Vodacom Roadshow Port Elizabeth preview

Top Class Fare As Vodacom Roadshow Moves To Port Elizabeth The Vodacom Roadshow menu at the Aldo Scribante circuit on August 18 -- with three national categories topping the bill -- is an enticing one as championship battles start to reach...

Top Class Fare As Vodacom Roadshow Moves To Port Elizabeth

The Vodacom Roadshow menu at the Aldo Scribante circuit on August 18 -- with three national categories topping the bill -- is an enticing one as championship battles start to reach towards an end of season climax.

The Wesbank V8 Championship, Engen Volkswagen Cup and Sasol Formula Ford are the three national categories on view, and should provide for plenty of action. In all three categories current championship leaders have comfortable cushions -- but the three are not yet out of the woods, and that sets up pressure situations all-round.

In a career in which his tally of South African rally titles is measured in double figures, Sarel van der Merwe has lagged a little when it comes to circuit racing championships. The legendary Supervan, however, looks to be on track for only his fourth SA circuit championship.

Van der Merwe (Sasol Ford Mustang) leads the Wesbank V8 championship by 15 points from old rival Ben Morgenrood (Auto Trader Ford Mustang), and will know better than anyone that consistency over the rest of the season is going to be a key factor. This is all the more important in view of the impact Capetonian Johan Fourie (M and D Ford Mustang) has had on the Wesbank series in recent meetings.

Since joining the fray Fourie has not lost a race -- and has rocketed into fourth place in the championship. He is still 40 odd points shy of Supervan, but if he keeps on winning van der Merwe and other title hopefuls will know they have to score consistently over the rest of the season to keep the young charger at bay.

With Fourie on a mission and the two Petronas Opel Astras - driven by Shaun Watson-Smith and Deon Joubert - now highly competitive, the Wesbank championship has come alive this season. There is also an element of young lions versus some battle-scarred warriors, and that simply adds to the mix.

Eastern Cape enthusiasts will be firmly behind Terry Moss protege Tschops Sipuka (Engen VW Polo), who will be on home ground, in the Engen VW Cup. Sipuka now lies second in the championship, but has Derrick Irving (National Auto Glass VW Polo) breathing down his neck a point in arrears.

Like van der Merwe championship leader Graeme Nathan (Ciro Coffee VW Polo) has a comfortable cushion. He is 28 points clear of Sipuka, and consistency has been a major factor for the Midrand driver.

Nathan is in the happy position where wins would be nice, but are not a necessity. That is not the case for those doing the chasing, and that makes for an interesting scenario at Aldo Scribante.

As one expects from a one marque series, the Engen VW championship has produced some superb and highly competitive racing. The nature of the Port Elizabeth circuit suggests that this will once again be the case as everyone plays the catch Nathan game.

A little needle between the two frontrunners in the Sasol Formula Ford championship also adds a touch of flavour to the Port Elizabeth outing. After race two turned into more than a needle match, Jonathan du Toit (Psion Van Diemen) and Morne Jurgens (Jurgens Truck Hire Van Diemen) were up before race officials last time at out AA Kyalami.

Du Toit has a 34 point lead over Jurgens in the title race, but battle lines between the pair have been redrawn. One expects the pair to throw everything they can at each other, and that adds up to a highly inflammable situation.

Jurgens also has Brett Mayberry (Investment Cars Mygale) only three points behind in the championship. That puts a little extra pressure on the most experienced of the trio, with the scene set for two explosive races.

In the Kent category there has been a shift in the wind. Brian Greyling (UPS Signs Van Diemen) now holds a 10 point lead over Andy brown in the Airex Royale. The series is a two horse race between the pair, and Brown will be keen to make up some of the leeway.

-VR-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series General
Drivers Shaun Watson-Smith , Sarel van der Merwe