Bloem to return to national racing scene

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Wiek Roets with Loonigan, the track racing car.

Bloemfontein will be placed firmly back on the track racing map when an old track racing car, which is currently being remodeled in the City of Roses, competes in a national track racing competition to be held soon.

Although the car, known in racing circles as Loonigan, hasn’t been on the race track since 2016, its new owner, Wiek Roets, has big plans for it. He put back the original engine into the car but replaced the bottom part of the engine. He says the car will be a bit faster after the few adjustments he made. “I have partnered with Showtime Magazine, who will be branding the car as they are hoping to chase the SA record this year.”

Roets has called on interested sponsors to help him with vinyl wrap, as he is the only competitor without sponsors.

“I will be the first racer from the Free State to compete at national level in many years. This is an exciting new challenge for me and something that will hopefully distract me following the recent death of my father.”

There is an interesting story on how Loonigan landed in Bloemfontein and in Roets’ lap. The vehicle belonged to André Luddick, who sold it to focus on his businesses. His brother Michael Luddick is still involved in the track racing scene.

Roets bought the car last year after he decided to make his debut in professional track racing. According to Roets, the people of Track SA are very excited to hear that Loonigan will be making a comeback.

“The car just never went back to track racing scenes since 2016 and people who bought the car after that never knew how to work on it. The car moved around quite a bit, and funny enough, it found its way to Bloemfontein in the end.

“A friend of mine, who didn’t know that the car was designed to be a full-on track race car, said the car was plain ugly. However, I explained to him that the car has been designed like that to actually get proper traction and faster times on the quarter mile.

“The track racing scene is very popular at the moment, and people are putting a lot of money into the sport. There are two events this year where prize money of R200 000 is up for grabs. There are about eight big competitors, of which last year’s winner was a full second and a half slower than my car in 2016,” Roets concluded.

Kekeletso Mosebetsi

kekeletso@centralmediagroup.co.za