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Dezzi Raceway makes track racing a reality for Natal

29.09.2014

Three cheers for Des Gutzeit! Des, who owns Desmond Equipment manufacturing earth-moving equipment at a factory on his Port Shepstone homestead is well on his way to completing Dezzi Raceway, a 2,8 km long undulating road racing circuit that will host its first event early next year.

Des and his two sons, Jade and Shane, are all top level competitors in various forms of motorsport and the fact that Des has a background in civil engineering, manufactures earth moving equipment and has a landing strip on his farm all led to the development of KwaZulu-Natal’s first proper racetrack in more than 30 years. “My family has been involved in motorsport for decades, and I always needed a place to test our cars,” says Des.

He decided to tar the grass airstrip on the farm as a place where he could do acceleration tests and tuning. “Then one day I was talking to the drifting guys and they said they badly needed a decent venue for their sport, so I expanded a little to provide that. It worked beautifully and my son, Shane, really enjoyed the racing so we built a couple of drift cars and he’s excelled, winning the last event in Brakpan and running high up in the championship.” One thing led to another and the track started hosting corporate days and drifting events that attracted thousands of spectators. Then Des took the plunge and committed himself to expanding the track into a full circuit suitable for national championship road-racing.    

The track layout is gorgeous, with fast sweeping bends, uphill climbs and downhill swoops.  Some sections are unsuited to motorcycle racing because of limited runoff, but Des says that the design allows for half a dozen versions of the circuit. The whole shebang has set Des back around R48 million, but would have cost two or three times that if Des had contracted it out rather than build it himself.

There’s good news for spectators. “That’s where motorsport has gone wrong over the years,” says Des. “Without spectators it’s nothing. We’ve made it as spectator friendly as possible. I myself wouldn’t enjoy spending the whole day sitting cooped up with the kids in a hot steel grandstand 200 metres from the track, buying hamburgers for lunch.

Here we’ve made it great for spectators under the trees. "We’ve grassed the hills, and people can bring their blankets and their skottel braais and their cooler boxes – they’re welcome to do so. We’ll also have charities running catering stalls for those who want to support them. Motorsport fans can pay their R80 at the gate and sit where they want to. The pits will be open so you can look around and speak to the guys.”

Article written by Gavin Foster
29.09.2014
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