Car racing: a history of motorsport in Bulawayo

The Chronicle

Barnabas Masimba, online reporter

DRAGS, circuit drive, drifting, endurance race… Bulawayo Motor Club (BMC) is the place to be when one wants to see how powerful racing cars can be. From vintage to the latest cars, Manufacturer standard to custom made, professional racers to individuals as long as one believes they are capable, it’s there at the club.

A once whites-only sport is now raceless and classless. It is one sport where you people of all races laughing together, debating and socialising. BMC is located in Richmond along the Bulawayo- Victoria Falls Road. One of the pioneers of the sport and racing club was John Love. John Love is not a new name in Bulawayo. Many people who use Plumtree road to get to the city centre know it as a garage and drop off point. Well who is John Love?

John Maxwell Lineham Love (7 December 1924 – 25 April 2005) participated in 10 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 29 December 1962. He achieved one podium, and scored a total of six championship points.

Love was born in Bulawayo. He started his car racing career in a single-seat Cooper F3 with a Manx Norton 500 cc engine after racing a Triumph Grand Prix motorcycle, which Love then-allowed Jim Redman to ride when starting his race career, in recognition of Redman’s assistance in preparing and maintaining Love’s Cooper.

Six times South African Formula One Champion in the 1960s, he had originally shone in the European Formula Junior firmament back in 1961–62 at the wheel of a Cooper-Austin from Ken Tyrrell’s team. An unfortunate accident at Albi resulted in a very badly broken arm and effectively thwarted his chances of moving into full-time Formula One, but he came close when he was nominated as Phil Hill’s replacement in the works Cooper team for the 1964 Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

He was a regular contestant in the South African Grand Prix from 1965 to 1972. He was leading the 1967 South African Grand Prix at Kyalami in his 2.7 L Climax-engined Cooper, when a misfire prompted him to make a precautionary stop for extra fuel. He dropped back to finish second behind the works Cooper-Maserati of Pedro Rodríguez.

Love would dominate racing in southern Africa in the 1960s, winning the South African Formula One Championship six times in succession from 1964 to 1969. He would also win his home race, the Rhodesian Grand Prix, six times.

He had his own stock car racing team in the 1980s, he also had a fuel station and garage by Fort street and 12th Ave. He died in 2005, aged 80, from cancer, in Bulawayo.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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