[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.


Dougie also 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 England.”