh is the chairman.
Stock Cars, is no longer Stock Cars on tar. It is now referred to as “Oval Track Racing”. All the bumpers are gone and with this change, came a whole new look; the cars are now well prepared and all look very “Snazzy”. Things are definitely faster than in years gone by. This attracts a lot of speed freaks, who use the opportunity to rid themselves of day to day driving in the traffic. Let’s just make a point, a similar size dirt track, has a lap time of +/- 21.5 sec. On tar, the same class, averages a lap time of around 16.8 seconds. A rather large difference in speed! The club took a bit of a knock in numbers when they moved from gravel to tar, but have gradually increased them over the years.
The Cape Hell Drivers are now running 6 different classes, consisting of: 2.1L Modifieds, 1660’s V8’s, Midgets, Mini’s and the newly established “Clubmans” class. The Mini Class is aimed at a new generation of Oval Track drivers. This class is for scholars, between the ages of 10 and 18. This class has grown extremely fast, and is very competitive amongst the youngsters. Some of these drivers have moved on to the 1660 and V8 classes and are among the front runners in the class. The club has gone from strength to strength since its doors first opened. We are proud to say that the Cape Hell Drives is one of the few Clubs that still belongs to the drivers.