Vodacom Phakisa preview

A new kid on the block will command most of the attention when the Vodacom Roadshow moves to the Phakisa Raceway in Welkom on June 30. Three national categories will share center stage - the Wesbank V8 big bangers, Engen Volkswagen Cup and Sasol...

A new kid on the block will command most of the attention when the Vodacom Roadshow moves to the Phakisa Raceway in Welkom on June 30.

Three national categories will share center stage - the Wesbank V8 big bangers, Engen Volkswagen Cup and Sasol Formula Ford - with Free State enthusiasts in for a day packed with action. It is a young lion, however, who will attract most of the attention as he takes on some grizzled veterans in the Wesbank V8 championship.

Young Capetonian Johan Fourie, in the MD Transport Ford Mustang, ventured into the Wesbank V8 den for the first time at Zwartkops - and walked away with a double win against the likes of new championship leader Ben Morgenrood (Hillbank Ford Mustang) and Sarel van der Merwe in the Sasol Ford Mustang. Fourie is hugely talented, but the old timers won't have taken kindly to his Zwartkops performance, and will be out to cut him down to size.

At this stage Fourie is no threat in the championship, where Randfontein based Morgenrood now leads old foe van der Merwe (now domiciled in Paarl) by nine points, but the Cape youngster could interfere with some other championship plans. Morgenrood and van der Merwe are also in danger of creeping away from the rest of the Wesbank challengers - headed by two more veterans in Willie Hepburn and Larry Wilford - and the Phakisa outing is important for all those with title aspirations.

The addition of Fourie to the Wesbank mix adds another potential winner to an already long list of drivers capable of sneaking a win. The factory Petronas Opel entries driven by former Touring Car stars Deon Joubert and Shaun Watson-Smith are also showing steady improvement, and the Wesbank series is now highly competitive.

After an unhappy Zwartkops outing Supervan will be keen to get his season back on an even keel, and will be the popular favourite. Picking a winner, however, will be a risky business and both heats are likely to provide for some red-blooded racing.

On the Engen Volkswagen Cup front, current leader Graeme Nathan is also in a position where he could take a big step towards shutting out the rest of the opposition over the remainder of the season. Midrand based Nathan now leads Stanly Thompson and Graham Donker by 29 points - and that is a handy advantage at this stage of the season.

Thompson, who will make a long trip to Welkom from Louis Trichardt, and Donker are under pressure from former champions Derrick Irving and Marthinus Briers, with rising Eastern Cape star Tschops Sipuka also still in the picture. Thompson and Donker and company cannot afford to let Nathan stretch his lead, and that also sets up an interesting situation.

The very nature of one marque racing provides for close competition and since its inception, as a non championship category, the Engen series has not disappointed. The nature of the Phakisa circuit should also provide for some close racing, and the end result should be a dogfight.

Jonathan du Toit (Big Z Van Diemen) is another driver starting to put championship daylight between himself and those doing the chasing. The Pretoria youngster now leads the Sasol Formula Ford title race by 16 points with Brett Mayberry (Mygale) and the experienced Morne Jurgens (Jurgens Truck Hire Mygale) his closest challengers.

Mayberry, who also hails from Pretoria, and Boksburg's Jurgens face stiff tasks in the Free State. Both drivers, if they are going to push du Toit in the latter stages of the season, need to win at Phakisa but the championship leader is the form horse at the moment.

In the Kent engine category a third Pretoria driver, Andy Brown, and Kempton Park's Brian Greyling have emerged as the main title challengers. Brown currently leads Greyling by nine points, and the trip to the Free State is important for both drivers.

Latest championship points are:

Wesbank V8: 1 Ben Morgenrood 110; 2 Sarel van der Merwe 101; 3 Willie Hepburn 84; 4 Larry Wilford 80; 5 Riaan Botma 71.

Engen Volkswagen Cup: 1 Graeme Nathan 113; 2 Stanley Thompson and Graham Donker 84; 3 Derrick Irving 80; 4 Marthinus Briers 74; 5 Tschops Sipuka 71.

Sasol Formula Ford (Zetec): 1 Jonathan du Toit 46; 2 Brett Mayberry 30; 3 Morne Jurgens 22; 4 Mark du Toit 12; 5 Morne Petersen 10. (Kent): 1 Andy Brown 48; 2 Brian Greyling 39; 3 Matthys Strydom 25.

-CF

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About this article
Series Other open wheel , Road racing
Drivers Shaun Watson-Smith , Sarel van der Merwe