National season starts at SA’s racing home
Kyalami’s Motorsport Festival hosts the opening round of the 2018 Extreme Festival South African National Circuit Racing Championship at the Grand Prix circuit Saturday 24 March. Hosting the opening rounds of the Sasol GTC, Engen Volkswagen Cup and Investchem Formula 1600 championships, there will also be spectacular G&H Extreme Supercar races, a SAMCAR V8 Supercar Invitational and Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 Masters and Bridgestone Thunderbike and Sub-10 Superbike races on two wheels.
Most people’s favourite, the G&H Extreme Supercars will offer a brilliant spectacle of the world’s finest supercars fighting it out with a few wicked race cars at the home of South African motorsport and with Charl Arangies having dominated of late in his glorious Stradale Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3, the question on most people’s lips is who can stop him. Not only is a horde of rival supercars ready to deal with him, but there are a few mad BMWs after his scalp too.
So expect a classic Ferrari-Porsche-Lamborghini face-off in pursuit of that Aston Martin as cousins Franco and Dino Scribante’s Porsche 997 turbos take on Greg Parton in his Drizit Environmental Lamborgini Huracan, Kishoor Pitamber’s Stradale Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 and Jonathan du Toit and his Trans Africa Racing Ferrari F430. Never ignore Gianni Giannoccaro’s G&H Transport BMW Z4 GT3 and Sav Gualitieri’s Savspeed BMW M3 and there were also stories at the time of writing regarding the possibility of a thrilling dark horse joining the pack up front. How’s that for a top quality line-up!
Class B will see a fight between Porsche quartet Nicky Dicks (Curvent), Andrew Culbert (Bigfoot), Ant Blunden and Saul Hack, BMW duo Darren Winterboer (Barons), Ricky Giannoccaro (G&H) and Thouca Mechanicos (AMG C55). Ferrari drivers Mark du Toit (TAR) and Jimmy Giannoccaro (G&H) are set to tackle BMW M3 duo Len-Henry Gobey (Lesavert) and Elwyn Steenkamp (JEYS/Ultimate Machines) in Class C with some Rice Rocket intervention in the form of Dale Penney’s Nissan 350Z and Pieter Zeelie (Toyota MR2) among a most interesting and varied chasing pack.
The big national championship action will be the first race of the Sasol GTC championship, which this year sees the top class cars equipped with more powerful engines, but will anyone be able to stop double champion on the trot Michael Stephen and his Engen Audi A3? Rest assured that Gennaro Bonafede is at the top of that list in his Sasol BMW, while their respective teammates Simon Moss and Robert Wolk are always in the fray and Mathew Hodges and Daniel Rowe’s Volkswagen Motorsport Jettas are out to win too. BMW privateers Johan Fourie (EPS) and Michael van Rooyen (RSC) also always have a trick up their sleeve.
Champion Keagan Masters (VW Motorsport Golf GTi) is the man to beat in Sasol GTC2 and he will have new teammate Adrian Wood snapping at his heels, but Mini duo Bradley Liebenberg and Polo Cup champion Devin Robertson are likely to pose his biggest problem. Add Golf GTI privateers Charl Smalberger (LTR), Universal Healthcare duo Johan Pretorius and Trevor Bland, Honda Civic Type R duo Dayne Angel (Autohaus Angel) and Iain Stevenson (Comsol), and Reno van Heerden (Hotwheels Ford Focus ST). Should prove a most entertaining duel too.
The Investchem Formula 1600s switch to new sequential gearboxes this year and with champion Julian van der Watt off chasing the American Dream, a fine field of young guns will be out to emulate him as they chase this series’ Road to Indy Shootout champion’s prize. It should be pretty tough up front with returning 17-year old French F4 racer Stuart White (Fantastic) fighting off 16-year old Cameron O’Connor (Repro Supplies), 17-year old Capetonian Joshua Dolinschek (Makita), Alex Gillespie (ERP Trucking), Investchem duo Andrew Schofield and Brendan Tracey and Andrew Horne.
