Rounds 13 and 14 of this year's South African Midas Production Car Championship produced bent cars, first-time winners, battered egos and shattered lap records at the Free State Phakisa Raceway on Saturday (August 11). In the process the ...
Rounds 13 and 14 of this year's South African Midas Production Car Championship produced bent cars, first-time winners, battered egos and shattered lap records at the Free State Phakisa Raceway on Saturday (August 11).
In the process the near-standard tin-top racing brigade royally entertained a large contingent of Free State spectators, while leaving their national title chase wide open.
The start of the day's first race saw Class A season points leader Shaun van der Linde (Castrol BMW 328i) grab the lead, chased closely by Castrol BMW team mate Michael Briggs' identical car, Steve Wyndham (Ford Credit Fairmont) Kaye-Eddie BMW 328i twins Reghard Roets and Gavin Kelsey, plus the Auto Body Specialist BMW 328i of Richard Sorensen.
Van der Linde gradually opened a gap between himself and the rest of the pack while behind him, a misfire slowed Briggs's Castrol BMW, allowing Wyndham's Ford into second place on Lap 3. Van der Linde drove his BMW to an unchallenged victory, followed over the finish line by Wyndham, Roets, Kelsey, Briggs and Sorensen.
The second race did not proceed as uneventfully.
From the start, Van der Linde, Wyndham and Briggs fought a titanic battle for the first place, with Sorensen, Roets and Kelsey in close attendance. It turned into tears two laps from the end when Wyndham challenged Van der Linde for the lead going into Phakisa's Boot Complex. The Ford and BMW touched and both cars spun violently, causing Briggs to rotate his BMW in avoidance. When the dust settled, Richard Sorensen led in his Auto Body Specialist BMW.
He made no mistakes on his way to the flag, delighted to take his first Midas Production Car race victory ahead of Kay-Eddie BMW drivers Reghardt Roets and Gavin Kelsey, plus a recovered Wyndham and Briggs.
With his Castrol BMW's handling deranged during the off-road excursion, a furious Shaun van der Linde had to settle for an eventual sixth place in the class while his team mate Briggs had the consolation of setting a new Phakisa Midas Class A lap record.
In Class B, Team Total Honda Ballade V-TEC driver Gavin Cronje' scored both of the day's victories.
In the opening race he had to fight off a determined challenge by Mark Cronje' (Castrol Toyota Corolla RSi), with the gap between the two brothers' cars a mere second at the finish line. Team Total Honda Ballade V-TEC drivers Curt Alchin and Clinton Weston took the third and fourth placings, followed by Charl Wilken, who suffered brake problems in his works Castrol Toyota Corolla RSi.
The second race turned into a Team Total Honda benefit, with the Ballade V-TEC models of Cronje', Alchin and Weston running to an orderly one-two-three finish. With their Castrol Toyotas now both slowed by brake problems, Mark Cronje' and Charl Wilken had to be content with the fourth and fifth places.
Capetonian Lawrence Boshoff (VeBody Honda Ballade 180i) took both of the Class C victories, setting a new lap record en route. On both occasions he was chased to the flag by Phillip Booysen (Maxi-Flex Honda Ballade 180i), while Dawie Brough (Honda Ballade 180i) and Doug Reekie (Ray-Ban Honda Ballade 180i) swapped the third and fourth placings.
The heartbreak of the meeting befell Bert Grogor, who comprehensively crashed his Fairdeal Midas Opel Kadett 180i out of the first race while avoiding an errant back marker.
Leeroy Poulter (Deltaparts Opel Corsa 160 GSi) won the opening Class D race, followed by local privateer Jaco Correia (Honda Ballade 160i), Nyameka Williams (Petronas Opel Corsa 160 GSi), Fanie de Bruin (Makita Ford Fiesta RSi) and Dawie de Villiers (Daihatsu Sirion).
Initially placed second on the road, Stephen Taylor (Deltaparts Opel Corsa 160 GSi) was relegated to sixth place by a ten-second penalty for overly-robust driving. Taylor made no mistakes in the second race and won from flag to flag, setting a new Midas Class D lap record in the process.
He was closely followed over the line by Deltaparts Opel Corsa team mate Leeroy Poulter, Correia in his Honda, De Villiers' Daihatsu and the Sasol Toyota Tazz 160 of Phillip Kekana.
Cor Kraamwinkel (Goldi Chicken Opel Kadett 140i) won both of the Class E races, chased home on both occasions by James Menin (Goldco Midas Opel Corsa 130i) and Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz). VW CitiGolf racers Andrew Thompson and Roby Beninca took turns in the fourth places.
In the process, Kraamwinkel set a new Midas Class E Phakisa lap record and held on to his current overall 2001 Midas Production Car Championship points lead.
At the end of the day, Class E competitors Riyad Jaffer (Castrol Toyota Tazz) and Sheehan Grant (Shalom Opel Kadett 140i) were respectively crowned as CAR Magazine's Rookie and Trier of the Day.