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South Africa Speedway Racing

Photographer: Kim Ludbrook

 

Not far from the refurbished F1 race track of Kyalami in Johannesburg is a small, virtually dirt race track attracts only the brave and rare 'petrol heads' on some Sundays to race against each other in the hot sun for bragging rights and a trophy. The track is home to the Walkerville Sppedway Racers Club and is home to speedway racing that includes flat track racers, sidecar racers and a new breed; the Stof Kop racers.

 

'Stof Kop' is an Afrikaans phrase loosely described as 'Dirt Head' and recently the first 'Stof Kop' race meeting in South Africa was held at the track. Organizer Gavin Pieterson, and his helpers organized the track so that anyone with a motorbike could bring it along to race around the track. The new Stof Kop race day attracted riders on motorbikes like Ducati, Harley Davidson, Triumph and Vespa and these 'weekend warriors' took to the track in different race groups to test themselves against the track and each other. There where crashes but no major injuries. Many of the Stof Kop racers were on 'old school' motorbikes; modern motorbikes with a more classic styling harking back to the great rockers area of the 1960's when there was no ABS brakes, fuel injected motors and computers running the machine.

 

Added to that the semi-professional flat track racers joined in the fun. Like surfing, the flat track racers slide their motorcycles across the dirt controlling the power slide with just their throttle; the bikes have NO brakes or gears; as 4-6 racers ride anti clockwise around the track. The racing is hectic, dangerous and fun. Full gas and no care in the world. In an age of expensive, high end motorsport Walker Speedway sees working class racers racing for pride more than money; the dreams of the 'weekend warriors' are played out on the dirt track.