ATLANTA, Georgia — The wheels of Delta flight 201 touched down around 6:45 a.m. this morning and the majority of the Americans who traveled to the ASA Transcontinental Series Free State 500 have returned to American soil. After clearing customs, they are now heading to their connecting flights for a safe trip home.
"Overall, it was a great time and a real success," Mike Lemke, Head Tech Director for the ASATS Warthog Tech Team said. "We had a smooth flight back to the USA and all of us will have memories that will last a long time.
The final two days in South Africa was an opportunity for some fun and the opportunity to experience some of the great South African culture.
On Monday, the teams and officials traveled up to The Savannah Africa which is owned by Bobby Hartslief, the man who built the Phakisa Freeway Circuit that the Free State 500 was contested on. Everyone involved had an opportunity to take an African safari where a majority saw giraffes, rhinos, wallabies, ostriches, sables, and much more.
At 4:00 p.m. on Monday a large group walked up to the Cheetah habitat on got a rare up close look of a male cheetah as it came out of the high bushes for its daily meal of 2 kilograms of meat. The group was about 10 ft. away as the cheetah quickly ate its meal and returned to its hiding area. About an hour and a half later, the female cheetah came out and enjoyed her meal in front of a small group of ASA teams and officials.
That night, everyone enjoyed an awesome last meal together at Savannah which included entertainment from young zulu dancers and singers giving all of the visitors a taste of the South African culture.
The final day in South Africa included a trip to an outdoor market where a majority were able to tryout the art of haggling and come away with some well priced gifts to bring home for themselves or family and friends.
Over in the United Kingdom, the BBC is planning on meeting Free State 500 winner John Mickel upon his return. Mickel passed Toni McCray on the last lap to win the 207-lap event on Sunday. Marc Davis finished third with Rick McCray in fourth and South African driver Johan Spies in fifth.