Rapid, unpredictable weather changes made a mockery of competitor’s plans and pundits’ predictions for Round 6 of the Power Series presented by Wingfield Motors on Saturday 30 July, but delivered a superbly entertaining day’s racing for Killarney’s die-hard fans.

Raaziegh Harris, out for the first time in a new BMW E46, rather than his giant-killing Panic Plumbers Golf Mk1, had a miserable Qualifying on a cold, wet track while Shane Smith took a maiden pole in his Class B Truckport Logistics E46.

Smith grabbed the lead from the start in Race 1, hotly pursued by ‘Baby Jakes’ Jacobs (Executive Decisions M5) and Bruce Meyer (Cape Industrial Flooring Polo), while top contenders Achmat Achmat (Beta Machine & Tools 1 Series), Mansoor Parker (Armien Levy Motorsport/Jive E36) and Harris found themselves in midfield with a lot of work to do.

A four-car collision in Quarry Corner on the very first lap took out Harris and further delayed the Class A hotshots but Achmat and Parker were soon on the move, slicing through the field towards the leading trio. Achmat was the fastest man out there; from 11th on lap one he was up to second on lap six and moved into the lead with two laps to go. Parker moved in behind Smith on the same lap but was unable to get past, finishing third, just 0.323sec behind Smith, as Achmat took the win by 2.296 seconds.

Harris was back for Race 2 on a seriously wet track, setting the fastest lap of the race before overdoing it in Fastron Corner and taking himself out of proceedings.  Jacobs and Meyer then delivered an epic race-long battle for the lead that went down to the very last corner, when Meyer went very, very wide indeed, losing 15 seconds but still coming home ahead of third-placed Steven Gouws (Thermo Fires Jetta 3).

Jurie ‘Umpie’ Swart (Summit Racing Polo 6) led every lap of both Alert Engine Parts GTi Challenge races – but he didn’t have things all his own way. He was chased all the way in Race 1 by Colin Meder (International Tube Technology Polo), Charl Visser (Charl Engineering Polo) and Dillon Joubert (Powder Coating World /TAC Steel Polo 6), With Tate Bishop (Angri Golf) heading Class B in fifth overall, and Chase Herholdt (NDT Racing/Unlimited Auto Golf Mk1) taking Class C honours from Nian du Toit (NDT Racing/Powerflow Exhausts Golf Mk1) by less than a quarter of a second.

Things were a lot closer in Race 2; Swart had Visser all over him down to the line – his winning margin was just 0.101sec! – with Meder, Nathan Victor (Summit Racing Polo GTi) and Kai van Zyl battling it out for third and finishing in that order within less than three seconds. Bishop aced Class B (again!) in ninth overall and Du Toit took Class C line honours.

The new Street Car Challenge was run on a handicap basis, which led to some interesting strategies. Experienced racer Ederees Achmat entered his road car, a nicely tuned BMW 328i, but qualified stone last. That meant he started Race 1 as scratch man, ahead of even Jaco Oosthuizen’s Toyota 1600 Conquest, unlikely as that sounds!

In the race, however, he instantly knocked 10 seconds off his lap times and roared away to a seemingly unassailable lead. He’d reckoned without the all-wheel drive advantage of Andre Johnson’s Audi TTRS on a wet circuit, however. Johnson sliced through the field from last to second in six laps and, had the race been one lap longer, he’d have won it.

As it was, he finished just 1.583 seconds behind Achmat, with Lorcan Aylward’s Ford Mustang 5.0 GT V8 a close third, ahead of Achmat’s brother Yusuf (BMW M3 E46), Stuart Jameson’s Renault Clio, Basie Burger in a Nissan 350Z, Zubair Samsodien in a BMW 1 Series prepared by the Achmats, and Oosthuizen, who gave it all he had in Qualifying and paid the penalty in the race.

Race 2 was run on a dry track; the handicapping was calculated from each driver’s fastest lap in Race 1, so Ederees Achmat started third behind Oosthuizen and Jameson. He passed Jameson on lap three but it took him until the penultimate tour to catch Ooshuizen’s little hatchback.

