The historic Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix circuit in East London provides the backdrop for two highly important national championship outings when the Vodacom Roadshow moves to the coast on June 23,
Tight championship battles - as the season draws to the halfway mark - make every point a crucial one for those chasing Midas Production Car and Dark Dog Superbike national titles. Also on the agenda is a SASCAR outing with the meeting set to provide for plenty of action and entertainment for Eastern Cape motor racing enthusiasts.
Only two points separate three drivers at the top of the overall Midas championship with the hugely experienced Randburg driver, Shaun van der Linde, under severe pressure from Pretorian Cor Kraamwinkel and Krugersdorp star Stephen Taylor. That means plenty of pressure for the trio, and others who are on the fringes of championship battles in the various classes, and sets the scene for some hectic racing.
There is also an interesting situation brewing in the Dark Dog Superbike championship where former multiple champion Greg Dreyer finds himself back at the top of a national series. The fact that the Capetonian's nearest rival is old foe Russell Wood adds a little needle to proceedings.
Although only one point ahead of Kraamwinkel in the overall standings, van der Linde (Van der Linder Racing BMW) has a little breathing space in the Class A championship. Here he is 22 points clear of reigning champion Regardt Roets, in the Kaye Eddie BMW, and will be looking to extend his advantage over the Johannesburg driver.
Class B leader Curt Alchin (AMG Honda) will be hoping a short hop down the coast from Port Elizabeth to East London will produce dividends. Former champion Alchin leads team-mate Gavin Cronje by four points with the Roodepoort youngster now under pressure from Charl Wilken in the Team Castrol Toyota Corolla.
A Honda versus Opel battle is being fought out in Class C where Bryanston based Doug Reekie leads Randburg youngster Bert Grogor by three points. Taylor has daylight between himself and Opel team-mate Leeroy Poulter in Class D while Kraamwinkel has a 10 point advantage over reigning champion James Menin and Boksburg privateer Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz) in Class E.
A solid performance last time out on his home circuit at Killarney, has taken Dreyer (Autopage Cellular Honda) to the top of the Dark Dog Superbike championship where he now leads Pinetown veteran Russell Wood (Vodacom Nashua Yamaha) by five points. There is little love lost between the two on the track, and after a disappointing outing in Cape Town the experienced Wood will be desperate to win in East London.
Dreyer (94) and Wood (89) have edged clear of Zimbabwean Robbie Petersen (Autopage Cellular Honda) who is 21 points behind Wood. Petersen, however, is under pressure from another Capetonian, Lance Isaacs (Vodacom Nashua Yamaha) who scored his maiden Dark Dog win on his home circuit last time out.
Only five points separate Petersen and Isaacs with Dark Dog Ducati rider Trevor Crookes a further five points in arrears. Crookes is only one point clear of Graeme van Breda (Longbeach Mobil Suzuki) with plenty of pressure on the frontrunners and those doing the chasing.
The nature of the East London circuit, with long straights and ultra fast sweeps interspersed with the tight infield section, always makes for good racing. It is going to be a war of attrition with the Dark Dog brigade never failing to come up with pulsating racing.
On the SASCAR side the pick of the field is Capetonian Johan Fourie in the MD Transport entry. Fourie, now also competing in the Wesbank V8 championship, is in a class of his own and another double win for the talented Capetonian looks to be on the cards.