The opening round of the 2022 Power Series presented by Wingfield Motors on Saturday 12 February delivered more than enough drama to satisfy the huge crowd of motorsport fans who turned out to celebrate the return of the ‘good old days’ at Killarney.

The pubs were open, the braai fires were lit, there were umbrellas and gazebos all round the circuit and even one of the competitors admitted that he slowed down on the warm-up lap for his race just to take in the spectacle!

And what a show the racers put on for the Killarney family!

The Thermo Fires Clubmans welcomed their new sponsor with a cracker of a Race 1 that saw Achmat Achmat take the early lead in the Beta Machine & Tool BMW 1 Series, ahead of Charl Visser’s Charl Electrical 350Z. Sadly, Visser and the Zee went out on lap four, and Achmat dropped back to fall out on lap six, leaving Shane du Toit (C2C Construction/Skilpadvlei Golf Mk1) to fight it out for the lead with veteran Jess Huggett’s Philwest VW/Rico Barlow Racing Jetta 2.

A fast second half of the race, once he had a clear track ahead of him, saw Du Toit take the win from Huggett by almost eight seconds, with Josh Dolinschek only 0.375sec further adrift in third. Race 2, sadly, was abandoned after two major oil spills on lap four resulted in a long delay – but for the record, Du Toit was leading from Achmat when the red flags came out.

Charles Arton and his little Datsun 240Z caused a stir by qualifying on pole for the first combined Laude Classic and Bejo Trustees Fine Cars race, and in fact led the normally unbeatable Franco Donadio and his Ford Escort Mk1 for the first two laps. Donadio, however, was ready to pounce when the Datsun went out sick on lap three and walked away to win by five seconds from Eric van der Merwe’s Porsche 944T, with Michael Hitchcock in his Cross Cape Forklift Services Mustang third, 0.697sec further adrift.

Chris Champion’s Piri Piri MGB GT was the first Fine Car home in 13th overall, well ahead of Robert Rowe and his Veldt Reared BMW E36 328i, while mention must be made of Natasha Tischendorff, making a welcome return from injury in her Volkswagen Jetta Cli, who finished third in Fine Cars and 17th overall.

Arton didn’t come out for Race 2, sadly, so Donadio was free to do what he does best – control the race from the front. He, Van der Merwe and Hitchcock finished in the order in little more than six seconds, well ahead of some spirited midfield dicing, notably among the Fine Cars, which saw Champion, Rowe and Ms Tischendorff take the class honours again, in 11th 12th and 15th overall respectively.

Everybody was expecting fireworks in the Alert Engine Parts GTi Challenge races – but what they got was two clean, superbly entertaining races between arch-rivals Jurie Swart (Summit Racing Polo) and Marco Busi (Automan Polo).

Swart led Race 1 from lights to flag, chased all the way by Busi, while Colin Meder Jnr (International Tube Technology Polo) put in a superb late charge to take third away from Dillon Joubert (Powder Coating World/TAC Steel/Euroblitz Polo 6) on the final lap.

On-form Jason Coetzee (Mint Wrapworks/CK Coachworks GTi) took the early lead in Race 2 but had to give best to Busi and Swart on laps four and five respectively; he refused to give up, however, and clung to the leaders like a burr on a blanket, as all three finished in that order in little more than a second.

In the absence of Fabio Tafani, Sean Moore and Marcel Angel got into it in the early laps of the first V8 Masters race; Angel took the lead on lap four, only to drop back almost immediately and retire on lap nine, while Moore romped home to win from Mark Ridgway and Carl Nel.

Tafani was back for Race 2, however, and made up for a very poor start by slicing through the filed to grab the lead on lap six and win by little more than a second from Ridgway and Alister Brown.

They were joined in Race 2 by the Formula Supercars of Ryan Kat, Yaseen Damon, Glen Phillips, Craig Hume and Andrew Moffitt, who finished in that order after an entertaining midfield tussle.

In the absence of series star Byron Mitchell’s Dolphin Engineering Formula VW, Dee-Jay Booysen ran away with both Formula Libre races, finishing well ahead of the similar car of James Beaumont and the Formula Swift 92F of Hadyn Ellwood in each outing.

As always there was lots of fun in the midfield, as musician and equestrienne Kelly Fletcher (Dolphin Engineering Forza) fought it out with Zane Amundsen (Repsol Lantis), Ryno Pentz (Dico 4×4 Acessories Omega), Elroy Vice (Dolphin Engineering Forza) and Donovan Ramsay’s Sting.

Race 2 in fact delivered the closest finish of the day, when Amundsen, Vice, Fletcher and Ramsay finished fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively, all four covered by 1.13 seconds at the line as Ms Fletcher re-passed Ramsay on the final lap to take sixth by 0.001 sec – that’s one thousandth of a second!

Harp Motorsport’s Steve Humble (Opel Mallock Mk14B) said before the Spitfire Furniture Sports & GT races that he was more worried about team-mate Francis Carruthers in the Pilbeam MP84 than about arch-rival Gary Kieswetter’s Advanced Packaging Technology Porscher GT3 Cup – but as it turned out, Carruthers was the one under threat as Kieswetter harried him unmercifully throughout Race 1, finishing just 0.361sec behind second-placed Carruthers while Humble romped away to a 14-second victory. The same scenario was beginning to unfold again in Race 2 when Arno Church spun his Lotus 7 Replica into the wall on the exit of Hoal’s Hoek in lap five and was taken to hospital, bringing the day’s proceedings to a premature end.