[Part of a letter Mac Bonar and his wife received from
Ronnie Grace – a South Africa A7 enthusiast].
…..”I Don’t know if I ever mentioned to you that Dougie Van Riet, who raced Austin Sevens in South Africa in the thirties, the forties and early fifties, is still alive and
well living in a town called Gordons Bay near Cape Town. Dougie is now 96 years of
age and his mind is as clear as always.
He raced one of the “Dutch Clogs” of which the Austin company made three.
This was a pukka racing machine which he raced
in SA very successfully in the thirties.
He was a great friend of Sir Herbert and the two of them kept in touch
for many years. It was Sir Herbert who
offered the care to him to race in SA in the thirties. A few years ago Dougie sold the car to a
person in the UK and it left this country.
Dougie raced in the various SA Grand Prix in the thirties against such
greats as the rear-engined Auto Unions driven by Rosemeyer and others.
You can sit and listed to Dougie all day telling you about his racing
exploits against such greats as Raymond Mays in his ERA’s,
Earl Howe and Dick Seaman and many Italian greats of the thirties.
raced a very fast supercharged Ulster in
the thirties. This car was bought by a
chap in Knysna up the east cost of SA. I know the owner of this Ulster. His name is Peter Vadas
and he brought the care down for our 80th anniversary show. Dougie even won one of the Grand Prix with
his Austin Seven racer. I tried to get
Dougie to come to our 80th anniversary show but at the last minute
he could not make it. I wish somebody
could make a film about Dougie by merely interviewing him and chatting about
his racing exploits, before he passes on and all that history is lost. He is a really remarkable man. I am sure of it that you have heard of him in