Sasol Race day set to thrill in Pretoria
Battle lines are drawn across the board for the Sasol Race Day Saturday 12 August when the Extreme Festival visits Pretoria’s Zwartkops Raceway for the sixth round South Africa’s various National Championship battle. Fierce racing should be the order of the day as the Sasol GTCs, Engen Volkswagen Cup and Investchem Formula 1600s getting down to the sharp end of their respective title chases, while a selection of top local race series guarantees fans a full day of seamless track action.
GTC title battle guaranteed
The Sasol Global Touring Cars are building up to an epic title battle between championship leader Gennaro Bonafede ahead in his Sasol BMW fending off Sasol GTC champion Michael Stephen and his Engen Audi. Stephen has slashed his title deficit down to just 29 points following a difficult start to his season. The likes of Simon Moss (Engen Audi), Johan Fourie (EPS BMW) and Mathew Hodges (Volkswagen Motorsport Jetta) all keen on a Zwartkops GTC win too.
The reverse grid second race should be among the highlights of the day, with Robert Wolk (Sasol BMW) hoping to his Port Elizabeth race 2 win and the likes of the rapid but unlucky Michael Van Rooyen (RSC BMW) and Daniel Rowe in the second Volkswagen likely to cause an upset too. Another GTC highlight has to be the manufacturers championship fight, where BMW leads the race on 374 points versus Audi' 366.
GTC2 is another key battleground, especially considering that championship leader Keagan Masters (Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTI) will miss a round thanks to a date clash with his international duties. But Keagan has put together a fine trot so far to comfortably lead the championship, meaning the only way to stop him, is for his key rivals to beat him.
The dice for second in the championship is mighty close with Christopher Shorter (Champion Mini), Charl Smalberger (iCorp Volkswagen, Bradley Liebenberg (Ferodo Mini) and Trevor Bland (TB Volkswagen Golf GTI) literally swapping championship positions race-by-race. Then there’s Bryn High who won on his GTC2 debut last time out in his S&K Diesels/Brights Chevrolet Cruze, Mandla Mdakane (Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTI) and Iain Stevenson (Comsol Golf) to consider - all of whom are capable of winning too.
Expect the Engen Volkswagen Cup to deliver sensational racing as always at Zwartkops’ Sasol Race Day. 17 cars qualified on the same second last time out and the action was incredible, so expect more of the same this weekend, with championship leader Devin Robertson (Payen) fresh from a successful sojourn to India.
Robertson may hold a handy title advantage, but the battle behind is very close, with Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco) tied on points in second with Masters championship leader Juan Gerber (Glasfit/CTrack/Simeka) and Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Health) and another over-30 Masters driver Shaun La Reservee (Alpine Motors) just a few points behind.
Jonathan Mogotsi (VW Motorsport), Matt Shorter (Moog) and Tasmin Pepper (Campos/Alpine) are all previous Polo race winners, while the likes of twins Justin and Darren Oates, Kuda Vazhure, Masters men Gary Van Heerden and Jano van der Westhuizen and young guns Benjamin Habig, Giordano Lupini and Daniel Duminy all out to prove a point.
Cape Town lad Julian van der Watt is the man to beat in the Investchem Formula 1600 championship. The RDSA/Investchem Mygale driver is yet to be beaten since the class moved to its new wings and slicks specification ten races ago at the beginning of this year and he has a field of young guns desperate to steal a win from him.
Van der Watt comfortably leads a close fight for second between young guns Stuart White (Fantastic Racing), Brad Beningfield (General Energy), Cameron O’Connor and Alex Gillespie all in a tight title fight for second. Don’t discount Dean Venter, Liam Pienaar, Andrew Schofield and his Class B leading dad Ian, or more recent karting graduates Joshua Dolinschek and Wesley Vosloo from this equation.
Local is lekker!
It’s not just the national races that will thrill the August 12 Sasol Race Day crowd, with four regular Zwartkops series also on the bill.
The autObarn Super Hatch will return to do battle, with the action up front likely to center around Brett Garland (autObarn Total Jonnesway Sabat Honda), Chris Davidson (Opel Superboss) and Jonathan Du Toit (Trans Africa Racing Honda) in class A and Nic Martin (Rex Diff & Gear/Dad’s Opel Kadett), Zane van Zyl (Credit Guarantee/ JR & Pa VW Golf) and Andre Dannhauser (Pro Auto Rubber) in Class B, while Craig Priestley leads Class C in his Tactical Fluid Ford.
Three motorcycle races will include the national challenge Red Square Kawasaki ZX10s, where Sven Grune, Graeme van Breda (IVD/Reef/Alco) and Pieter de Vos will continue their dogfight, with Jaco Gous, Gareth Bezuidenhout, Johan le Roux and Sanjiv Singh among those most likely to cause an upset.
Conrad Clark should start as favourite for Bridgestone Thunderbike victory on the Idube/DOT Kawasaki ZX10, but the likes of Nickolas Gertenbach (Westside Honda CBR) and Johan Nortje Fourways Flyers Kawasaki ZX10, Masters rider Coen Erasmus (E Engineering Suzuki GSXR) will be out to topple him. Morongoa Mahope (Adrenaline Kawasaki ZX6) and Jens Venter (Westside Honda CBR) are the men to watch in the classes, while Anja Tom Suden will be chasing another ladies win on her Milwaukee Yamaha.
Shaun Vermaak (Fourways Kawasaki ZX10), Gavin Upton (Motion Perfection Yamaha R1) and Chris du Plessis (Yamaha R1) should fight it out for Bridgestone Thunderbikes honours with the likes of Marnus van der Merwe (Jassies Kawasaki ZX10), Morne Potgieter (Fourways Flyers Kawasaki ZX10) and Masters rider Wayne Spicer (Wellness Group Kawasaki ZX10R) looking for lower class glory, while Clifford Ogle (WHC Ducati Panigale) and Rob Morf (Morphine Kawasaki ZX6) are among the Sub-10 riders to look out for.
There will be non-stop action both on and off the track throughout the day, including a Grid Walk and other trackside entertainment the likes of a food market, live entertainment and specialist stalls behind the pits and much more to do around the track. Buy tickets for Saturday 12 August’s Sasol Race Day at itickets.co.za or at the gate. Call 012 384 2299 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.zwartkops.co.za for more info.