Achmat came home 6.233 seconds ahead of Burger’s 350Z, with Oosthuizen a hard-earned third, four seconds further adrift. They were followed in short order by Yusuf Achmat, Andre Johnson (who posted the fastest lap of the race at 1min22.817) and Jameson – all of whom were within 13 seconds of the leader at the end, a major success for the handicappers. The only two outside that envelope were Samsodien and Aylward, whose Pony Car went sick on the last lap.

The winner on Index of Performance, which measures how close the driver can stay to his best lap time of the race, was Oosthuizen with 96.6 percent, followed by Ederees Achmat (95.0 percent), Jameson (94.8 percent) and Burger (92.1 percent).

The Formula Libre single-seaters mustered a very creditable 13 entries, with Byron Mitchell (Dolphin Engineering Formula VW) and Dee-Jay Booysen (Dico Racing/Burner Factory Reynard) leading the charge as usual – until Mitchell went out on lap six of Race 1, leaving Booysen to romp home more than a minute ahead of James Beaumont’s similar Reynard.

The lone Class C entry, Haydn Ellwood in his Formula Swift SF93FF, came home a lap down, 21 seconds ahead of a thrilling Formula Vee battle that saw Elroy Vice (Dolphin Engineering Forza), Zane Amundsen (Repsol Lantis), Ryno Pentz (Dico 4×4 Accessories Omega), Ms Kelly Fletcher (Dolphin Engineering Forza) and Donovan Ramsay (Kerston Foods Rhema) finish in that order, covered by less than 10 seconds.

Mitchell was back for Race 2, which was run just after a brief but heavy shower; he showed his mastery of the conditions by lapping the entire field, finishing almost 80 seconds ahead of Booysen and another 80 seconds ahead of Beaumont.

Two laps down, Pentz held the Formula Vee advantage over Amundsen, Nicky van der Westhuizen (NW Logistics Lantis), Fletcher, Ellwood’s Class C Swift, Andre le Riche (Lantis) and Vice after eight laps of cut and thrust in very difficult conditions.

Late entry Marcel Angel in the Autohaus Angel Porsche GT2 Turbo dominated the first Spitfire Furniture Sports & GT race, especially after his only serious challenger, the Aidcall 247/RB Racing Ligier JS 53 Evo 2 of Nick Adcock, developed a serious misfire on lap four and retired. Gary Kieswetter (Advanced Packaging Technology Porsche GT3 Cup) came home a distant second, 11 seconds ahead of Steve Humber (Opel Mallock Mk14B) who’d caught and passed his Harp Motorsport team-mate Francis Carruthers (Pilbeam MP84) two laps from the end.

Turned out the misfire was caused by a faulty crankshaft position sensor – not easy to get at on the Ligier – but Adcock was back for Race 2, ready to rumble. He went straight into the lead, with Angel a close second until the Porsche blew its freshly rebuilt engine on lap five. Kieswetter held third behind Humble until he went out on lap seven, handing the final podium position to Carruthers.

The entry list for the Pirelli V8 Masters was reduced by one on the sighting lap when Stuart Spooner came out of the pits swinging his AP347is from side to side to get some heat into the tyres – only to overdo it and go straight into the wall!

A few minutes of clean-up later, Carl Nel led the rest of the V8 Masters off the rolling start, with Mark Ridgway in hot pursuit until he overdid it on lap four, whereupon Sean Moore grabbed the top spot. On the same lap, late entry from Gauteng Rui Campos pushed Nel down to third; Nel retired a lap later, leaving Moore, Campos and Jason  Ibbotson to complete the Race 1 podium. Everybody was back for Race 2, however, including Spooner (with his car wearing borrowed bodywork) as Moore took up where he left off in Race 1, with Campos all over him like a rash, and Carl Nel in close formation, waiting for one or both to make a mistake. But they didn’t; Campos pushed his way past into the lead on lap four and held off a series of determined challenges from Moore to take the win by less than a quarter of a second after eight hard-fought laps. Nel was third, 4.5 seconds adrift, with Ibbotson a distant fourth.