AA Kyalami opener event report

A couple of reigning and former champions got their season off to a flying start at the Vodacom Power Tour meeting at AA Kyalami today. Reigning Midas Production Car champion Sean van der Linde took up where he left off last season with a brace...

A couple of reigning and former champions got their season off to a flying start at the Vodacom Power Tour meeting at AA Kyalami today.

Reigning Midas Production Car champion Sean van der Linde took up where he left off last season with a brace of wins, and there were also doubles for former Wesbank V8 champion Gary Formato and former Superbike champion Russell Wood. For at least one other reigning champion, however, it was not a happy day with Wesbank kingpin Sarel van der Merwe having a dreadful time of it with the newly acquired Sasol Supervan Racing Opel Astra.

Van der Linde, a former Bankfin Touring Car champion, scored two comfortable wins ahead of team-mate Mike Briggs– also a former Touring Car champion– in the Castrol van der Linde Racing BMWs. Richard Sorensen, in another BMW, was third in both heats, with Team Castrol Toyota pair Mark Cronje and Charl Wilken sharing a fourth and a fifth and Class B wins.

Reigning Class B champion Curt Alchin and Ian Long, both in Honda Ballades, shared the Class C victories with the Class D wins going to Dawie de Villiers (Daihatsu) and Etienne du Toit in a Ford Fiesta. The Class D brigade provided for some slam bang racing with last lap incidents deciding both heats.

Experienced Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz) won the first Class E heat, with young Riyad Jaffer scoring his first ever national win in race two in the Team Castrol Toyota Tazz. Jaffer also won race one in the Vodacom Sports 2000 category, ahead of brother Irshad, but was beaten in race two by Zulu.

Formato (Ford Mustang), who missed last year’s Wesbank series through overseas commitments, looks set for an extended home based campaign this year. The Johannesburg driver has in the past dominated the V8 championship, and was unchallenged as he strolled to a pair of convincing victories.

Veterans Ben Morgenrood (Auto Trader Ford Mustang) and Larry Wilford (Fuchs Ford Mustang) in the first race, and Roelf du Plessis (Chev Camaro) and Willie Hepburn (Chev Camaro) in heat two shared the seconds and thirds. Van der Merwe and team-mate Gugu Zulu had a weekend they would like to forget with a sixth place for van der Merwe in race one their only reward.

Looking for an unprecedented 13th South African motorcycle title, Russell Wood produced touches of sheer magic to win both Superbike races on the Vodacom Nashua Yamaha. Wood took a comfortable race one win ahead of Trevor Crookes (Ducati) and Arushen Moodley on a Honda.

The KwaZulu-Natalian, however, had to work hard for his second heat victory, and stole a march on Crookes and reigning champion Greg Dreyer (Cell C Suzuki) on the last lap. When Crookes and Dreyer got in each others way at the double apex Wesbank corner Wood– holding a watching brief in third place - grabbed the opportunity to muscle his way into the lead.

There was also a double in the Engen Volkswagen Cup event where Port Elizabeth driver Silvio Scribante strolled to a pair of comfortable wins. The minor placings in both heats went to Neil Stephen and Steve Rodgers.

-aa racing-

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Gary Formato , Sarel van der Merwe
Tags AFVR