Sarel van der Merwe stamped his authority on the Wesbank V8 championship at Kyalami when he scored a double victory on Saturday 5 May. 1984 Daytona 24 hour winner and multiple rally champion Supervan beat the similar Ford Mustang of Ben Morgenrood.
Sarel van der Merwe stamped his authority on the Wesbank V8 championship at Kyalami when he scored a double victory on Saturday 5 May. 1984 Daytona 24 hour winner and multiple rally champion Supervan beat the similar Ford Mustang of Ben Morgenrood. Behind the Mustangs came the Camaro's. Heat one saw pole sitter Riaan Botma finish 3rd in his Camaro, while in heat 2 veteran Willie Hepburn took the final podium spot in his Camaro, followed by Bothma.
The arrival of Opel marks the first direct factory involvement in the Transam style series since the Audi vs Ford vs Mazda battles of the late eighties and early nineties. Deon Joubert bagged two 5th places after qualifying 4th, while Shaun Watson-Smith qualified 5th and finished 6th and 7th respectively.
Race 1 saw Bothma lead away from pole, opening up a lead over Van der Merwe, who in turn was followed by Morgenrood. Championship leader Larry Wilford, who won last time out in Cape Town, was out of luck, failing to complete a lap.
On lap 2 Van der Merwe took the lead from Botma, with Morgenrood finding his way past as well. The rest of the race saw Morgenrood vainly trying to catch Van der Merwe, who eventually won comfortably.
Further back the new Viper of Mike Morrell was nudged off by Ray Wilford, nephew of Larry. Wiflord eventually finished 13th and Morrell 15th. Van der Merwe's rookie teammate Gugu Zulu came 11th after qualfying 9th.
Race two saw Van der Merwe start on pole and stay in the lead. Behind him the battle between Morgenrood and Botma saw Bothma go cross-country and end up behind the now third placed Willie Hepburn. Behind them Joubert held off Hennie Groenewald, who was followed by the other Astra Shaun Watson-Smith.
As in the first race Van der Merwe pulled away from the 2nd placed man Morgenrood, who in turn opened a gap on Hepburn and the pursuing Botma. By the halfway mark Morgenrood started closing in on Van der Merwe, but then he dropped back again.
The the battle for 5th was resolved in favour of Joubert as Groenewald started falling back. The closing stages of the race were enlivened by the battle for third between Hepburn and Botma, with Hepburn hanging on for the final rostrum position.
The double win took Van der Merwe to the top of the championship. He is followed by Morgenrood and Hepburn, while the unfortunate Wilford has dropped right out of conention.
<pre> QUALIFYING 4TH MAY 2001
RIAAN BOTMA 1.44.114 SAREL VD MERWE 1.44.367 BEN MORGENROOD 1.44.490 DEON JOUBERT 1.45.464 WILLIE HEPBURN 1.46.119 SHAUN WATSON-SMITH 1.46.325 ROELF DU PLESSIS 1.46.533 DEREK VAN BLERK 1.46.958 FRANCOIS GERBER 1.47.424 GUGU ZULU 1.48.184 MIKE MORRELL 1.48.360
RACE 3- HEAT 1 - RESULTS
SAREL VAN DER MERWE Ford Mustang BEN MORGENROOD Ford Mustang RIAAN BOTMA Chevrolet Camaro WILLIE HEPBURN Chevrolet Camaro DEON JOUBERT Opel Astra V8 SHAUN WATSON-SMITH Opel Astra V8
RACE 3 - HEAT 2 - RESULTS
SAREL VAN DER MERWE Ford Mustang BEN MORGENROOD Ford Mustang WILLIE HEPBURN Chevrolet Camaro RIAAN BOTMA Chevrolet Camaro DEON JOUBERT Opel Astra V8 HENNIE GROENEWALD Chevrolet Camaro
</pre> -Barry de Klerk