They will be joined by exciting newcomers in Capetonian 16-year old karter Andrew Rackstraw (Inveschem/RDSA), Jozi kart racer Tiago Rebelo (16) and Namibian youngster, Formula Vee graduate Siyabonga Mankonkwana (Cervinia). Old hands, Investchem duo Ian Schofield and Allen Meyer and Garth de Villiers (Durrant) will fight it out for Class B honours.
It's all change for Engen Volkswagen Cup that’s switched to new Polo GTIs for 2018, with several new drivers joining the stalwarts. Expect Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Healthcare), Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco), Benjamin Habig (Just Tools), Darren Oates (Payen) and VW Motorsport's Jonathan Mogotsi to be among the men to beat there, with regulars Justin Oates (Dekra), Daniel Duminy (SMD), Paulus Franken (Manitou) and Shivesh Bissoon (Steamin Bean) joined by 2017 VW Academy winner Raais Asmal and karting graduates Altan Bouw (Ferodo) and Delon Thompson (A&L) all fighting it out for Junior and overall honours.
Those Polo Cup Juniors won’t have it their own way however, with a brilliant Masters field to deal with too — Juan Gerber, Shaun La Reservee (Alpine VW) and Tasmin Pepper (Electric Life/Alpine) are regular winners, while three exciting newcomers in the form of the experienced Campos brothers Jason and Keegan (Campos Transport /Turn 1 Insurance) and former SA race and rally champion Charl Wilken (Cronje’s Auto Body) are bound to stir things up alongside old hands, Simon Need (Photonics) and Johan Pretorius (Universal) and newcomers, Wouter Roos (Nathans Motorsport) and Peet Visagie.
There’s nothing more satisfying than the roll of V8 thunder across an African plain and Saturday’s SAMCAR V8 Supercar Invitational is bound to provide more than enough of that too and with old rivals the likes of Grant van Schalkwyk (Ultimate/LSP Group Corvette), Roelf du Plessis (LSP Lumina), Terry Wilford (Fuchs Falcon) and Franco Di Matteo (Deltec Jaguar) fighting it out with young guns the pedigree of Benjamin Morgenrood (Ben Morgenrood Mustang), the show should be just as spectacular.
The day’s track action will be rounded off by a couple of motorcycles headed up by the Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 Masters where none other than Graeme van Breda (Stefanutti) will duke it out with the likes of Jonty Collard, Sanjiv Singh (Double Apex), Brian Bontekoning, Rob Cragg, Hannes and Pieter de Vos, Greg and Gareth Bezuidenhout and Mmusapelo Seate, Andre van Vollenstee, Stuart Russell, Wayne Spicer and Teddy Brooke.
Top entries among the Bridgestone Thunderbikes include Supabets BMW S1000RR duo Lance Isaacs and Harry Timmermann dicing Kawasaki ZX10 pair Dirk Stols (WR Customs) and Adan Barnard (Evil Performance). They ride alongside the Sub-10 Superbikes where BMW four Hashim Amra, Deon Smith and Ferdinand Frederick (Wedstleigh) and Byron Rothquel (Mag Magic) take on Keith and Jordan Agliotti’s Westside Honda Fireblades and Kawasaki men Wayne Spicer (Wellness Group), Pierre Grobler (Surestart) Renaldo Marais (LG) and Harry Potgieter (T Squared). Landie Sinden (Milwaukee Yamaha R6), Ian Thomas (SA Compressor Kawasaki ZX6) and Efstratios Yiannakis (Gapcon KTM RC8) will chase smaller capacity glory.
There’s far more than just racing at Kyalami with a lunchtime grid walk where you can mingle with the drivers and get up-close to the race cars on the starting grid. Add both real and virtual action experiences at the Pirelli dynamic handling track activation and the Playstation trailers at Clubhouse Corner and the Main Grandstand. Supervised Kiddies Play Areas bring peace of mind and refreshments, good food and top catering will be available. Race fans are encouraged to bring and braai on Kyalami’s spectator embankments that offer excellent views of the Grand Prix Circuit.
Book now for Kyalami’s 24 March Motorsport Festival via iTickets at www.kyalamigrandprixcircuit.com at R70 for general entry with under-12s free. General tickets will be sold at the gate on race day and a R650 Premium Package is also available but must be booked up front. Book online and find out more at www.kyalamigrandprixcircuit.com right now. See you at Kyalami!