East London 3-hour form impossible to call
They say that the best way to tell the future is to first look at history. So what does history tell us about the Mopar South African Endurance Championship’s East London 3 hour Saturday 24 June?
Well, looking back at the last race, Franco and Silvio Scribante’s Chevron-Suzuki V8 may have been the dominant force early on in what turned out to be a sensational Campos Cape 400 at Killarney after it beat the Campos family, dad Rui and sons Jason and Keegan’s Campos transport/Turn 1 Insurance Shelby-Ford V8 Can-Am and the reliable Fritz Kleynhans and James Forbes Cornelius Ligier JS49 to victory.
But the top three could thank their rivals’ bad luck in the end, when both race leaders Marcel and Dayne Angel’s Autohaus Angel Ferrari 458 GT3 and the podium-placed Mike Verier and Wayne Jardine's Fantastic Racing AidCall24/7 Shelby-Nissan Can-Am dropped out at quite literally the thirteenth hour…
Looking back to last year’s East London 3-hour, 2015 champion Francis Carruthers and Johan Engelbrecht finally drove their pace-setting Juno SS3 to a 2016 race victory after fight off the impressive GT class winning Brazilian visitors Jao Paulo Mauro and Rodrigo Mello’s Big Foot Porsche and Nick Adcock and Simon Murray’s Rico Barlow Racing/Aid Call 24/7 Ligier JS49.
So what does 2017 promise? Well the Scribantes will be at the Border looking for a back-to-back win with their wild Chevron, B26 Suzuki V8, where Keegan, Jason and Rui Campos and their Shelby-Ford V8 have an ace up their sleeve with SA international Jordan Pepper managing their effort.
2016 winners Carruthers and Engelbrecht will meanwhile be out for the first time in their new Harp Motorsport/Malta No. 1 Aquila CR1 Chevrolet V8 and Fritz Kleynhans and James Forbes Comenius Ligier, JS49 Honda was third in the Cape last race — and that’s the same champion car that was so quick in East London last year. Don’t ignore Michael Jensen and Mark Lauth’s Fantastic Racing Renault FR1 that impressed so at the season opener, while Verrier and Jardine are back to make up for their Cape disappointment with their Shelby-Nissan V6.
Charl and Harry Arangies won the opening race in Welkom in the Stradale Motorsport Ferrari 360 Challenge, but a little birdie tells us they may well be out in a most interesting new car this time out, among a grid of GT challengers including Cape Town trio Dave Alhadeff, Martin Bensch and Chris Carolin’s PP Racing Panoz Esperante GTS and Mike Altona and Steve Pickering Classic Motorsport Porsche.
There’s a healthy entry among the smaller sports prototype classes where SA Endurance veterans Mike Schmidt and Mike-Avern Taplin hope to have their new Bataleur Motorsport Nash-Volkswagen better sorted for its second outing to take on the likes of Hennie Trollip and Clinton Thorne’s Full Output Seven Replica, Eric Salomon and Dave Sinclair’s Lessons ELF and PE duo Bryan Heine and Kelvin Reynolds' HeineSport VSP Opel Sports 2000. History also tells us that Trollip and Sinclair won the smallest prototype class together last year…
Looking at history, it is clear that one should also not try predict a winner in the tin-top battle, but MAD Racing/Fuchs Volkswagen Golf 1 GTi duo Dewald Brummer and Bevan Williams would love to pull off a repeat of their sensational giant killing antics when they were the first saloon car home on Border last year, while Steve Truter and Wayne Lotter will want to avenge that narrow defeat aboard their Sasolburg Autobody BMW M3.
Bradley Scorer and Theo Van Vuuren’s Arnold Chatz Alfa Romeo Giulietta won on debut in the season-opening Welkom 6-hour and they are keen to win again, while Darren Winterboer and Adrian Dalton's Barons/Xtra BMW 335i has winning credentials and Andre and Alex Johnson are keen to go one better to pull off a tin top win in their Executive Motorsport Audi A4. Never ignore the likes of Jonathan and Stuart Konig’s VW Golf 2 GTi or Heinrich and Nathan De Villiers’ second MAD Racing/Fuchs Volkswagen Golf 1 GTi - endurance racing generally dishes up the oddest results.
The East London Grand Prix Circuit is situated at the end of Potters Pass off the R72 Settlers Way. Locals can purchase early bird tickets at R50 each from the BMSC Office, the Beacon Bay Spar, Best Drive on Cambridge Street, Ian’s Auto Clinic or Vincent Hardware, or at the gate at R80 apiece when gates open early on race day.