The Stannic Nine-hour Endurance Race for Group N cars at Killarney race track near Cape Town saw 43 entries roar past the start line at 12h00 on November 18 in sunny, windless weather. Ben Morgenrood in a Mazda MX-6 took the lead from pole,...
The Stannic Nine-hour Endurance Race for Group N cars at Killarney race track near Cape Town saw 43 entries roar past the start line at 12h00 on November 18 in sunny, windless weather. Ben Morgenrood in a Mazda MX-6 took the lead from pole, closely pursued by Robby Smith in a BMW 325i and Paulo Capella, also in a Mazda MX-6.
The second lap saw the withdrawal due to gearbox problems of the factory Nissan Sabre driven by Nick de Waal. The Crystal Springs Team, driving semi-factory Nissan Sabres, immediately approached the factory team, offering to give de Waals' Australian co-driver Terry Lewis a seat on condition that he bring with him the "magic" longlasting brake pads which travelled with him all the way from Oz. The offer was accepted and the Crystal Springs team fitted the Australian pads at the first available opportunity. (An obligatory brake change had to be done any time after the first hour.) Unlike many other competitors they never had brake problems after this.
After about 40 mins. the Morgenrood car stopped on the track and was pushed into the pits where the fuel pump was changed. It soon stopped again & after further investigation Morgenrood claimed that sugar in the fuel tank had sabotaged his effort - and indeed, the fuel filter did show an icing-sugar-like, sweet-tasting precipitate, but only further analysis will give an answer. After spending more than 2 hours in the pits the Mazda resumed the race with co-driver Roelf van Vuuren behind the wheel, but understandably the Sasol-sponsored car was never a threat to the leaders. Soon after this the Capella car, which was lying 3rd & was to have been driven later in the race by Carlos Capella & Johan Coetzee also dropped out.
After Morgenrood's problems the BMW took the lead and looked like a sure winner until the high track temperatures (up to 40 Celsius) took its toll and a brake pad literally caught fire in the pits during a stop just after the halfway mark. At the same stop the left rear suspension also needed work and the BMW dropped to 15 place, giving the lead to 1994 winner Giniel de Villiers in a Nissan Sabre co-driven by Grant van Schalkwyk.
A 1600 cc. 16-valve Nissan Conquest driven by Charl Wilken & Leon Mare now filled 2nd place while the Crystal Springs Nissan driven by Lewis, Steve Corna & Chris Clarke steadily worked its way through the field to 3rd place. Fading brakes caused van Schalkwyk to spin the leading Nissan with 30 mins to go and although he could resume the race this "off" gave victory to Wilken & Mare who received the chequered flag 3 laps ahead of van Schalkwyk/de Villiers, who were 3 laps ahead of the 3rd place Nissan Sabre of Lewis/Clarke/Corna. Other overseas drivers were less fortunate than the Australian but also featured in the results : Belgian Dirk Schoysman, partnered by Wilhelm Baard in a Nissan Sabre, finished 10th and German driver Gunter Murmann, partnered in a privately-entered Opel Astra 200iE by Peter Lanz & Mark de Nobrega crossed the line in 6th place. One lap behind the leading trio were Robby Smith/Geoff Goddard in the ill-fated BMW, who had fought their way from 15th place to 4th.
The winning car completed 332 laps of the twisty 3.267 km. circuit, a track which suits small, agile cars such as the Conquest very well. Due to the high temperatures only 29 cars finished, among the casualties being the entire factory Nissan and Opel teams. Mention must be made of the sole Volkswagen in the race, a 1986 GTi driven by privateers Don Craye/Maxie Jonker/Jess Huggett, who finished 2nd in their class and completed 312 laps.
This vehicle is Craye's private roadgoing car and it has now completed no fewer than nine consecutive endurance races : the 6-hour events of 1987- 1989, the 7-hour races of 1990 & 1991 and the 9-hour events of 1992 -1995.
Leon Retief, Cape Town. Leon and Lenore ...............................Cape Town South Africa