04 Dec POWER SERIES ROUND 9 (FINAL) SATURDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2019 – REVIEW
ONE-HOUR GTI ENDURO AT KILLARNEY GOES DOWN TO THE WIRE
The double-points one hour Burly Pro GTi Challenge headlining the ninth and final round of the Power Series sponsored by Wingfield Motors, with support from our media partner Kfm 94.5 at Killarney International Raceway on Saturday 30 November provided a thriller climax to a the season’s racing as the top three finished within 5.198 seconds after an hour of frantic racing and some dramatic pit-stops.
The rules dictated that each lead driver be partnered by somebody who had not scored points in the Challenge during 2019; early favourite, Polo Cup star Jurie ‘Umpie’ Swart in the Alpine Autohaus Polo 6 2L, was teamed with E36 Cup rallycrosser Zack Groenwald, while rivals Colin Meder (International Tube polo 6R) and Chris Roberts (BMT Offshore Polio 6R) were partnered by former GTi drivers Andrew Goslett and Jacques Geldenhuys respectively.
The drama began on the very first lap when Kyle Wiltshire crashed the VW Golf Mk1 he was sharing with Dario Busi big time coming out of Malmesbury Sweep, bringing out the Virtual Safety Car boards. When racing resumed Geldenhuys led the way in Roberts’ Polo from Swart and Meder, with Shane du Toit in Eden Thompson’s Golf Mk1 debating the Class B lead with George Schutte in a similar car, ahead of Giordano Lupini’s Class C-leading Accelerate Golf Mk1.
Swart moved into the lead on lap 9 and soon pulled away; Meder moved up to challenge Geldenhuys while Du Toit took over the Class lead in fourth overall ahead of Schutte.
Class C leaders Jason Coetzee (CK Coachworks Golf Gti) and Lupini got so into their dice for class honours that Coetzee missed the driver change window and was excluded, handing the class win to Lupini and partner Anwar Levy.
Groenewald, meanwhile, had taken over the Swart Polo and was circulating steadily in the lead, ahead of a huge dice between Roberts and Goslett, with Jaco Lambert fourth in Schutte’s Golf, Levy fifth and Killarney staffer (and former GTi Challenge champion) Paul Simon sixth, driving the second shift in Jarred Simpson’s Greenz Plumbing/Cape Refractory Golf 1.8.
Halfway through Lambert’s stint, however, the Schutte Golf began to smoke and Lambert suddenly dropped back on lap 28, promoting Levy to fourth overall, while Thompson struggled to bring the Class B Golf home, stone last, with a wonky left front axle.
At the other end of the field Groenewald cruised home to win by 4.940 seconds from Roberts and Goslett (who were just 0.258 seconds apart after 36 laps of racing) with Levy fourth, seven seconds ahead of Simon, with Peet van der Walt a further five seconds adrift in Marc Thompson’s VW Golf, the first Class B car home.
Earlier in the day, Marco Busi (Automan Polo) won a hard-fought and rather destructive GTi Challenge sprint by a solid 5.2 seconds from Meder and Roberts, while Swart parked the Alpine Autohaus Polo with clutch problems, Mitch Pasqualli’s PS91 Golf 1 went out sick and both lady drivers, Zante Otto and Leigh-Ann Smith, crashed out.
The Millstock Cars Pre 1980 and 1990 Cars & Shatterfix Fine Cars fielded the biggest field of the day, with 35 cars on parade. Louis Powell led Race 1 for the first five laps in his Hoosier/YR-5 Ecort Mk1 before dropping back and retiring on lap seven, leaving Eric van der Merwe (Lynx Porsche 944T) to romp home to a 5.4 second win over Michael Hitchcock’s Cross Cape Mustang and Steven Heydenrych in a Datsun 160Z, who were just 0.613sec apart over the line, with Jonathan Gunn (Volkswagen Scirroco) a further 1.081sec further back in fourth.
Powell put in some hard laps in Race 2, working his way up from 13th on lap one to fifth, only for the car to go sick again on lap six. Meanwhile, Van der Merwe took command at the front, leading from lights to flag and finishing 3.715 seconds ahead of Heydenrych, with Hitchcock less than a second further adrift in third.
