INTRO BY LEON BOTHA
In the world of motorsport you do not easily find much more than criticism, no matter on what level you participate or think your wisdom fits in.
After reading this piece written from Reghard Roets’ heart – from the same room in which he stores his love for motorsport and people, you will realise what passion is about and why a competition or search for people with talent, is all good and well, but a search for passionate talent – is crucial for success and progress.
I am so fortunate to have also experienced the hardest path to some success in motorsport and therefore, this article by Reghard truly clicked all the right buttons.
To the young ones out there – read and walk away if this piece does not make your heart pound and generate enthusiasm, if it does, stop worrying about anything else and start doing what you know your heart and soul want you to do in life.
NOW READ WHAT LIFE IN PASSION LANE IS ALL ABOUT…
I was sent this picture today…. I never even knew it existed and it made me both grateful and sad. I was still in school, 18 years old and preparing my own racecar, a Ray 83F formula Ford in 1991… it was winter as is evident of my dad’s jacket as that garage was open on the side.
My friends were out jolling, most of my competitors also as they had race teams preparing their cars funded by their parents. I raced with wrestling boots and a painters overall that had elastic sewn in the sleeves by my gran, we never even heard of nomex
My dad paid for that very same engine to be rebuilt with money from his lounge suite that he sold….and it ran bearings while still running it in. This was the last season he helped me physically and financially before I tackled the motorsport world head on. My dad did me a huge favour by preparing me for a challenging world and learning to figure shit out myself.
Racing cars was my real education, it taught me that hard work doesn’t guarantee results, it merely delivers some luck and luck might just bring results…sometimes.
It taught me about finance, about spending your last cent even if you don’t have one. I figured out marketing although years too late. I learnt how many crooked, lying and thieving people there are in the world but also how many good, caring and giving people there are.
The good ones are usually the biggest surprises.
This sport taught me to weld, fabricate, machine, build race engines, do wheel alignment, repair fibreglass, spray paint, reverse a trailer but most of all it taught me about perseverance.
I raced for 10 years towing my own car around the country before I flew to a race for the first time and it felt like winning the lottery!
I’m not sharing these facts because I want pity, but rather because I’m grateful and extremely privileged to have received so much in return.
I remember speaking to a team mate years later, spitting his dummy out because he didn’t get a salary raise for driving his racecar, I also remember rushing to the track in Cape Town after towing through the night and hearing a young competitor complain about the lack of legroom in the plane and I promised myself to never be one of those guys.
All the competitors that toiled to race will always have a special bond, whether it was fixing your rival’s trailer next to the road in Colesberg or lending him a gear ratio that might give him the upper hand in the next race. The guys with heart, gees or just a good helping of plain old dogfuck…you know who you are.
My best friends today are still some of those chaps.I have been making a mental note for years of every person who helped me along the way and trust me it is a huge list!
One day I will share it.
I raced a total of 22 years full time, raced for factory teams, been South African champion and caused much chaos on and off track.
We were a naughty bunch, most stories are cringe worthy and many are hard to believe as they were just plain crazy and/or stupid.
I still compete in the odd event and often bump into old friends and racers.
This sport of ours is an amazing sport, yet not everyone will agree…..I suppose you had to be there.