07 Jun RACE REPORT: Power Series 5 June 2021 S> Bertha Wines 100
DRAMATIC FIGHT FOR THE LEAD ADDS SPARKLE TO THE BERTHA WINES 100
Sports and GT racing fans got all the drama they could have wished for in the Bertha Wines at Weltevreden Estate 100 kilometre race at Round 4 of the Power Series presented by Wingfield Motors and Kfm 94.5 on Saturday 5 June at Killarney.
After the resounding success of the second annual Ons Huisie 100 in April, the vast majority of the Sports and GT drivers indicated that they would prefer a single, longer race to the usual two sprint races at a Power Series event – and that’s exactly what they got: A 31-lap, 101 kilometre mini-enduro.
As soon as the entry list was published it was obvious that this would be a grudge match between Gary Kieswetter in the Advanced Packaging Porsche GT3 Cup and Steve Humble’s Opel-powered Mallock Mk14B, after Kieswetter ramped right over the low-slung Mallock and into the kitty litter in Kfm Corner during the Ons Huisie 100, taking both of them out of the race.
On the day Humble’s Harp Motorsport stablemate Francis Carruthers put his Pilbeam MP84 on pole, with Humble alongside him and Kieswetter on the second row of the grid alongside third-fastest qualifier Mike Verrier in the RBR/Aidcall 247 Nissan Shelby Canam.
But that didn’t last long; by the end of the first lap Kieswetter had relegated Verrier to fourth and was using the tremendous acceleration of the big flat-six to close in on the Mallock, passing Humble on lap four to take second.
Carruthers was running consistently a second a lap faster than the Porsche, however, and there seemed little chance of Kieswetter challenging for the lead as Humble settled in behind him, ready to pounce if the opportunity arose.
There was plenty of drama behind them as drivers throughout the 15-strong field jockeyed for position. On lap 11 Verrier beached the Canam on the inside of Kfm Corner and was unable to get going again, promoting late entry Andre Brink’s Class B Porsche 997 Cup to an unexpected fourth.
Three laps later, Carruthers slowed radically coming out of Kfm Corner, the only left-hander on the circuit, and dropped back to third behind Kieswetter and Humble. The Pilbeam picked up speed again later in the lap but the same thing happened in Kfm Corner on the next lap.
The fault was later assumed to be a problem with the pickup in the fuel tank but, inexplicably, after another two laps it cured itself and Carruthers was back to race-winning pace. He passed Humble for second on lap 16 and retook the lead from Kieswetter five laps later.
Humble, meanwhile, was using the Mallock’s light weight to out-brake and out-corner Kieswetter, offsetting the Porsche’s advantage in straight-line speed. Nevertheless, he had to push hard to do it, half-spinning twice (and catching up again each time!) before a half-shaft let go five laps from the end and the Mallock’s race was run.
Kieswetter, now an unchallenged second, was able to close to within 1.137 seconds of Carruthers by the flag, with Brink more than a minute further back in a lonely third spot, the only other driver on the lead lap.
Martin Pugh in the Appleberry Canam finished fourth overall and second in Class B, well clear of Gavin Gorman’s sweet little Volkswagen-powered Nardini, fifth overall and third in Class B. Just six seconds later, veteran Louis de Jager in his Lola T212 was the only Class C finisher in sixth overall, two laps ahead of Class D winner Hennie Trollip’s Lotus 7 replica.