The Bold Marine GTi Challenge is a one make race series catering for all VW products that offers an affordable means of getting into motor racing. The Challenge was established in 1998 when the GTi Clup approached Killarney to introduce a local GTi Challenge and three races were included in Killarney regional race days where members raced their everyday road cars.
The grid grew from 8 to 15 cars by the third race and the seed was planted with some of the class pioneers still racing today. In 2000, MSA insisted on roll cages, race seats, harnesses and extinguishers and a set of rules was introduced for a 7 race series and the Challenge was born.
The Bold Marine GTi Challenge is a regular highlight of WPMC Killarney Power Series meetings with its close, exciting and colourful racing highly popular with fans and race goers alike.
Killarney Circuit Manager Paul Simon emerged overall GTi Challenge champion for the second year in a row for 2015 as he scooped back-to-back Class C titles en route to beating Class B duo, Challenge Chairman Zaki Hendricks and Craig du Toit to overall honours, while Marco Busi added the Class A title to his tally of titles in fourth overall. Interestingly none of Simon, Hendricks and du Toit have raced this year, but those who have run, put on the usual spectacular display, with the first race of the season living up to its destructive reputation to be reduced to a 12-lap single heat after a sizeable first lap crash. It has been a little milder since then.
For 2016 the tussle up front is between Nian du Toit, who’s been unstoppable whenever he’s had a clean run, while Marco Busi and Jano van der Westhuizen have won races too with Chris Swart, Mario Roux and Andrew Goslett in close attendance.
Class B has seen three drivers shine with veteran Peet van der Walt, Scotty Hayes and Gideon Serfontein racing up front, while Shane du Toit has made a strong impression since his return to action and Dillon Joubert, Gert du Plessis, Herman Lazarus and Roelof Tolman are always in the thick of it. Damien Lopez lost a few races through that first race shunt and rookies Wayne Field, Norman and Earl Joseph are improving every race.
The cauldron of Class C bubbles over with Bryan Morgan and old rival Ebrahim Levy the star attraction, but the likes of Jarred Simpson, Gideon Simpson and Gideon Serfontein now under increasing pressure from rookie and the youngest guy in the field, 15 year-ole Giordano Lupini and the returning oldest driver Brian Maunder both showing great promise of late as they battle with the likes of Dillons Joubert and Jeary, Gert du Plessis, Mike Venlet, Matthew Curry and newcomer Alfie van Zyl.
Looking ahead, Class C seems set for big things with both Marco Busi and Chris Swart heading back to their happy hunting ground along with the arrival of a few more karting graduates including little brother Dario Busi, while Polo Cup racer Umpie Swart is understood to be coming to Class A.
In all, GTi Challenge continues to offer a remarkably inexpensive, properly run, very well controlled and highly competitive form of local circuit motor racing that covers everything from a step up from karting to a serious arena for top competitor. It is much loved, well received and wildly popular, it’s a great place to race in spite of difficult trading and financial pressures, so all in all, the Bold Marine WP GTi Challenge finds itself in a pretty happy place right now.
WP GTI Challenge Champions:
2000 - Brett Roach
2001 - Gerrit Coetzee
2002 - George Economides
2003 - Wanie Phillips
2004 - Gerrit Coetzee
2005 - Peet van der Walt
2006 - Peet van der Walt
2007 - Greig Edwards
2008 - Aldrin van Zijl
2009 - Tersius van Tonder
2010 - Jacques Geldenhuys
2011 - Raymond Johnson
2012 - Raymond Johnson
2013 - Chris Swart
2014 - Paul Simon
2015 - Paul Simon