|What||G+A Motorsport Classic Festival Report|
|Where||Killarney International Raceway|
|When||10-11 December 2021|
|Community||South Africa National|
A fabulous weekend of racing brings the season to a close
It was a time warp in so many more ways than one, when the G+A Motorsport Festival brought the 2021 South African racing season to a close at Killarney on Friday and Saturday. First and foremost, the weekend attracted a real crowd back to Killarney for the first time since lockdown, promoted in part by the 1970s style two rand entry fee.
And then the racing. It was brilliant end-to-end, from the special classic racing classes that drew a dazzling array of cars and drivers from around the country, to the epic Polo Cup Final that went all the way down to the line, and the season ending Cape Town 9 Hour race that kept fans riveted all the way to its 9 pm finish. It certainly was a weekend to remember!
There was much variety in the G+A Motorsport Pre-’86 Sports Car races, but nobody had an answer from Killarney local Steve Humble’s wieldy Harp Ravenol Mallock Opel. PE visitor Rudolf de Vos’ rumbling Chevy Can Am came closest in Friday’s opening heat, but that raw V8 power was unable to stem the nimble Mallock, ahead of the duelling Louis de Jager’s Lola T212 and Colin Ellison's Lucky Strike Chevron B19 evoking 1970s Cape 3 Hour memories.
That battle was quite appropriately on the 50th anniversary to the day, that John Hine and Dave Charlton drove their identically liveried Lucky Strike Chevron B19 to victory in the ’71 Springbok Series Welkom 3 Hour! Greg Thornton’s Broadcocks Chevron B8 BMW followed, ahead of Ray Farnham’s Birkin Opel, John Kirsten Mills Maco Form 3 Basie Burger Wheels4U Lotus 7. Humble took race 2 from de Vos, Ellison, de Jager, Farnham, Kirsten and Thornton.
It was a battle of the V8s in the G+A Motorsport Pre-’86 Saloon Car races as Willie Hepburn and his famous wild ‘80s Wesbank Sabat Opel Rekord V8 fought it out with Rudolf de Vos’s Little Chevy Can Am. 79-year old Hepburn turned in a spectacular 1-minute 18 second lap has he held de Vos off in the first race, before the Gqebehra ace turned the tables in Saturday’s second heat.
Trevor Momberg was best of the Capeys in his ever-rapid Ford Capri V6 from Eric van der Merwe's Lynx Porsche 944, Dave Alhadeff's MSP BMW 325iS, local Ford Escort duo Louis Powell's Ford & Friends machine and Franco Donadio, and Dion Valentine’s Mini. De Vos put one over Hepburn in heat 2 with van der Merwe third from Momberg, Colin Ellison’s Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt and Michael Hitchcock's Cross Cape Forklift Mustang
Chris Champion's Piri Piri MGA and Jaco Lambert in a VW Fox shared the smaller G+A Motorsport Classic Saloons class wins. Champion beat Shawn Bester's Mini, Ryan Sanders' Jetta, Stephen Manuel in a Skyline Ernest Leite’s Fiat 128, Robert Rowe, Fred Phillips’ Morgan and Ian Oberholzer’s cool Volvo 850 wagon. Dion Valentine’s Mini was second in race 2 from Champion, Stuart Greig’s Mini, Arnold Lambert's Anglia, Phillips, Oberholzer and Bester.
Local Libre racers came to the fore in the G+A Motorsport Classic Single Seaters race of attrition for the more fancied exotic entries. Byron Mitchell’s Dolphin Vee put one over Formula GTi duo Haydn Ellwood’s Swift and Graham Knight Eloff Transformers Ray VWs, Dolphin trio Cyril Somerville’s Sting Donovan Ramsay’s Rhema and Kelly Fletcher’s Forza Formula Vees. Mitchell beat Knight Fletcher, Somerville, Ellwood and Ramsay in race 2.
In perhaps the races of the weekend, local hero Jurie Swart never put a foot wrong to dominate both bruising Polo Cup races in Alpine Autohaus machine. But it was not enough to prevent Universal driver Leyton Fourie from clinching the '21 title. Swart beat Tasmin Pepper's Puma and Tate Bishop's Angri cars, King Price kid Jayden Els, Universal trio Clinton Bezuidenhout, Fourie and Dawie van der Merwe and Stradale racer Arnold Neveling in race 1.
Local hero Swart then did a compelling double in heat 2 over Nathi Msimanga's Squadra Corse machine, while Charl Visser shielded Fourie from Neveling, Els, Pepper and Giordano Lupini's Bullion IT machine in race 2. That allowed Fourie to take the title, despite Swart winning eight races through the season to Fourie’s six.
There was chaos at the start of the SAEC season ending 9 Hour race when oil spilled on the opening lap caused several cars to go off on the second tour. Those included one of the favourites in the Nick Adcock, Michael Jensen, Dean Venter and Andrew Rackstraw Ligier JS53 EVO Honda, which rejoined 100 laps into the race after the team repaired the car.
The race soon resumed on a fine Cape summers afternoon and by mid distance, the top of the leaderboard looked like the who’s who of South African motorsport. Arnold Neveling's Lamborghini led Gavin Cronje’s Ferrari, triple SA Cross Country champion Henk Lategan's Porsche and none other than Sarel van der Merwe in a Ginetta.
Neveling driving with Charl Arangies, went on to a dominant 14 lap victory in the Stradale Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 from Cronje, Bradley Scorer and Michael Pitamber’s Bigfoot Express Ferrari 458 GT3. Henk, driving the WCT Engineering Porsche 991 GT3 Cup with dad Heinrich Lategan and Verissimo Tavares were third from Jaki Scheckter driving the Team Africa Le Mans Ginetta with van der Merwe and Hennie Groenewald.
Fifth placed Franco Scribante and Jason Campos’ tin-top winning VW Polo SupaCup meanwhile wrapped up the 2021 SA Endurance title ahead of Christopher Pretorius, Darren Winterboer and Pieter Zeelie's similar Bucketlist car. Adcock, Jensen, Venter, and Rackstraw amazingly fought back to 14th in their Ligier. And to close the Festival off in true classic style, Greg Thornton won the 1 Hour endurance race, 50 years on once again in that Lucky Strike Chevron B19...
That ended a splendid weekend of G+A Motorsport Festival racing at Killarney and a fine 2021 South African motorsport season. It all gets going again in January. Bring it on!
Issued on behalf of Killarney International Raceway
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