Despite a misdirected nose wing, van Rooyen presses on in his McLaren M7A-Cosworth at the Roy Hesketh Circuit in Natal, South Africa in 1968.
Despite hailing from a family essentially unconnected to motorized vehicles, Basil van Rooyen soon discovered motorcycles and after a brief fling in two-wheeled competition, switched to the relative safety of cars. Almost immediately he became involved in the manufacture of performance parts, and then began racing a Ford Anglia sedan. A particularly successful union with a Lotus Cortina followed, and a racing Mustang came after that. He was helping Alfa Romeo with development of its GTA when the opportunity came to race in his home South African Grand Prix, and he quickly became an open-wheel driver. After establishing himself as a front-runner in South Africa’s national F1 series he was sidelined by a nasty testing crash, but upon recovering did return to racing touring cars. Eventually a business opportunity meant he relocated to Australia where VR’s Patrick Quinn caught up with him to chat about his racing career.
Where did it all start?
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