The first visit of the Zwartkops based Pabar VW Challenge to Killarney, at Round 5 of the 2022 Power Series presented by Wingfield Motors on Saturday 9 July, produced an epic north versus south battle as the local Alert Engines GTi Challenge competitors used every bit of their home track advantage to secure two hard-fought wins.

In fact the top finisher among the visitors was in fact an ex-Capetonian and former GTi Challenger, Stiaan Kriel!

Kriel qualified second, his Design Hut T-Rex Racing Polo just 0.348sec behind local hero and national Compcare Polo Cup series leader Jurie ‘Umpie’ Swart’s Summit Racing machine. Five of the top eight qualifiers were locals, and the visitors knew they had a fight on their hands.

Swart pulled a rocket start in Race 1 to lead the field into Turn 1, with Kriel on his outside and visitors Rory Atkinson (BHIT Industrial Transport Polo) and Wayne Masters (Performance Masters Polo) and Killarney hotshot Marco Busi (Goeie Hoop Onderdele/Simtech/GAP Motorsport Polo) all over them like a rash.

Lap one ended with a bang as something let go in the undercarriage of the second Summit Racing Polo under braking at the end of the back straight, sending Nathan Victor straight into the tyre wall, while Swart and Kriel pulled a tiny but crucial gap at the front of the field.

There was more drama on the next lap as Stelio Nousias (We Buy & Sell Cars Polo) collided with Class B pole-sitter Elna Croeser (ATE Brakes Polo) and Charisse van der Merwe (Hot 102.7 FM Radio Polo), taking both ladies out of the race, for which he was later placed below Croeser in the results.

Busi passed Atkinson on lap four and Masters a lap later to grab third, but was never in a position to challenge the leaders, while Swart managed to eke out a three-second lead by the end. Atkinson and Masters, however, refused to let Busi get away, as all three finished within less than half a second after a superb race-long battle.

In Croeser’s absence Hannes Scheepers (Dainfein Dental Studio Polo) took a solid Class B win to increase his lead in the class standings, while Pierluigi Muzzulini (FSS International Polol) took his first ever Class C victory.

Kriel grabbed the holeshot in Race 2 as Swart fluffed the start, diving into Hoal’s Hook with Busi almost alongside him and Colin Meder (International Tube Technology Polo) just ahead of Swart. However, Swart soon passed fellow Capetonian Meder and set off in pursuit of the leaders, taking Meder with him.

Soon all four were within touching distance, jockeying for position in every corner until they arrived at the fast double-apex Malmesbury Sweep in line abreast on lap four, banging doorhandles on the way in and forcing Kriel to go farming to avoid a collision.

Swart pulled off a magnificent save but it was the Busi who held the line and got the best of it to lead Meder, Swart, Dillon Joubert (Powder Coating World/TAC Steel/Euroblitz Polo) Bevin and Wayne Masters, Atkinson and Kriel down the back straight. Swart soon got past Meder again, however, and closed in to take the lead on lap seven.

Then Pierluigi Muzzulini suffered a terminal mechanical failure on the back straight and stopped in a cloud of smoke with two wheels still on the circuit, bringing out the red flags. The results were taken as at the end of lap six, giving the win to Busi by just 0.069sec from Swart, ahead of Meder, Joubert, the Masters’, Atkinson and Kriel. Scheepers took another Class B win, while Ian Walker (Mellow Velo Polo) headed Class C.