NINE-HOUR DRAMA

Car (South Africa) - - MAIL -

I have been a car en­thu­si­ast for 70 years and I’m now 80. A friend of mine, Alan Wil­liams, who has a mo­tor re­pair shop in Mar­gate, re­cently told me a re­mark­able story and this is the gist of it.

He and some friends wished to at­tend the Nine Hours of Kyalami in 1960. At the time, he was 12 years old. They de­cided to get to the track on the Fri­day af­ter­noon, sneak through the fence, sleep in the veld near Witkop­pen and ob­serve the race from there. All went well un­til late on the Satur­day morn­ing when a typ­i­cal Highveld thun­der­storm de­vel­oped.

By this time there were quite a num­ber of peo­ple sit­ting on the kop­pie, in fairly close prox­im­ity to each other for the best view of the race­track. A bolt of light­ning struck the kop­pie and the per­son sit­ting next to Alan was in­cin­er­ated; killed in­stantly. Alan was knocked un­con­scious and very badly burnt.

When he re­gained con­scious­ness, he man­aged to stag­ger down the hill to get as­sis­tance for him­self and the in­jured peo­ple. He stopped a car pass­ing the base of the kop­pie to ask for as­sis­tance. The oc­cu­pants laughed at him and drove off. Alan then man­aged to stop a se­cond ve­hi­cle whose oc­cu­pants re­alised the se­ri­ous­ness of the sit­u­a­tion and called for help. He spent months in hospi­tal re­quir­ing numer­ous skin grafts and op­er­a­tions on his legs. To this day, he still strug­gles to walk.

I might not have all the facts right, but it’s an amaz­ing story.

PEDDY BAM South­b­room

[Not sure whether you’ve heard the good news, Peddy, but the Nine Hour is set to re­turn to Kyalami in Novem­ber 2019 – ed­i­tor.]

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