25 Feb BIG FIELDS, BIG EXCITEMENT IN ROUND 1 OF POWER SERIES SPONSORED BY WINGFIELD MOTORS AT KILLARNEY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Round 1 of the 2019 Powers Series sponsored by Wingfield Motors at Killarney International Raceway on Saturday 23 February delivered superb racing and some surprise results, as new competitors and new driver/car combinations found their place in the pecking order.
Dominating proceedings in both their record entry numbers and vociferous support from the large crowd of spectators were the Mikes Place Clubman Saloons – all 46 of them! Nieyaaz Modack put his Audi S4 on pole and led the first five laps of Race 1, with Danie van Niekerk (Van Niekerk Racing BMW 325 E36) and Alex Johnson (Executive Decisions Audi A4 Turbo) in hot pursuit, but was forced to drop out on lap six.
None of them, however, had an answer for Clint Rennard and his two-litre G&A Speed Precision Golf; Rennard qualified sixth but got a poor start, completing lap one in 15th. Then he went on a charge, making up eight places in lap two and another two in lap three. He was up to third when Modack went out and seized the opportunity to grab the lead on lap six, while Van Niekerk dropped back to fourth behind Rennard, Jesse Huggett (two-litre Volkswagen Jetta ) and Michael le Sueur’s Volkswagen Golf Mk1.
Modack didn’t come out for Race 2, leaving Rennard to win by three seconds from Le Sueur, Huggett and Van Niekerk.
Nian du Toit threw down the gauntlet by qualifying his two-litre Volkswagen Jetta 0.68sec clear of the field for the Burly Pro GTI Challenge races, and won both in fine style. He was followed home in Race 1 by Umpie Swart (two-litre Polo 6) and Colin Meder (Polo 6 R); in Race 2, however, Swart dropped out of second on lap six, leaving Meder and Chris Swart (two-litre Jetta Mk2) to complete the podium.
The first Shatterfix Fine Cars race was fought out for the first six laps between Clifford Bacon (BMW 535) and Jaco Lambert (Volkswagen Jetta) until Bacon dropped back to eighth on lap six, leaving Lambert to romp home ahead of Arnold Lambert,(Volkswagen Jetta) and Maurizio Toscano (Volkswagen Passat).
Race 2 was a classic as invitation driver Jaco Lambert sliced through from his start position at the back of the grid to take the lead on lap four. Arnold Lambert struck back a lap later and the two fought it out to the line, finishing so close that the timekeepers were unable to separate them – they were less than one thousandth if a second apart at the line.
After studying the photo finish the stewards awarded the win to Arnold Lambert, but both were credited with the same race time. Robert Toscano (Mazda MX5) took third, almost four seconds adrift. That gave Arnold Lambert the Index of Performance win for the day, ahead of Melani Cook (Volkswagen Fox) and Maurizio Toscano.
The first Pirelli Sports & GT Cars race was a real David and Goliath story, fought out between Steve Humble in his two-litre Opel powered Mallock Mk14B and Francis Carruthers’ monster seven-litre V8 Chev Aquila CR1. The nimble, lightweight Mallock had the edge on Carruthers through the twisty bits, outbraking the Aquila decisively into corners, but had no answer for the big V8 on the straights. The two swopped places a number of times before Humble coasted to a halt on lap six, leaving Carruthers to rumble home to the win, by almost two seconds from Colin Pitt’s 2.4 litre Honda-engined Juno SS3, well clear of Gary Kieswetter’s Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
Humble’s Mallock was ready for Race 2; he led for the first three laps before Johan Engelbrecht, who had taken over the big Aquila from Carruthers, powered past to build up a lead he was to hold to the end, finishing 2.4 seconds clear of the field, with Pitt third.
The RST Suzuki South Superbike races featured a number of new rider/bike combinations and it one of these, multiple Super600 champion Hayden Jonas, who turned the Superbike series on its ear with two superb wins on his debut aboard the brand-new Samurai R1, resplendent in yellow and black livery that quickly led to his being nicknamed ‘Bumblebee’.