Clifford Bacon’s elegant BMW 535 was the first Fine Car home in both races, from Theo Classen (Nissan Skyline GTX) and Albert Cook (BMW E36) in Race 1, and from Cook and Claassen in Race 2.
Hotshot rookie Lubabalo Ntisana (LB Auto ZX-10R) led every lap of both RST Trac Mac Clubmans motorcycle races – but he was under constant pressure from veteran Wayne Arendse (JJ Smith Trust ZX-10R), Jonathan Schwerin’s BMW S1000RR and Shaun Mackrill on the GFP Lighting ZX-10R.
Dylan Croudace (Ducati Panigale) ran third in the early stages of Race 1 but fell back at the end to finish 18th, while Chris Williams, in a rare appearance on the Trac Mac Panigale came in fourth behind Ntisana, Mackrill and Arendse.
The dice of the race, however was for ninth overall between Breakfast Runner Zobair Adams (Suzuki GSX-R750), Rick Minnaar (Suzuki GSX-R1000), Jonathan de Lange (Honda VTR1000 SP2), Nigel Boer (QP Racing GSX-R1000) and Robby Pedrica (Yamaha R1), all of who crossed the line within 1.58sec!
Race 2 was a real cracker, as Croudace came up in mid-race to pass Arendse and give Ntisana a real run for the silverware. The big V-twin was able to carry more corner speed but had no answer for the straightline speed of the LB Auto Kawasaki, coming in just 1.027sec adrift with Willem Binedell (Dog Box ZX-10R), Arendse and Williams right on his tail, all four finishing within less than 1.7sec.
Fabio Tafani took both V8 Masters races, chased all the way in Race 1 by Rui Campos, Richard Schreuder and Harry Taylor, after Sean Moore went out on lap two. Race 2 was a lot more clear-cut, however, as Tafani pulled clear to win by almost nine seconds. Behind him, however, there was a real battle for second between Moore, Schreuder, Mike Brooks, Fanie Theron and Andrew Strike, who finished in that order within 3.181 seconds of each other.
Ryan McCarthy, Hilton Pieters and Martin Bensch dominated the Makitas Supercars category, coming hone in that order in both races after some spirited skirmishing.
Craig Jarvis in the Maui Motorhomes Ginetta G57 was 12 seconds ahead of the field after four laps of the first Pirelli Sports & GT Cars race when Martin Pugh spun his Appleberry Can Am violently in KFM Corner, leaving bits of the car scattered about; at almost the same time Dawie Joubert’s Lotus Exige disgraced itself on the back straight, so the red flags came out for a spot of housekeeping by the marshals.
Neither Pugh nor Joubert made the restart, so Jarvis romped away to win by 34 seconds from Mike Verrier (Rico Barlow Can Am) and Steve Humble (Harp Mallock Mk14B). Jarvis, Humble and Verrier stamped their authority on Race 2 as well, finishing in that order as the Ginetta lapped everybody up to Peter van der Spuy (Xpel Porsche RSR Turbo) in fourth.
Byron Mitchell, out for the first time in the new Dolphin Engineering Formula Volkswagen, turned the Formula Libre establishment on its ear, outrunning the hitherto unbeatable Bidvest McCarthy RM08 of Dee-Jay Booysen in both races, with Claudio Piazza-Musso third each time in a Formula GTi Swift 92.
David Enticott usually races a Triumph 675 in the Superbike class, but he wasn’t about to miss the final event of the year, so he borrowed a Kawasaki ER650 from the Monza Group and proceeded to win his first ever Powersport race.
That race, however, delivered the closest finish of the day, with Enticott, Andrew Liebenberg (Calberg ER650) and Edward Rolstone (Kawasaki ER650) crossing the line in half a second. Thirteen seconds later David Lindemann (GM Contractors R3) beat Slade van Niekerk (Prestige/GT Graphics R3) for Powersport 300 line honours by 0.032sec after the dice of the day.
Enticott lost out to a determined Liebenberg by 0.851sec in Race 2, with Rolstone a just 0.014sec further adrift, while Van Niekerk took the Powersport 300 category from Lindemann by 0.048sec.