The first round of the 2020 regional Power Series presented by Wingfield Motors at Killarney International Raceway on Saturday 7 March delivered superb motor racing in a new format, including a number of surprises from new faces and new machines.

Danie van Niekerk (Wingfield Motors BMW E36) qualified on pole for the Mike’s Place Clubmans Saloons but had to give best in Race 1, coming home third on the road behind Brennon Green (Weskaap Bakwerke Golf 5) and Nieyaaz Modack’s BMW – only to be penalised 20 seconds for overtaking under a yellow flag, which dropped him down to 17th and promoted Clint Rennard (G&A Promotions Golf 2L) into third.

Wayne Wilson in the DTM Helderberg Maxima topped Class B, Ederees Achmat (EA Performance M3) led Class C, Noel Stander won Class D in a Volkswagen Polo, Dwayne Bernard took Class E in the GR5 Degreaser BMW E46 and Class F honours went to Dewald Theron in the Delcon Golf Mk1.

Van Niekerk’s run of bad luck continued in Race 2, as he ran two seconds off his qualifying pace in ninth overall until he went out on lap six, while Green, Modack, Michael le Sueur (New Engineering Golf 1), Rennard, Mansoor Parker (BMW E30), Rafick Pather (LVT’s BMW E46) and Cody Alberts (Stylesy/GT Graphix BMW 330) made the running at the sharp end of the field, finishing in that order with 4.346 seconds covering all seven at the line.

Veteran Ewald Weiland (Alfa Romeo GTV) was the Class B leader in ninth overall, with Willem Swart taking Class C honours in the WFS Motors Jetta. Gary Manwaring (BMW 325) led Class D, Bernard made it a double in Class E and Theron did the same in Class F.

Michael Hitchcock surprised everybody (including himself, we suspect) by grabbing the lead on lap one of the first BeJoTrustees Fine Cars and Millstock Cars Pre 1980 and Pre 1990 Cars races in the Cross Cape Mustang and holding it until lap six, when Franco Donadio and his all-conquering Ford Escort Mk1 relegated him to second.

Two laps later the Pony Car spun in G Energy corner and came to rest on the edge of the circuit with flames coming from the right rear wheel. That was the end of Hitchcock’s race – and everybody else’s as well, as the red flags came out. Erik Mouton (Chev De Ville) was classified second and Eric van der Merwe third in the Lynx Porsche 944T.

Geoff Bihl led Class B in the second Lynx Porsche, just ahead of Class C winner Trevor Hutchings (HSC Racing Scirocco 1.8L). Class E leader Ian Richards (Datsun 1200GX) finished 22nd overall,  four places ahead of Class D winner James Matthee’s Technofill Honda CRX 1.6L and six in front of sole Class F entry Andrea Bate in a Morris Minor.

Clive Spolander’s BMW E36 was the first Fine Car Home, ahead of Jaco Lambert’s VW Jetta and the BMW E36 of Albert Cook.

Donadio led Race 2 from lights to flag, followed home at a respectful distance by Van der Merwe,  Mouton and Hitchcock, his Mustang seemingly none the worse for its earlier mishap. Bruce Avern-Taplin (Toyota Corolla 1.6) was fifth overall to take Class C honours, three spots ahead of Class B winner Bihl, while Matthee took Class D, Richards Class E and Bate Class F.

Lambert’s Jetta led the Fine Cars from Cook and Theo Claassen (Yesterday’s Heroes Skyline GTX).

The Cheaper Cars GTi Challenge gave their new sponsor a memorable debut as Jurie “Umpie” Swart (G Energy Polo 6) and Marco Busi in the Automan Polo 6R battled it out all the way, finishing just 0.363sec apart with Nian du Toit 1.5 seconds further back.

Eden Thompson (VW Jetta) was the Class B leader, with Jason Coetzee (CK Coachworks Golf GTi)  taking the top slot in Class C.

Swart ran third behind Busi and Du Toit in Race 2 until the G Energy Polo went sick on lap four; Du Toit then grabbed the lead and held on to win by 0.994sec from Busi and Colin Meder’s International Tube Polo.

Thompson made it a double in Class B, while Kyle Wiltshire led home the Class C crew in his VW Golf Mk1 1.8L.

Craig Jarvis and the Maui Motorhomes Ginetta G57 walked away with the first Sports & GT race until Jarvis dropped a wheel over the edge of the circuit coming out of Fastron Corner on lap eight and broke a driveshaft. That handed the lead to Dawie Joubert’s ‘giant killer’ Honda-powered Lotus Exige, with Steve Humble’s Opel Mallock Mk14B hot on his tailpipes.

Humble made his move on the very last lap, outbraking the Exige to take the win by 1.56 seconds, with Josh Broome, out for the first time at Killarney in the ‘twin Hayabusa’ RBR/Spitfire Furniture  Radical SRB, a distant third. Gary Kieswetter (Advanced Packaging Porsche GT3 RS) led Class B in fifth overall, Louis de Jager’s Lola T212 was the top Class C finisher and Ray Farnham took Class D in his two-litre Opel-powered Birkin 7.

