Round seven AA Kyalami preview

Vodacom Power Tour moves up a gear. Round seven of the Vodacom Power Tour on August 3 sees national championship motor racing return to AA Kyalami after a lengthy break. The last event at AA Kyalami was on May 18, and the programme for ...

Vodacom Power Tour moves up a gear.

Round seven of the Vodacom Power Tour on August 3 sees national championship motor racing return to AA Kyalami after a lengthy break.

The last event at AA Kyalami was on May 18, and the programme for the August 3 meeting provides action starved enthusiasts with a little of everything. On the agenda are events for South African Production Cars, Wesbank SAMCAR Series, the Vodacom Sports Car Championship and Vodacom Sports 2000 national challenge, Formula Ford and Superbikes.

The line-up provides for an attractive mix of saloon cars, sports cars, singleseaters and motorcycles with all the ingredients there for an interesting day. Some tight championship positions in the various categories, however, will see the Vodacom Power Tour step up a gear with plenty at stake for title hopefuls.

The action will get underway on Friday, August 2 with official practice and qualifying sessions. There will be official qualifying for all categories with the exception of the Superbike brigade who will fight it out for grid positions on race day.

Racing on Saturday, August 3 is scheduled to start at 10h00. Gate entry is R35 per adult with children under 16 free.

WESBANK SAMCAR SERIES

The battle at the top of the Wesbank series offers one of the tightest fights on the national championship scene this year.

Former champion Roelf du Plessis (Chev Camaro) leads another former champion, Ben Morgenrood, in the Auto Trader Ford Mustang, by a single point. Larry Wilford (Fuchs Ford Mustang) is a further six points off the pace with talented Capetonian Johan Fourie an ominous 30 points behind du Plessis in the Sasol Opel Astra.

With team owner Sarel van der Merwe still not fully recovered from an inner ear infection, Shaun Watson-Smith will again partner Fourie, with the pair likely to dominate proceedings. Fourie has reeled off a series of wins at recent national outings, and is the man van der Merwe has earmarked to succeed him as Wesbank champion.

With Fourie in such commanding form of late, the major aim for the likes of du Plessis, Morgenrood and Wilford is to pick up consistent finishes over the rest of the season. It sets up an interesting situation with young lions like Fourie and Watson-Smith throwing down the gauntlet to veterans like du Plessis, Morgenrood, Wilford and Willie Hepburn.

SA PRODUCTION CARS

Reigning Champion Shaun van der Linde (Castrol Van der Linde Racing BMW) is well on the way to back-to-back SA Production Car overall and Class A championships.

The former Touring Car champion is well clear of the opposition in both categories, but elsewhere there are some ferocious battles developing. Philip Kekana leads the Junior Drivers championship by only three points, and in some of the class categories it is even closer.

In Class B the Team Castrol Toyota pair of Charl Wilken and Mark Cronje will have their hands full with former Toyota driver Martin Steyn in the Flatron Honda Ballade. Wilken has a slender 13-point lead over Steyn at this stage, but Steyn has proved to be a handful all season for the Toyota pair and theirs will be a battle to watch with interest.

Only eight points separate Ian Long (60), Lawrence Boshoff (59) and multiple former champion Curt Alchin (52) in Class C, and with all three out in Honda Ballades there isn’t much to choose between the trio. Once again this is a battle that has plenty of potential.

There is plenty of potential, too, in Class D where Kekana (Sasol Toyota Tazz) leads Ford Fiesta pair Etienne du Toit and Fanie de Bruyn. With the likes of Dawie de Villiers (Daihatsu), Miguell Pasquali (Honda Ballade), Cor Kraamwinkel (Opel Corsa) and Carlos Nobre (VW Golf) thrown into the equation, the class is ultra competitive and Kekana will have his hands full.

There is an equally tight championship situation in Class E where Darren Murphy (VW Citi Golf) leads Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz) and Jody Powell (Opel Corsa) by just two points. There has not been a lot of love lost between the leading trio this season, and more fireworks can be expected.

Adding to the interest is a tight battle in the prestige SA Manufacturers Championship where only 12 points separate Honda and Toyota. This is one of the few championships Toyota have not won in South African motorsport, and they will be looking for a big effort from factory and privateer drivers.

FORMULA FORD

Championship leader Morne Jurgens (Jurgens Truck Mygale) has run into a tough patch of late, and has seen his championship lead cut to just 12 points.

Brett Mayberry (Mygale) is now within striking distance with the pair now well clear of Mark du Toit in the Big Z Racing Van Diemen. Stephen Morris (Mygale) in fourth place with a one point lead over kart star Gavin Cronje who scored his maiden win at the last outing at Zwartkops.

It has not taken the talented Cronje, younger brother of Team Castrol Toyota driver Mark, long to throw his hat into the Formula Ford ring. Out in the ex Tannith Gardner Van Diemen, which has been totally rebuilt, Cronje has plenty of championship ground to make up, but is likely to be a factor over the rest of the season.

VODACOM SPORTS CARS

Veteran Bernard Tilanus is one of the few championship contenders who will go to AA Kyalami in something of a comfort zone.

Some 28 years after winning the national Formula Ford championship, Tilanus has a 31 point lead in the Vodacom Sports Car Championship.“ Fast Fanus” intends retiring at the end of the year, and is well placed to end a hugely successful career - that also includes winning the SA Drivers Championship in 1981– on a high note.

Behind Tilanus there is a terrific scrap between Neil Lobb (161), Donovan Roscoe (158) and reigning champion George Ferreira (152) with Francois Gerber not yet completely out of the picture. Consistency has always been a Tilanus trademark, and his ability to set up race machinery has given him a decided edge in this year’s Vodacom series.

Tilanus will be looking for a pair of wins at AA Kyalami, but won’t be too disappointed with a couple of good points hauls. It is a case of the rest of the championship challengers having to go out and catch Tilanus, who is in the happy position of being able to drive conservatively and hope that the rest of the bunch trip over themselves.

SUPERBIKES

A situation that all motorsport enthusiasts have been waiting for has broken out in the Superbike championship.

Only six points separate the top three on the log and that sets the scene for more drama in a series that over the years has consistently produced some of the best racing on the local scene. With reigning champion Greg Dreyer (Cell C Suzuki) losing ground after crashing at Zwartkops last time out, the championship spotlight is now on Trevor Crookes (UUNet Ducati) and former champions Russell Wood (Vodacom Nashua Yamaha) and Stewart Macleod on a second Cell C Suzuki.

After a huge crash at Killarney earlier in the season, Wood has bounced back to emerge as a serious contender for his 13th South African motorcycle championship. The points situation makes it imperative that Crookes, Wood and Macleod do not lose any ground at AA Kyalami and Dreyer, if fit after breaking his shoulder, needs to claw his way back into contention.

It all adds up to a situation for enthusiasts to savour.

-aa racing-

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About this article
Series General
Drivers Martin Steyn , Shaun Watson-Smith , Sarel van der Merwe
Tags AFVR