Summarize

Saloon-rich race festival opens season

Zwartkops Raceway’s Extreme Festival racing season kicks off with a packed nine-class race program Saturday 17 March including no less than six saloon car classes. A wide variety of tin tops will see the Motor Mart Volkswagen Challenge, AutObarn SuperHatch, Big Boss Auto Super Saloons, Car Care Clinic 111 Sports and Saloons and Motul Modified Production cars on track throughout the day, backed up by rounds of the Hankook Formula Vee, NSCC sports cars and Bridgestone Challenge motorcycle series.

Perhaps the fastest car class on the day, the Big Boss Auto Super Saloons should impress with the likes of Franco di Matteo’s splendid flame-belching Deltech Alfa Romeo GT set to take on Riaan Draper’s Blessed/Auto Classic Peugeot 206, Marius Jacobs’ AAA and Corrie Volschenk’s N4 Tigras, Richard Cooley in a Megafibre Audi TT and David Fourie’s Cubenco Tata taking to the track.

Over 35 cars are entered in the Motor Mart Volkswagen Challenge, where Stiaan Kriel is keen to extend his dominant season opening from up front in his Pozi Drive/Kalex Polo. He has a most competitive field chasing him down, with Rory Atkinson (BHT), Nic Clarke (Evo Suspension) and Quinton Needham (Motomart) now coming to grips with their new Class A Polos and the old school of Waldie Meintjes, Wayne Crous (Toshiba Tech Polo) and Wayne Masters (Performance Masters) out to stem the tide.

Expect an equally tough tussle in Class B, where Chris Dale (Blue Belt Polo) will fight it out with John Johnstone (Zontes Golf) and Polo men Mohamed Dangor (Motomart), Lindsay Clur (Mirage Leisure) and Luan Roos among another most capable class grid.

AutObarn SuperHatch is another Zwartkops favourite set to impress, with a record Class A entry as well as new teams and drivers in Classes B and C. Expect Brett Garland to be among the men to beat in his AutObarn Total Honda, but he’s prepared for the strong challenge from Jonathan du Toit’s TAR Civic, Werner Pieterse (Scaner Sun Golf), Nic Martin (RDG Kadett), Louis Scholtz (Car Clinic Honda), Zane van Zyl (Credit Guarantee Golf) and Andre Dannhauser (Pro Auto Rubber Corsa), among others.

Another highly popular and varied Extreme Festival tin-top crowd pleaser is the Car Care Clinic 111 Sports and Saloon race, where the action up front should hinge around class champion Louis Cloete’s wieldy SV Tech Beetle and veteran George Bezuidenhout’s Accolade/CES Forklift Primera. Don’t ignore newcomers Neil Lobb (TVR Chimaera), Bjorn Gerbert’s FAS Alfa GTV6, Johan Pretorius (Universal Polo), George Economides’ Wealth Avenue BMW and Johan van der Vyfer’s Devlaw Subaru WRX in this one either.

Overall 111 champion Veritie-Anne Joubert (Honda Spares Ballade) will be out front in Class B with Justin Gordon’s 3D Nutrition Ballade and Tony Sharp’s Giulietta Turbo to keep her busy, while Danie Deysel (Civic) should be in the thick of the Class C action with Rodney Norman’s 3D Nutrition Ballade and Mark Harvey (Adapt Signs Porsche 924). Class D champion Reno van Heerden (Remington Polo) can expect Craig Botha (Golf 2) and Almero van Eck’s Taurus Polo to keep him honest.

The Motul Modified Production and Silver Cup races promise another varied and intriguing grid including Bjorn Gebert’s FAS GTV6, Philip Addicott (Leet/DB Locost), Franco Di Matteo (Deltech Laser), Honda trio Daniel Luwes’ Honda Ballade and Dirk Lawrence’s Vaal Timbers/JDM Ballades and Jeff Langeveldt (Prostaff CRX) all in the hunt. Add Andy Gossman (Dimension Scirocco) and a gang of Golfs including Wayne Lebotschy (Shield) Waldo Swiegers, Roan Ehlers (FEC), Paul Verios (Acrotek), Paul Saayman (Intercity) and EV four Giles and Kenny Darroch, Shane Kroon and Paul van Niekerk to that mix too.

An army of Datsuns do duty in the Midvaal Historics and Alfa Challenge races, with Seef Fourie Sr, Johan Prins and Shawn Smidt’s 160Ys and a swarm of 1200 GXs taking on David Hoal’s Escort and Wentzel Nortman’s Corolla in Class E. Class F sees four Datsun 1200s ahead of a trio of Class G Alfas, while Hubi von Moltke (Mercedes) and Andy Gossman’s Scirroco will add variety.  The Alfa Challenge sees Mario Rossi and Bjorn Gebert’s GTV6s dicing in Class A, Phillip Hendriks’ Sud and Christopher Tarboton’s Berlina in C and Corrie Tolmay (Berlina) and Raynhard Grabe’s Alfasud racing in Class C.

Besides the six saloon car classes, a trio of motorcycle sports, and open wheeler races include the Hankook Formula Vees, where champion Jaco Shricks (Bean Child Coffee Rhema) is out to defend his national title. Old rivals, father and son Peter and Brandon Hills’ Lube Fusion Rhemas, Gert van den Berg’s BP Nantes Rhema, Lushen Ramchander, another veteran in Sym Grobler and Ross and Hans Rugheimer will be on his case. 

The NSCC sports car races will see a fleet of Nash MV3s including the likes of Steve Venter (TEG), Paul Sullivan (SBK/CJ) and Hubi von Moltke taking on James Forbes (Nash Motorsport ADR MCE3) and Neil de Later (Tornado Birkin Seven).

Last but not least, the Bridgestone Challenge motorcycles will see Honda CBR trio Coen Erasmus (Auto Investment) and Westside pair, Michael Dixon and Jens Venter take on Kawasaki ZX10 quartet, Lafras Fritz (Rutpin), Naasief Wadvalla (Fastbike HnR), Hennie Swanepoel (Ultimate) and Nigel Brand; Francois De Villiers (RSA) and Zaidy Williams’ Dectha Steel Suzuki GSXRs, Waseem Wadvalla (Fastbike HnR Yamaha R6) and Bradwyn Janse van Vuuren (Dot 2 Dot Kawasaki ZX6) among the men ready to rumble there.

The racing will be backed by a broad selection of off track family entertainment including St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, green beer, free kiddies activities, a Best Dressed prize and much more. Find Zwartkops Raceway on the R55 Road, Pretoria West; adult entry is R120 per person, students enter for R90 and under 12s get in free, but Zwartkops’ St Patrick’s Day ‘Buy Three Tickets and Get One Free Special applies. Find more info at www.zwartkops.co.za.