Killarney’s rich history

Des Easom, executive manager of Killarney International Raceway

Racing commenced at Killarney in 1947 and Killarney International Raceway, in its current

configuration, is one of only two circuits in South Africa that remain unchanged since the 1960s (“Racing causes stress,” Tabletalk Letters, January 15).

As the only truly multi-purpose motorsport facility in South Africa, Killarney is an important contributor to both road safety and the economy of the Western Cape.

Far from fuelling illegal street racing, Killarney is actively promoting the safety of ordinary road users by encouraging those who partake in illegal street racing to do so away from the public roads and in a more controlled and safe environment.

This is done in partnership with the City of Cape Town, and these events are held on Wednesday evenings.

More than 5 500 street racers participate in these events annually, people who would otherwise be racing on the streets of Cape Town.

Further contributions to road safety are made with streetcar track days and motorcycle schools, advanced driving instruction on the circuit and on our skid-pan, a venue for cyclists on Tuesday and Thursday evening and the annual Youth Day Road Safety initiative in partnership with the Western Cape Government.

Killarney certainly is not a polluter of the nature reserve at Rietvlei and has actively taken steps to reduce the level of noise from the venue.

The Noise Abatement Procedure (NAP) in place at Killarney since 2013 is in line with best practices at race circuits internationally such as Laguna Seca in America, Zandvoort in the Netherlands, Silverstone in the UK and Spa in Belgium.

This NAP was implemented after extensive testing performed by acoustic engineers and approval by the City of Cape Town.

All vehicles have to undergo sound testing and may not exceed levels pre-determined by the acoustic engineers.

Noise levels are measured with the vehicle stationary and on “drive-by” while the vehicle is on the circuit.

Measurements are taken at all events. Should any vehicle exceed the level, it is not permitted on the circuit.

Furthermore, no motorsport is permitted at the circuit on Sundays and on-track activity and events are restricted to specific times unless agreed to in advance by the City of Cape Town.

The level of noise from Killarney has therefore certainly reduced in recent years to be a good neighbour to the surrounding residential areas.

Unfortunately, there is no control over prevailing winds.

Noise levels will vary according to the wind direction.

As with any event venue/stadium, an annual grading certificate is issued to Killarney by the City only after inspections and checks of the systems in place which include environmental matters and solid waste disposal.

There is a large motorsport and performance industry in the Western Cape which is a significant contributor to the economy of the region and employs many thousands.

Killarney is an important contributor to that industry and also creates direct employment for hundreds of people, from local communities and elsewhere in Cape Town, earning a living directly from events at the circuit.

Cape Town is the “events capital of Africa” and Killarney is an important contributor to events and tourism in the Western Cape. Visitors come from all over the world and the rest of the country to compete in and spectate at events such as World Rallycross.

World Rallycross is the only world championship event in Africa that is approved by the Federation Internationale de * ’Automobile and is broadcast worldwide. Visitors also come for events like Passion for Speed, Extreme Festival, Karting and Streetfest.

All these visitors require accommodation, transport, food and entertainment.

In addition to motorsport events, Killarney also hosts approximately 70 charity events annually such as the Toy Run, where more than 10 000 toys were collected in 2019; the Sunflower Fund bandana run, where funds were raised for bone-marrow research; the Moonlight Dog walk in aid of animal rescue; Truckers Charity Toy Convoy for children with cancer; the South African Duathlon Championship; and other cycling events.

Without events at Killarney, the racers would move to the streets of Cape Town and surrounding areas, putting all road users at risk, plus a detrimental effect on the economy of the Western Cape.

We encourage you to visit the circuit for yourself, to learn more about our facility and what it offers to the community at large.

Geoff Banwell, Sunset Beach

Firstly I don’t do or watch motor racing.

I am trying to understand the logic of Hendrik’s letter.

It appears to me that he has two main gripes: noise levels from the Killarney race track, and the environment.

Dealing with the first, the race track was established many years ago, not sure exactly when, but I know there was a Formula 1 race there in 1960 (60 years ago).

At that stage, the horse-racing track, motor-race track, refinery, etc were in the bundu.

There was no Parklands or Sunset Beach.

There was very little development in Table View, and even Milnerton was relatively undeveloped.

Many other suburbs did not exist.

Sunset Beach was recently established, and I hear very little noise on the few occasions that they have race days.

So why would Mr Hofmeyr choose to live in Sunset Beach, without doing his homework properly, if noise is an issue?

The hundreds of thousands of residents he says are held to ransom (I assume he has empirical evidence to support this) just weren’t there.

Dealing with his second gripe, I wholeheartedly support environmental issues.

However, complaining about the consumption of fossil fuels for a relatively small number of vehicles at a small number of events, does not make much sense, when there are more important issues.

Are we to assume that Mr Hofmeyr does not drive fossil-fuel vehicles, or use coal-generated electricity, single-use plastics, fly in an airplane, etc?

Does he help with the regular clean-up of Sunset Beach?

I totally agree with protecting the environment, but then do something positive instead of complaining.