ALLAN AND THE PEARCE CONNECTION

Monday, 09 November 2015
Illovo Sugar Ltd

"ALLAN McCULLOUGH is Noodsberg’s instrument foreman and he is also involved in the world of motor racing"

ALLAN McCULLOUGH is Noodsberg’s instrument foreman and he is also involved in the world of motor racing. As team manager for the Frankies Soft Drinks team, he is a regular in the South African endurance race series. Their most recent event was this year’s six-hour race held at Phakisa raceway outside Welkom.

“In this year’s event we managed to finish 8th overall and first in class,” Allan reports. “This in spite of breaking a rear hub with 25 minutes to go before the flag dropped. We managed to pit the car, change the rear hub and get going in 9½ minutes without a brake disc which broke and we still managed to finish with a two lap lead over the next car. Our drivers are Mike Schmidt and Bruce Avern Taplin.”

It was through their mutual interest in motorsports that Allan met up with Roger Pearce, a nephew of Olliver Pearce, a name that means so much in Illovo circles – but especially at various times at the old Illovo mill which was later moved to Eston and also at Noodsberg mill, the building of which was mainly due to Olliver Pearce. Roger Pearce is the organiser of the South African endurance series of motorsports events.

Roger has even passed on to Allan the recipe for “Janeke’s Illovo Curry” which he claims is still the best curry recipe out there, plus some comments on the Pearce connection. In an email he says:

“Janeke was the Illovo chef and was also the wife of Olliver’s driver. Olliver was my Dad’s brother. My father was William (Editor’s note: Not the original William Pearce who founded Illovo mill, but his grandson). I was the only son of that generation but with me having three sons there is a continuation of the breed. The grandchild in the photo is Ethan Pearce, son of Sean Pearce who is my eldest son.

“My memories of the Illovo house are mainly centred around Christmas when the clan gathered. A lavish dinner was held in the entrance and I could never understand why it was not held in what appeared to be a ballroom with a sprung floor at the front of the house. This is especially as the hall dining room was right next to Olliver’s ham radio shack and woe betide any kid making a noise near that room! ZS5JY if I remember was his call sign or perhaps my Dad’s, who was also a bit of ham. (Editor’s note: ZS5JY was indeed Olliver’s Natal call sign, relinquished when he went to live in the United States in 1979, when it became WU41.)

“I passed by Illovo the other day and it was sad to see no plant standing but I did come across a street sign bearing the Pearce name.”

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ALLAN McCULLOUGH and Roger Pearce (right) with Roger’s grandson Ethan Pearce.

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ALLAN McCULLOUGH (left), Noodsberg’s instrument foreman, lines up with his team and their car in the South African endurance race series.



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