The SA Classic TT 2024, SA’s only international bike circuit race, comes to East London Grand Prix from January 26-27 and locally celebrated racer, John Quinn hopes this will revive the culture of motorbike racing in the region that has been dormant for the last five years.
In 1924, the first SA Classic TT series was held in Gqeberha and to have the event back in the Eastern Cape on its 100th anniversary is an exciting feat for the city.
Quinn said that in recent years motorcycle racing has gone backwards as the youth have become disinterested in the sport coupled with the steep costs associated with motor racing.
Border Motorsport is hoping that with the arrival of internationally acclaimed events in the city, racing in general, and motorcycle racing in particular, can go back to the level it was 10 years ago.
Quinn said: “The only way to make racing more affordable is for Border Motorsport to subsidise the race entry fees.
“To do this we need to attract sponsors, which we can’t do without a long-term lease on the track and BCM agreed to the terms of a lease 10 years ago but have to-date refused to sign it.
“Also, the cost of continually repairing the damage caused by ongoing vandalism and illegal drags and spinning is depleting the little funds at their disposal.
“We’re hoping that this prestigious event with internationally known racers will revive an interest in motorcycle racing among racers and spectators in East London.”
The event will see famous names like John McGuiness and James Hillier throwing their hats in with Michael Dunlop and Steve Parish to come and scrape a knee, with local riders taking them on for race honours.
One hundred bikes will take to the track and in addition to the TT, there will be SuperSport 400, beginners 600/1000, intermediate 600/1000, superbike 600/1000, masters & grand masters and historic motorcycles.
The Roadrunners Motorcycle Club will be running a chill area in a marquee behind the pits, where there’ll be music, a bar and food stalls.
There’ll also be space to pitch tents.
Spectators will be able to see the bikes up close in the pits and get selfies and signatures with legendary racers.
Entrance to the event is R80 with a can or bag of dog food to be gifted to a local animal welfare organisation.
The Classic Superbike Racing Association hopes the event will contribute towards growing national motorbike racing and boosting local city and regional economies.
East London is the first round of a series of six races with round two scheduled for Kyalami in February.
Quinn said: “If local racing is strong, we can attract more events like this TT event.”