Melani Cooki, driving her father’s BMW E36 325, made history at Killarney in Round 1 of the Power Series presented by Wingfield Motors and Kfm 94.5 on Saturday 6 February as she not only became the first woman driver in living memory to win a saloon car race outright, she went on to score a hard-fought hat trick of three Bejo Trustees Fine Cars wins in one day!

Ms Cook started Race 1 in fourth behind Gunther Appelgryn’s BMW E36, Jan Koekemoer in a Mazda RX7 and the astonishing Piri Piri Racing Mini 1000 of Stuart Greig, but powered past Greig and Appelgryn on lap three to take the lead. As she gradually eased away to finish 3.38sec clear of the field, Appelgryn, Koekemoer and Rodney Green (Piri Piri Racing MGB) fought it out for second in a monumental dice that saw them finish in that order, covered by less than a second.

Race 2 was a lot tighter; Koekemoer ran a close second to Cook for two laps before falling victim to Appelgryn’s shamrock green E36. He dropped back in the closing stages to finish almost seven seconds off the pace while Appelgryn, Fred Phillips (Piri Piri Racing Morgan 4/4) and Green chased Cook all the way to the flag, all four coming home within three seconds.

Appelgryn and Green were the only drivers able to stay with the Cook BMW in Race 3, as she eased home to her third win of the day, 1.5 seconds clear of Appelgryn and 2.5 seconds ahead of Green. Fourth, after a fine midfield dice, was Koekemoer’s Mazda.

It was a battle of the giants in the Sports & GT category races as local hero Steve Humble in the Judd-powered Harp Pilbeam and SA Endurance Series champion Franco Scribante in his freshly rebuilt Porsche 997 TT fought it out for line honours. Scribante led the first six laps before being overtaken by Humble – but the fight wasn’t over, as Scribante dived down the inside going into Kfm Corner at the start of lap eight and the two came together.

Externally, the damage to both cars seemed minimal but the Porsche refused to shift out of sixth gear and Scribante cruised round to the pits to retire while Humble went on to win by almost nine seconds from Dayne Angel (Autohaus Angel Porsche GT2 R) and his father Marcel in the new Autohaus Angel Ferrari 488 GT3.

The Scribante Porsche was back for Race 2 and running as hard as ever, but Humble was on top form, posting the fastest lap of the day at a blistering 1min08.559 on lap four, and there was no way the visitor was going to challenge for the win. Scribante finished a fine second, only 1.1sec behind the Pilbeam, while Dayne Angel beat his father for third by just 0.01sec after a superb dice.

Marco Busi (Automan Polo) and Jurie ‘Umpie’ Swart (VW Polo) shared the honours in the Cheaper Cars GTi Challenge races with a win apiece. In Race 1 Busi was followed home by Swart, Jano van der Westhuizen (VW Polo 6R) and Colin Meder (International Tube Technology Polo) after early challenger Jason Coetzee (Mint Wrapworks/CK Coachworks Polo 6) dropped back in the closing stages to finish seventh.

Ian Kapp (Hydracor Golf Mk1 1.8L) won Class B from Eden Thompson (Mad Performance/Somerset Refrigeration Polo 6) and Byron Mitchell (Dolphin Engineering Golf Mk1), while Kyle Wiltshire (VW Golf Mk1 1.8L) led Class C.

Swart struck back in Race 2, leading every lap and finishing 2.6 seconds ahead of Busi and Coetzee, while Van der Westhuizen got the best of a superb three-way battle for fourth with Meder and Mario Roux (Automan Jetta 2L) that saw them finish in that order, covered by less than a second.