Steve Humble’s Harp Motorsport crew replaced the Ginetta’s driveshaft in two hours flat, ready for Race 2. Jarvis made no mistakes and led from lights to flag, to win by 9.203 seconds from Joubert, Humble and Broome, with Kieswetter, De Jager and Farnham leading their respective classes again.

Kewyn Snyman (Kawasaki ZX10R) laid down his marker for the 2020 RST Suzuki South Superbike series title in his first ever outing on a litre-class machine with a superb clean sweep of pole position, the fastest lap in each race and two race wins.

Which is not to say that he had it all his own way. Multiple former Regional Champion Ronald Slamet, out for the first time on the brand new JP Markets/Mad Macs ZX-10R, chased him for most of the race, until Snyman pulled the pin in the closing stages and pulled away to win by 9.413 seconds, posting the fastest lap of the race (1min 11.813sec, a new personal best) three laps from the end.

Behind them an epic four-way fight for third resolved itself into two separate duels as Gerrit Visser (Yamaha R1) recovered from a poor start to make up two places and beat Bernard Haupt’s Fueled Racing R1 by 0.208sec for third, while Rob Cragg (Mad Macs ZX-10R) took fifth (and first in the Masters Class) by just 0.056sec from Malcolm Rapson’s family-funded Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Snyman muffed the start in Race 2; he was fifth going into KFM Corner, second at the end of lap one and outbraked Slamet for the lead on lap three, then pulled away to win by 4.859 seconds. Visser did well in the first-corner traffic jam, came out in third and held it to the flag, with Haupt a further 1.244 seconds adrift.

Behind him Rapson and Cragg put up another cliffhanger dice, finishing just 0.630sec apart after swapping positions on the very last lap, with Rapson ahead when it counted.

Much of the steam was expected to go out of the Clubmans races with the promotion of red hot rookie Lubabalo Ntisana to the Superbike ranks, but Willem Binedell and and the Chefathome ZX-10R stepped up to qualify on pole and lead every lap of Race 1 except the last one, when he was mugged by the vastly experienced Wayne Arendse on the JJ Smith Trust ZX-10R.

They finished 0.092sec apart after a superb four-way scrap with Paul Rulu (Engine Guru ZX-10R) just beating an on-form Deon Ebel (Honda CBR1000RR) for third, 1.8 seconds further adrift.

Michael du Toit (Suzuki GSX-R1000) and Brandon Bramdaw (QP Racing R1) led the Class B charge, with Nasief Smart the top Breakfast Runner, right behind them in 10th overall.

Race 2 was even better as Ebel outdragged Arendse into Turn 1, and chased Binedell for all he was worth until Arendse passed him on lap three and set off after the leader. Arendse posted the fastest time of the race on lap four, but the Chefathome rider was able to hold him off by upping his game on the final lap to finish 0.473sec ahead.

Ebel, Justin Michau and Rulu chased them home, Zobair Adams (QP Racing GSX-R750) and Bramdaw headed Class B and Smart led the Breakfast Runners again in 10th overall.

Trevor Westman walked away to win the first of the Powersport races on the Monza Group Ninja 650, well ahead of Franco Flach (Kawasaki ER650) and Edward Rolstone (Kawasaki ER6N). Rolstone and Flach were a lot closer in Race 2 however, finishing in that order eight seconds adrift, just 0.051sec apart.

The closest racing of the day, however, came from the teenagers of the Powersport 300 Class. Slade van Niekerk (Prestige R3) and David Lindemann (Fueled Racing R3) finished fourth and fifth overall, separated by a scant 0.008sec, in Race 1 after swopping places four times in eight laps.

Lindemann got his revenge in Race 2 however, passing his arch-rival three laps from the end and holding onto a tenuous lead to come home 0.541sec ahead.

The first V8 Masters/Makita Supercars race was red-flagged on lap three after two Supercars spun in KFM Corner and got stuck in an inseparable embrace in the middle of the circuit. In the end, however, it made no difference because Marcel Angel, Sean Moore and Richard Schreuder battled it out in the restart to finish in the same order they were in when the red flags came out – as did Ryan Mccarthy, Martin Bensch and Hilton Pieters at the front of the Supercar field.

Race 2 saw Fabio Tafani chase Angel all the way to the line, finsishing just 0.177sec in arrears, with  Barry Ingle a distant third after Schreuder went out on lap five. McCarthy, Pieters and Glen Phillips led the Supercar charge in the absence of Bensch, who didn’t start the second leg.

Byron Mitchell dominated the Formula Libre races in the Dolphin Engineering Formula VW, qualifying on pole and leading every lap of both races. He lapped everybody up to fifth in Race 1 and finished more than a minute ahead of second-placed Albertus Engelbrecht in the ex-Dee-Jay Booysen RM08.

Engelbrecht gave the second race a cliff-hanger finish, however, when he muffed the start and fought his way through the pack from fifth on lap one to take second away from Damian White’s Formula GTi Ray on the last lap.