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Dunswart runs its final oval race

Broadcast dates : 15th January 2006
21st January 2006


Thirty-five years ago, Dunswart Raceway was built to accommodate a form of motor racing that could be described as the stepchild of the sport in South Africa.

Located in the Mining town belt between Boksburg and Benoni in the heart of an industrial area, Dunswart epitomizes the rough, tough, blue-collar school of hard knocks that is oval track.

It was a sad day at Dunswart in December 2005 when the very last race was held.

And on hand to take home the memories were some of the greats of the sport.

Even today thereís an air of menace in the pit area as these tough guys of motorsport go head-to-head. As Paul Heymans recalls, in the old days you didnít pass a competitor, you put him in the wall.

With the advent of sophisticated sprint cars based on the American format, the oval boys cleaned up their act in the Ď70s. 

There is absolutely no margin for error in oval track racing. 

The straights are so short they barely resemble straights, and overtaking is extremely difficult because the driver on the inside line always has the upper hand.

The beauty about oval circuit racing is that it caters for all budgets. The old banger saloon cars like Ford Escorts and Datsuns are still cooking. 

But theyíve been joined in the pits by sophisticated space frame saloons with fiberglass bodies based on Peugeots and Mazdas.

For the Dunswart finale, Citizen motoring editor Andre de Kock set up yet another of his infamous stunts, involving a rather skanky-looking pyramid of cars.

Andre is also famous for strapping himself to a jet car, and is the worldís fastest passenger.

Why does he do these things? He says that for fifty weekends of the year he watches other guys have all the fun. 

So once in a while itís his turn to get that warm, fuzzy feeling that follows an adrenaline rush.

Fortunately for Dunswart fans, the Wesbank track is just a few kilometers down the road.

Thereís a sense of community in oval racing thatís rarely experienced on the more sophisticated road circuits.
Itís an affordable night out for the whole family, something thatís all too rare in this era of high gloss, over-packaged entertainment. Long may oval racing run.

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