The South African motorsport community was plunged into a state of depression last Saturday, when veteran racer Gavin Ramsay died in a crash at the Western Cape Killarney circuit.
Ramsay, 54, was riding his Suzuki in the Passion for Speed event’s second South African Tourist Trophy when the crash happened, and he died at the scene. After the incident accusations of slack circuit safety measures flew around, but we are not going to join that fray.
Instead, we want to honour the memory of a tough, talented and relentless racer, who did what he did for the love of the game until that final moment in Turn One at Killarney last Saturday. Ramsay started racing 50cc motorcycles in Gauteng during the late 1970s, moving up to the 250cc Racing Bike and 400cc Production Bike series a few years later.
The talented youngster was noticed by veteran competitor and team manager Les van Breda, and Van Breda Racing started an association with Ramsay that endured until last weekend.
Ramsay rewarded their faith in his abilities by winning four national 400cc Production Bike titles on their Van Breda Racing Suzukis. He also won numerous 600cc races and was rewarded with Springbok colours in 1986.
He raced in the national Superbike Championships for many years, did pristine service in the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 Masters championship and, in recent years, rode a Suzuki GSXR in races for Historic Motorcycles and Thunderbike events. “He never lost his competitive edge. He always raced hard, gave his all and loved what he did on the track,” Les van Breda said. “I feel like I have lost a son,” he added.
Ramsay, an instrument technician, left his wife Debbie, son Luke and daughter Samantha. A memorial service will be held at the Riverside Country Estate in Springs on Friday at 2pm.
Veteran motorsport photographer Tony Alves sent us these photographs from his files.