Nicky Dicks, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 997, GT Challenge

GT Racing: today is a good day to die (part 1)

Once, not too long ago, I saw the very same—distinct— expression (click here) on a man’s face, he was the Grand Wizard. Rarely seen these days, but believed to still be around. His race-spirit is still haunting prominent racetracks around the country. As night falls over barren racetracks you could hear his loud roars fainting, but not today.
Today another man, with his fearless expression and penetrating eyes, will siren the Jericho Trumpet at will, whenever fellow competitors overstep his race line. He has some very fast race-boots to fill, never will he be the Grand Wizard—but, he is ... the White Knight!

Trinity: 'When you're one of the few to land on your feet, what do you do to make ends meet?' (Pink Floyd) The answer is simple: you seek out the race-warrior called Grand Wizard, Toby Venter. In the past many have tried to catch up with his illustrious race career, but in vein. Except for one man who has had that rare opportunity—the White Knight, Nicky Dicks; and what he got for his ceaseless efforts were, "dear" Trinity.

Once you have laid eyes on this beautiful young dame, you gravitate towards her silent call, involuntarily. My hand struggled to let go of her strange feeling rubbery skin, but as I softly caressed her curvaceous yellow body, I could feel the restraint undercurrent of energy flowing through her whole coarse soul. She wants to race; she wants to be set loose. (If it wasn’t for the hydraulic lifters she would have gone out the garage door without any clear consideration.)
She will not take any prisoners today; her bite is lethal, her eyes domineering, and her voice too much for any man to handle. She will transfix any living soul—so, be very careful, you’ve been warned!

As the first orange rays of sun creeps over the Zwartkops racetrack, it eventually reaches Trinity too. She is a beautiful young, lusty Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 997. Her “sluttish” yellow body immediately synchronises with the rays of the early morning rise. For a long time she appreciates the warmth, and gawking eyes (of course the gawking continued throughout the day); even Nicky Dicks tried to synchronise in his red-race-suite, his experience less optimistic (must be the red-race-suit). Will this “pretty women” be the love of his life; will Trinity eventually be kind and responsive to him, or will she turn a cold shoulder? Dorothy (his ultra-red Ferrari F430) is at home. What is Nicky up to; can this polygamous relationship work? In anticipation, I’ll wait.

As the sun sets in the west, a young boy’s affection towards this beautiful dame made him run after her screaming, ‘please don’t park her, I want a photo of the two of us.’
And as the orange rays slowly detached itself from Trinity in the west, I stood quietly contemplating this wonderful moment; a moment engraved in time—today is a good day to die.

(Nicky Dicks took a 1 and 2 place for the day in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 997, with a best time of 01:04.548 in the first race. The second race however was won by Deon du Plessis in a KTM X-Bow, with a best time of 01:05.133) —Godspeed!

GT Racing: today is a good day to die (part 2)

Black Mamba Zoo: There is a black mamba on the loose at the Pretoria Zoo. Most of the newspapers ran the story; the news spread like a wildfire throughout Pretoria. I can only image the commotion surrounding the incident, and how his great escape might even ruin turnover. I definitely don’t want to be around when the slithery reptile makes an unexpected appearance, right behind me. Brown stains (like any other stains) are hard to remove, as any housewife will know.

The chances of getting strike by lightning (a few times actually) are greater than being bitten by a black mamba, or even swallowed by it, yes, imagine, swallowed by it; in very rare instances this might be true. Never heard of it though; black mambas swallowing humans? Hmmm ...

On the opposite end of the Zwartkops pit complex slithers a rare beast: an intense black Ferrari 360, owned by charmer and race driver, Willem van der Westhuizen (of C3 Brotherhood: Willem, Jacques Viljoen and Andre van der Merwe). In the neighbouring race garage the "Yellow Submarine" (classic 74 Porsche 911 RSR) of Andre van der Merwe tries to compliment the matt black Ferrari, but this is where it ends. His prominent effort goes un-noticed.

(Out on the racetrack today, the "classic" battle will be fought between, Cat-astrophic Andrie Bester, Andre van der Merwe, Jacques Viljoen, Vincent Reiche and George Avvakoumides. For the ill-informed, Willem van der Westhuizen has left the Classic Porsche Racing Cup, and joined up with the big guns in the GT Challenge.)

The Pretoria Zoo might spend a lot of valuable time looking for their beloved lost reptile, who knows for how long. The fact of the matter is ...

As I hurriedly came around the Zwartkops pit complex, to lay eyes on the matt black affair (the papers had me curious), I slipped, sliding feet first into his wide open jaws. I was gulped down by this slithery black beast. I have never been struck by lightning before (maybe in my previous life), and now this happens. How (un)lucky can one man be?
Before I knew it I was strapped tight in the bowls of the Black Mamba Zoo. Will I be able to endure the pain, the suffering, the speed and the tight turns? Will my soul understand this is not normal? (Congested highways and decaying cities have rendered my mind to limited vision and outlook. I’m used to a snail’s-pace every day.) As I sat there wondering who will hear my outcry, I came to realize, that the strange thing surrounding this whole dark affair was, there was NO FEAR, not even an ounce coming from my mind or body (others might have reacted the total opposite way). ‘This is where I belong,’ I said to myself. Then, without notification the beast started up; anxious dim red eyes pierce down the pit straight, it wants to be let loose, like an arrow out of a bow. Then, I felt the surge of energy running right through its lacklustre black soul; transferring its ruthless power down on to the hot black; gripping tight on its Pirelli underbelly.

For three laps we went around the Zwartkops racetrack at a speed greater than what Joe Public could ever imagine. The sound, smell, movement, and lightning quick breaking in turns 2, 5 and 8, established tranquillity right through my entire body (as if I was floating on a peaceful sea surface, while the sun at noon graced me lightly). The Ferrari 360 is absolutely amazing!

A VERY big smile on Willem’s animated face also stood testament that he was enjoying it thoroughly. The Black Mamba Zoo has swallowed me whole, capturing the essence of life on the black, without remnants. There’s a black mamba on the loose at Zwartkops raceway ...

Thanks to Willem van der Westhuizen and his Ferrari 360, racing me sane again; to Andre van der Merwe of Evapco for the hoody and helmet lone; to Ronald for his friendly assistance and guidance, while strapping me in, as tight as hell; and to Jacques Viljoen, for reassuring me that there is life after being swallowed whole by a black mamba.

As the sun slowly detached itself from the lukewarm racetrack and intimidating nose of the Black Mamba Zoo, I once again came to realize that—today is a good day to die. —Godspeed!

Words & Photos: Adriaan & Martine Venter (Pro Tour Series, GT Challenge, GT Classic, Zwartkops Raceway, South African Motorsport, 2013/03/23, 123 images) Main Image: Nicky Dicks #37, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup 997, GT Challenge.

Pro Tour Series, GT Challenge, images: 32/89

Pro Tour Series, GT Classic, images: 32/34