Neville Lederle

Neville Lederle

25/9/1938

Regarded as one of his country's outstanding prospects, Lederle made an immediate impression on South African racing with his Lotus 18 late in 1961. This promise was confirmed the following year, when he finished sixth in the South African GP to score a point in his only Grand Prix start.

Lederle started racing in 1958, while touring through Europe as a student. When he returned home to South Africa he took up both rallying and racing. With support from his father, who bought him a Porsche 356 Super 90 to race, Lederle finished 3rd in the 1960 Junior Transvaal Summer Handicap. He returned to England in 1961, acquired a Lotus 20 Junior and entered the Jim Russell Racing School. In club races he started posting some respectable finishes with a 4th at Silverstone and 6th at Snetterton.

Lederle took his Lotus back to South Africa at the end of the year. Between 1960 and 1975 South Africa ran its national championship to Formula One specifications and the Lotus was upgrated with a 1480cc Ford pushrod engine.

1962 started well with a 3rd place in the Coronation 100 and a 2nd in the first heat of the Border 100 at East London, Neville scored his first win in the Lotus 20 in the second heat of the Westmead 120. He also finished 3rd overall at Kyalami in the Rand Winter Trophy.

Late in 1962, he aquired the ex Jim Clark/Trevor Taylor Lotus 21. In it's first race, the Rand Spring Trophy at Kyalami, Lederle finished 2nd in both heats and 2nd overall behind Gary Hocking. Another 2nd place followed at the Rhodesian Grand Prix at Kumalo once again behind Hocking.

At the Rand Grand Prix, held at Kyalami, Lederle drove his Lotus 21 to a magnificent 5th, behind Clark, Taylor, Surtees and Hocking. The Natal Grand Prix at Westmead the next weekend, was overshadowed by Gary Hocking's fatal accident in practice. Neville didn't drive in the first heat, in the second he finished 3rd behind Taylor and Graham Hill and in the final he finished 4th.

Then, on 29 December he entered the South African GP at East London, This was his and South Africa's first World Championship race. Lederle qualified in a fine 10th place, 4.3 seconds behind pole-sitter Clark, but still ahead of Lola's other works driver Roy Salvadori. He was also the fastest private local entrant, 2.8s ahead of Love.

In the race, Clark led until an oil leak intervened, handing victory to Hill. Lederle drove a steady race to finish 6th, four laps down on the winner, but ahead of Ginther and Johnstone in the works BRMs, as well as Love, Pieterse and Carel Godin de Beaufort. Neville had thus scored a point in his first World Championship Grand Prix.
However this was not all good news as now, as he was classed as a graded driver, he was not eligible to score points in Formula Junior or national races outside South Africa.

So in 1963 Neville deceided to stay at home where he dominating his domestic series with a string of wins in his Lotus 21, until an accident in practice at the Rand 9 Hours sports car race in the Lotus 23 he shared with Brausch Niemann, left him with a broken leg. This proved slow to heal and he needed virtually an entire year to recuperate. His father had also died and left him as the owner of the family business.

He therefor missed the South African Grand Prix and the Springbok series.

The with increasing business commitments, he sold his Lotus to Aldo Scribante and retired. Scribante did persuade him to race again late in 1964 but the Lotus was a shadow of its former self and after finishing 10th in the Rand Grand Prix, he failed to qualify for the South African GP in January 1965.

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