Mike Jay writes:

This event was a great finale to what has been a rather strange year. Our normal field was increased by some great up-country cars, namely Franco Scribante’s ultra-quick Porsche 997, fresh from wins at Zwartkops the previous weekend, as well as Marcel Angel in his Pablo Clark prepared Ferrari 488 GT3.

A neatly turned out Nissan 350Z in the hands of Steven McCarthy made its first-time appearance with Sports & GT.

An incredible return to the track of the ex-Johan Engelbrecht Porsche GT2. This car, after having its body shell repaired, only got back to Cape Town earlier in the week and thanks to the huge effort put in by GT Clubsport personnel it arrived at the track on Friday morning untested except for the short ride from Workshop to pits.

Also a new arrival to the field was the Ligier JS 53 Evo 2 of Nick Adcock which is a new car with upgrades to its current specification. This is the car with which Nick and Michael Jensen will compete in the 2021 South African Endurance Racing Series and will hopefully be seen at the 9 Hour at Killarney on Saturday 5 December, the final race of the 2020 race series. Nick and Michael’s 2019 SAES championship Ligier is up for sale with a complete spares package; contact Rico Barlow Racing for more details.

The other new addition to the field was Steve Humble in the Judd F1 V8 powered Pilbeam MP91 which had not raced in Sports & GT since arriving in the country in 2019. Also, a welcome return to the track by Francis Carruthers in the other Harp Motorsport Pilbeam MP84.

So it was that 18 cars took to the track for Friday’s three practice sessions. Some issues were picked up with gearboxes on both Josh Broome’s ultra-quick Radical SR 8 and Paul Beachy-Head’s Audi R8.

Each practice session that the former car went out it still had issues and the car approached Race Day with thumbs being held and fingers crossed that the last repair had resolved the issue. On Paul’s car the problem was found to be a ten-cent steel spring pin in the gearbox linkage which had sheared. Some quick work by Nian Du Toit saw the car back on the track for the final session of the day.

Race Day dawned with our qualifying session, all 18 cars were ready. Unfortunately Paul Beachy-Head’s Audi had an incident on the out lap in Turn 3 which saw his car reverse into the tyre barrier on the inside of the circuit doing damage to the car’s rear. Paul was perfectly OK but the car will need some TLC during the off season.

This red flagged the session with no times being set. So, with the help of Moira de Jager, our official statistics guru, and myself a grid was put together on best times achieved in previous races and estimates for those who had not set official times at the track.

The normal Drivers’ Briefing was held at 10:15am and nobody shot down the grid or the messenger.

So to Race 1 at just after midday, after crossing the start line, into Kfm Corner Franco took Steve Humble who had been on pole, with Marcel taking Josh exiting G-Energy. By Turn 3 Steve was back on the tail of the Porsche and into Car Car Clinic Sweep Steve retook the lead, only to loose it again with a spin exiting Fastron Corner, dropping him to fifth.

Franco went into the lead but on the next lap it was his turn to go ploughing off on the outside of Fastron, which brought Marcel to the lead – three different leaders in two laps. Further down the field Martin Pugh went off in Kfm Corner, beaching his Shelby CanAm and bringing out the yellow flag in this sector for the remainder of the race.

Meanwhile Steve was chasing hard to get back on the lead, posting a 1min08.84sec on lap three. He retook the lead from Marcel on lap four and by lap five Franco had regained second position. Lap six saw a clear field for Steve and he consolidated his lead with a blistering 1min08.482sec.

Meanwhile further down in the field great battles were occurring between Nick Adcock, Gary Kieswetter in his Porsche GT3, Francis and Mike Verrier in his Shelby Canam for sixth, seventh eighth and ninth, as well as between Gavin Gorman in the Nardini and Louis de Jager in the Lola for 11th and 12th.

On lap six smoke started to appear from under Steve McCarthy’s car and although he completed Race 1 a damaged drive train oil seal forced him to pull out of Race 2.

So it was that Steve won the race followed by Franco, Marcel, Dayne, Josh, Nick, Gary, Francis, Mike and Maarten Prins in his Porsche GT3 Cup car. One lap down, the next across the line was Gavin, then Louis, followed by Arno Church in his FvH7, Eric Salomon in his ELF S06 and Steve McCarthy. Cyril Ginsburg in his Porsche GT3 RS was the last across the line, two laps down.

After Martin Pugh’s car was recovered from the circuit it was found that a rear suspension link had bent in his first-corner off and after furious work in the break unfortunately the car could not make it out for Race 2. Gavin also withdrew from Race 2 due to strange noises from the gearbox.

The gearbox repair work done to Josh’s Radical on Friday had resulted in him not being able to use his paddle shift which definitely saw a slower car than in previous rounds.

Cyril came up to me at the end of Race 1 and said that the next race would be his last race in the Sports & GT category as he was planning to retire from our group and move to Classic Cars in a BMW painted in Gunston colours with a twist.

It is with a sad heart to see one of our section’s founding members and a real gentleman leaving but we know that he will still be an active member in our section trying to get other racers to join. You will be sorely missed.

Maarten Prins on the other hand posted his best time ever at 1min15.390sec. Well done Doc.

Race 2 saw the grid being Steve on pole, followed by Franco, Marcel, Dayne, Josh, Nick, Gary, Francis, Mike, Maarten, Louis, Arno, Eric and Cyril.

At the line Franco immediately took the lead. Team Scribante had obviously done some adjustments to the car during the break, probably turning up the wick a little on the turbo.

Further back in the field Gary went to the outside on the exit of Kfm Corner, causing him to turn and run in to Francis. This brought the red flag out. Again, both drivers were uninjured.

Louis lost his clutch as he crossed the line, so he coasted to a stop on the Oval Track at the exit from Kfm Corner.

On the restart Franco passed Steve on the outside of Kfm Corner and Steve unfortunately lost it on the inside and ran in to the infield, luckily missing the tyre barrier. He re-joined the field in last position.

Meanwhile Franco just pulled out a large gap over Marcel with Dayne hot on his rear, taking his Dad as he crossed the line at the end of the first lap.

Franco was very consistent at the front for the whole race lapping consistently in the 1min10’s to take Race 2.

Josh followed with Nick in close attendance followed by Mike. By lap six Steve was back up to sixth, having set a blistering 1min08.369 on lap four. He took Josh on lap five and incredibly passed both Nick and Marcel on the last lap to come in third.

Dayne Angel must have felt over the moon with his third position in Race 2 after only 30 track laps in the car and also consistent in the low 1min12’s to 1min11’s with a best lap of 1min11.439sec.

A great weekend’s racing. Well done to everyone. The day’s racing can be found at the following link: https://youtu.be/YMYU0ziWTW4

Qualifying can be found from the video start to up to red flag with Paul’s off, Race 1 from 3:07 to 3:35 and Race 2 from 7:08 to 7:34.

Steve has won the 2020 Sports & GT championship, followed very closely by Cyril then Louis. Well done to all.

For those competing in the SAES 9 Hour on 5 December, all the very best.

Have a great festive break and let’s hope that 2021 season brings back greater normality to racing at Killarney.