South African Grand Prix Betting

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The first South African Grand Prix was run in 1934 on a circuit measuring 23.4 kilometres that ran through the streets and surrounding roads of the coastal city of East London. The so-called “Prince George Circuit” started and ended on a straight that ran along the sea shore of Eastern Cape Province, providing spectacular views of the Indian Ocean between the Buffalo and Nahoon rivers. The winner of that first event was American driver Whitney Straight, piloting a Maserati 8CM 3.0L.

For the second edition in 1936, the circuit was reduced to 17.7 kilometres by eliminating most of the eastern portion of the course. The new configuration suited the driving style of Italian Mario Massacuratti, a civil engineer who resided in Cape Town and raced to victory in his Bugati 35B. The next two runnings of the South African Grand Prix would be won by racers from Great Britain, Pat Fairfield and Buller Meyer, respectively, before the famed Italian Luigi Villoresi took the checkered flag at East London in a Maserati 6CM in 1939.

The advent of World War II brought racing in South Africa to a halt. Because of his Italian nationality, sporting hero Massacuratti was interned at a South African concentration camp briefly, but he made a daring escape, survived and later lived out his life in Rome. The Prince George Circuit remained closed throughout the 1940s and 50s, until in 1959 it was shortened to 3.9 kilometres as part of a seaside amphitheatre in anticipation of renewed racing events.

So it happened that in 1960, the South African Grand Prix was revived, this time as two-part affair, with the first round won by Belgium’s Paul Frère in a Cooper-Climax and the second taken by Britain’s Stirling Moss for Porsche. Neither of those events was officially sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) as World Championship races, nor was the 1961 edition, which was won by British driver Jim Clark for Team Lotus with Moss trailing right behind. However, in 1962 FIA welcomed South Africa to the Formula One calendar and scheduled the local Grand Prix as the final event of a nine-race season.

By the time the 9th South African Grand Prix got under way on 29 December 1962, Britain’s Graham Hill had already scored enough points to claim the F1 Driver’s Title for the year. However, he used the South African Grand Prix to demonstrate his prowess, winning the race handily over runner-up Bruce McLaren of New Zealand. However, most the cheering that day was for the local favourite, Tony Maggs, a Pretoria native who made the podium in third.

In 1963 and 1965, Clark would again claim victory in his Lotus-Climax. No race was held in 1964, and Clark’s teammate Mike Spence would win an F1 version of the South African Grand Prix in 1966. But the results of that last would be unofficial, as FIA officials had cited problems with the small Prince George Circuit and would not approve it as part of the 1966 World Championship season. South Africa needed a new venue for F1 racing.

In 1967, that requirement was fulfilled by Kyalami, a 4.1-kilometre motor racing circuit with nine turns that had been constructed in Midrand, Gauteng Province in 1961. Kyalami, which means “my home” in Zulu, would host 18 installments of the South African Grand Prix through 1985, when political turmoil and sanctions over apartheid brought the country’s contract for FIA championship racing to an end. That period would see Jim Clark win once more in 1968, Britain’s Jackie Stewart would be successful in 1969 and 1973, and Niki Lauda of Austria would claim three victories in 1976~77 and 1984. The race would also get its own local champion, East Londoner Jody David Scheckter, in 1975.

Apartheid came to an end in 1990, allowing two more FIA-approved South African Grand Prix races to be conducted at Kyalami. Britain’s Nigel Mansell reprised his 1985 victory in 1992, and France’s Alain Prost was able to match his 1982 triumph by winning in 1993. Not long after Prost’s victory, however, Kyalami was sold to the South African Automobile Association, who determined that running a Formula One event was too costly and the South African Grand Prix never returned.

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