Even Durban – the city renowned for its year-round summer climate – has been feeling the winter chill more recently, with nightly temperatures regularly falling into single digits. And with the winter solstice only just behind us, we’re not quite yet back to flip-flops and vests as our daily attire just yet. With that in mind, we wouldn’t argue against weekend activities going no further than regular hot chocolate refills, accompanied by extended doses of Netflix and chill…
However, if you are keen to get out of the house and hit the road on a relatively short road trip, there is an activity which has been setting the South Coast alight in recent years, and one which the whole family can enjoy. It’s the car and bike motor racing held at Dezzi Raceway, Port Shepstone, organised by the Kwa-Zulu Natal Road Racing Club.
It’s been many, many years since KZN has enjoyed a safe and sanctioned space for motorcar and motorbike racing, with Westmead and Roy Hesketh circuits all but a distant memory of the 60s and 70s. And with racers (dangerously) taking to the road to employ their craft, Desmond Gutzeit – circuit owner and creator – came to the rescue of racers and fans alike with the opening of Dezzi Raceway in 2015.
Set in the rolling hills of the South Coast and just 10 minutes’ drive from Port Shepstone, the 2.5km track is a superb mix of tight, technical corners, blind rises and elevation changes – a challenging proposition for cars, and especially bikes – with quick directional changes a must for setting a good lap time.
A relatively short main pit straight culminates in a tight left-hander offering late braking overtaking manoeuvres for those so inclined at turn 1. Exiting turn 1 into a gentle uphill run and you’re greeted by a tricky blind and off camber turn 2 which leads into sweeping and equally tricky turn 3 and 4 kink before a short blast to the turn 5 hairpin, accompanied by resplendent sea views if you have the time to take them in. Running down the hill now towards the sea is turn 6, a fast sweeping left, before getting hard on the brakes into the tight double apex turn 7. Heading back up the hill and past the dam on your right into turn 8, a technical left-hander setting up for hard acceleration around the sweeping exit before once again getting back on the brakes for the tight right-hand turn 9. With turn 9 done, it’s back on the throttle now and up the hill towards the slow double apex turn 10 before the last, tight left-hand kink at turn 11 before entering the main pit straight where cars and bikes accelerate to achieve their top speed on the circuit.
The action starts early on Saturday morning with a drivers briefing at 7:00 am. The format is simple; qualifying followed by 2 races – race one before lunch and race two after – with prize giving at the end of the days racing. For spectators, there is a class of racing to suit all tastes from four wheels to two.
With the new Rokkit Digital Agency/CMH Ford Focus ST pace car dutifully leading out all entrants on their customary warm-up lap, racers compete over course of 10 laps, with a variety of different classes filling up the day. In the top spec Porsche Challenge class race spec Porsche Cup cars with their spin-tingling boxer engine howls fight it out against the bellowing V8 powered Backdraft Racing Cobras. Just as exciting is the Modified Saloon and Super Modified class which sees forced induction Citi Golfs going head-to-head with naturally aspirated Audi A3s and the like. The noise is immense, the racing is tight and the action is packed.
For two-wheeled lovers, the action starts with riders as young as ten and eleven competing in the 150/NSF class, with the Breakfast Class (600cc) and Formula X (1000cc) providing the most extreme entertainment on two wheels for spectators who have a variety of superb viewing platforms set up around the track, allowing fans to safely get as close to the action as possible. With the pit, and extended pit areas fully open, fans can also get as close to the race machines as they can to the track, with racers more than happy to chat about their machines as well as relive stories of their on-track exploits.
Be sure to check out the remainder of this year’s KZN Road Racing Club’s events at Dezzi Raceway. Entry for spectators is R80 for adults, R50 for teens and pensioners, and free for children 12 years old and under, with tickets available at the gate. Refreshments and food stalls are available, with picnics also welcomed. Also, to take full advantage of the venue and the race action make you visit all the spectacular viewing decks situated around the track.
Ford Sports Technologies
With a proud history in motorsport, the ST badge stands for Sports Technologies, and is only applied to halo cars within their respective range. The Fiesta ST and Focus ST draw on Ford’s rich automotive history and experience preparing race-ready cars, and are well respected and revered by both customers and competing manufacturers alike.
Ford South Africa and CMH Ford are strongly committed to providing motorsport inspired road cars to fans in South Africa, and the Fiesta and Focus ST join the Ford Focus RS and Ford Mustang as leading examples of Ford’s cummlative experience in tailored race cars for the road. By co-sponsoring the official KZN Road Racing pace car with Rokkit Digital Agency, CMH Ford is furthering this commitment to motorsport in South Africa.
The Ford Focus RS (Rallye Sport) is perhaps the ultimate hot hatch. Offered in limited quantities which assures exclusivity, the RS is a serious machine with high-performance technology and innovative engineering that sets new benchmarks for driving exhilaration on the road and track. It’s a great example of Ford’s passion for innovation through performance and creating vehicles that make people’s hearts pound. With a specially engineered 257kW/440Nm version of Ford’s new 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine, the Focus RS is the fastest-ever RS model, sprinting from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds and hitting a top speed of 266 km/h. A racetrack thoroughbred? You bet!
The Mustang is perhaps Ford’s most revered and recognisable nameplate, having become an automotive icon the moment it was launched in 1964. The latest Mustang, unveiled on 17 April 2014 to mark its remarkable 50th anniversary, is the first official Mustang available locally following the commencement of right-hand drive production for the first time at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan, U.S.A. Available in 5.0-litre V8 (306kW/530Nm) or all-new 2.3 EcoBoost (233kW/430Nm) guise, it is the former V8 model which is sure to get pulses racing as it revives a long-time love affair for fans of the prancing pony badge.
The Fiesta ST which has recently been bolstered by the addition of the Fiesta ST 200 continues to set the benchmark for bang-for-you-buck value for money. In ST 200 guise the little pocket-rocket produces 10% more power and 20% more torque from its 1.6-litre turbo engine. This endowers the ST 200 with impressive outputs of 147 kW and 290 Nm, allowing it to sprint to 100kph in just 6.7 seconds, 0.2 seconds faster than the standard model.