He was chased home in Race 1 by Ronald Slamet, back on a new PM Motorsport M1 after a two-year absence, and almost immediately on the pace. He got a poor start and battled to get by Bernard Haupt’s Fueled Racing R1, but once he’d made a move that stuck he was able to consolidate a solid second, ahead of Haupt, Gerrit Visser (Yamaha R1) and Trevor Westman on the Mad Macs ZX-10R.
Kewyn Snyman (Hillbilly R6) and Jared Schultz (ASAP World R6) but up a superb dice for Super600 line honours until Snyman slid off in G-Energy Corner, while SuperMaster rivals Quintin Ebden (Milu R1) and Rob Cragg (Mad Macs ZX-10R) were even closer, finishing in that order just 0.08sec apart.
Slamet said after Race 1 that if he got a better start he could challenge for the lead – and that’s exactly what he did in the second outing, taking the lead in the first-corner melee and holding it for two laps. There was no holding the Bumblebee, however, as he grabbed the lead on lap three and pulled slowly away to win by a littler more than two seconds from Slamet, Visser, Haupt and Westman.
Frankie Breedt of Race Base worked a minor miracle to put the ASAP World R6 back on the grid for Race 2, but its front suspension was out of alignment and, mindful of the National races just a week hence, Schultz was under orders to bring it back in one piece. He finished well down in 10th overall while Snyman beat all the litre-class SuperMasters to come home sixth overall.
Ebden pulled out after four laps, leaving Cragg and Malcolm Rapson (Kawasaki ZX-10R), both former Regional champions, to debate line honours in the over-35 category. In the event Cragg got the better of a superb dice to win by 0.109sec.
The battle in the RST Trac Mac Clubmans Class races was even more intense; Wayne Arendse, out for the first time on the ex-Leroy Malan Kawasaki ZX-10R, found himself under extreme pressure from former National contender Aran van Niekerk, who’d got tired of waiting for a broken foot to heal and was out on a VanBros Racing R6.
Despite being forced to adopt an awkward cornering style Van Niekerk was quicker around the corners than Arendse – but the big Kawasaki was significantly faster on the straights. The two swopped places at least once on every lap of Race 1, but it was Van Niekerk who was in front by 1.366sec when it mattered, with Dylan Croudace on a Ducati Panigale a distant third.
Arendse tried a different strategy for Race 2; he followed the R6 around for eight laps, planning to blitz the smaller machine out of the final corner and outdrag him to the line – but the Kawasaki missed a shift at the worst possible moment and Arendse crossed the line a bare 0.87sec adrift. Less than two seconds later Joske Kotze (JB Skips ZX-6R) and Croudace crossed the line just 0.403sec apart after an epic dice for third.
Arendse went on to take his revenge in the RST Trac Mac Powersport race, riding Paul Medell’s Kawasaki ER650 to a convincing win from the similar machine of Willem Louw, who just avoided being beaten for second overall by a flying Jason Linaker (on a Samurai Ninja 300!) – the gap at the line was 0.003sec.
One-make racing is always close, but fans of the V8 Masters class were treated to a superb showdown in Race 1 when the first four – Fabio Tafani, Richard Schreuder, Mark Ridgway and Brian Evans – finished in less than 1.4 sec after a blockbuster dice.
Tafani pulled away in Race 2, however, to finish three seconds clear of Ridgway, Sean Moore and Evans.
By contrast, Dee-Jay Booysen had it all his own way in both Formula Libre races, walking away to unchallenged wins in both races in his Suzuki-powered RM08, by 43 seconds in Race 1 from Winston Jardine (two-litre VW Reynard) and Sean le Riche (Formula Renault). The gap was almost as big – 36 secondsc – in Race 2, but this time Damian White and his two-litre VW Ray won the battle for second from Jardine and Le Riche.