Port Elizabeth delivers Extreme thrills
Saturday’s Volkswagen Race Day delivered top drawer racing across the board as the Extreme Festival visited Port Elizabeth’s Aldo Scribante for the fifth round of SA’s three premier national circuit racing championships in front of a large and appreciative crowd. They were treated to a great day’s racing, as not only were there a few brilliant upsets, but local stars also came to the fore.
Port Elizabeth hero Michael Stephen won a hard-fought lights-to-flag opening Race Sasol GTC victory in his Engen Audi to give home his team Terry Moss Racing a race one 1-2 over teammate Simon Moss with championship leader Gennaro Bonafede’s Sasol BMW a very close third. Johan Fourie (EPS BMW GTC), Michael Van Rooyen (RSC BMW GTC) and another local lad, Daniel Rowe (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta) rounded off the top six.
The reverse grid second race saw pole man Robert Wolk open up an early lead he would not relinquish to lead overall winner Moss, home for the day with Volkswagen’s Mathew Hodges keeping home fans smiling in third ahead of championship protagonists Stephen and Bonafede. The championship protagonists had controversially both left the road after they clashed earlier in the race, but they were gifted two positions after fifth-placed van Rooyen and Rowe also managed to occupy the same piece of tarmac to plummet down the order with a couple of laps to run.
GTC2 saw local wildcard Bryn High trounce the opposition to win the opening race on his race debut in his S&K Diesels/Brights Chevrolet Cruze ahead of fellow privateers Trevor Bland (TB Volkswagen Golf GTI) and Charl Smalberger (iCorp Volkswagen Parts Golf GTI). The works teams took revenge in the reverse race 2 as Christopher Shorter brought his Champion Mini in first ahead of Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTI driver Keagan Masters and Charl Smalberger, whose second third on the day brought him overall honours too.
If the GTC were spectacular, the Engen Volkswagen Cup was sensational — it had to be after 17 of the 22 cars on the grid qualified on the same second behind championship leader Devin Robertson (Payen). The first race went pretty much to the form book up front as Robertson led championship rival and Masters leader Juan Gerber (Glasfit/CTrack/Simeka) home, but Robertson was judged to have jumped the start and his 30-second penalty not only dropped him to 20th, but it also shook up the championship.
Young gun Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco) fought off another Masters man Shaun La Reservee (Alpine Motors) for third ahead of Darren Oates (Glasfit/CTrack/Simeka), Matt Shorter (Moog) and VW Driver search winner Johathan Mogotsi, with Tasmin Pepper, Jeffrey Kruger, Justin Oates, Kuda Vazhure and Gary Van Heerden next up.
The second race proved sensational as Johathan Mogotsi delivered a great race win to fully vindicate Volkswagen Motorsport’s efforts in its driver search last year. Mogotsi, who had to fight for his drive against 18 other hopefuls has shown consistent improvement through the year and on Saturday delivered a splendid race win against the finest young drivers in the country in only his 8th race.
Clinton Bezuidenhout had made the early race 2 running from a most impressive Justin Oates (Glasfit/CTrack/Simeka) and Mogotsi, but all hell broke loose after Gary van Heerden’s car blew its engine and oiled up turn 1 to catch several drivers including the leading Bezuidenhout out next time round. That left Mogotsi leading from Devin Robertson and Oates, who passed Robertson to claim second on the final lap.
Justin’s twin brother Darren Oates made it a double celebration for the team in fourth from Tasmin Pepper (Campos/Alpine), regular frontrunners Juan Gerber, Jeffrey Kruger, Matt Shorter, Benjamin Habig, Kuda Vazhure and Giordano Lupini. Gerber took the overall win at the end of the day from Mogotsi, Darren Oates, Pepper, Justin Oates and Kruger.
Ten out of ten
Cape Town lad Julian van der Watt continued on his winning ways in the Investchem Formula 1600 championship, adding another two race victories along with a pole position and the fastest lap of the day to his 2017 tally to make it ten wins out of ten starts in his RDSA/Investchem Mygale.
Van der Watt led young guns Stuart White (Fantastic Racing) and Cameron O’Connor home in race 1 after O’Connor stole the podium from Alex Gillespie on the final tour. Liam Pienaar was fifth from Brad Beningfield, Joshua Dolinschek and class B winner Ian Schofield. White was second to Van der Watt again in race 2 as Gilespie gained revenge on O’Connor in second and third, with Beningfield fourth from Andrew Schofield and Wesley Vosloo as Donny Lomola took Class B.
Three supporting races included a round of the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 Masters motorcycles and rounds of the local Saloon Car and Motorcycle championships. Sven Grune took the opening ZX10 race following a dogfight with Graeme Van Breda (IVD/Reef/Alco), with Pieter de Vos completing the podium ahead of Jaco Gous, Gareth Bezuidenhout and Johan le Roux. Van Breda turned the tables on Grune to take race 2 and nick overall honours in another close race, with de Vos third again from, Gous, Bezuidenhout and Sanjiv Singh.
The local Algoa Modified Saloons series is growing from strength to strength with a varied grid of cars making for really entertaining racing and now attracting competitors to race from outside of the province. One of those is Cape racing refugee Niaaz Modack, who won the opening race in his Audi S5 ahead of Bevan Schwartz’ yellow Corvette, Brent Watts’ Nissan Skyline GT-R 33, Jozi visitor George Economedes’ mad turbo Golf, Celso Scribante (Audi A4) and Robin Spence in a Subaru Forester wagon.
Modack ran out of tyres while leading race 2 leaving Nick Davidson’s similar Audi S4 to win from Schwarts, Modack, Economedes, Watts and Ian Riddle’s BMW. Schwartz emerged the overall and Class A winner from Class X victor Modack and Economedes, while Spence took the Subaru to Class B honours, Deon Slabbert claimed Class C in his Golf, Kean Barnard won Class E in his Kadett and Daniel Bright emerged on top of Class E in his Golf.
Another PE hero
Another Port Elizabeth hero, two-wheeler legend Arushen Moodley (Dynamic Kawasaki ZX10) took a double regional motorcycles win from Jared Schultz (Kawasaki), Dominic Doyle (Triumph), Wayne Spicer, Roberto Jonker and Henk Schuiling in race 1 and from Schultz and Doyle again in race 2 with Paul Roelofse fourth from Jonker and Spicer. Moodley took the Unlimited Class, Spicer the 600s and Jonker Masters, Chris Williams (Kawasaki ER650) took Twins honours, Paul Jansen (Honda) 400s and Jan Dorfling took the Historic class win on his Suzuki.
The next round of the South African National Championship Extreme Festival is at Zwartkops Saturday 12 August, while Aldo Scribante hosts its sixth round regional championship races a week later. Both events certainly worth diarising…