The third and final Grand Central 9 Hour (1961) was an exciting affair, with a great battle between the Dawie Gous/John Love Porsche RS and the Lotus 15-Alfa Romeo of Ernie Pieterse and Gene Bosman. The Porsche won by just 4.5 miles. I was in the Volvo again, sharing with Nigel Payne, but while leading the class, a side shaft snapped. The team managed to replace it by borrowing one from another car. Back in action, we were able to climb back up the order and secured the class honours.
But the most memorable part of the event was not the best one. Italo was sharing a Renault Dauphine Gordini with Boyden and with just 25 minutes left in the race, he rolled nose-over-tail at the end of the straight. I passed the scene, saw Gordini bits strewn all over the track, but soldiered on. When I finished the race, I was told by some ill-informed person that Italo had lost his life. I rushed for the St Johns ambulance with my heart in my racing shoes and found him motionless; thankfully, on hearing my voice, he slowly lifted his head with a pained smile.
For 1961, the 9 Hour moved to the new Kyalami circuit, but I didn’t take part. The race start was slightly different, with co-drivers having to dash across the track at the drop of the flag and hand the ignition keys to the drivers, who were already seated in their cars (new rules meant that drivers had to have their seat belts fastened before the start of the race). Winners were Dawie Gous/John Love (Porsche Spyder), with the Alfa Giulietta Ti of Nick Kingell and Bruce Johnstone second and the Riley/Glasby AC Bristol third.