Hot action at circuit
AN EXCEPTIONAL, balmy late autumn afternoon delivered great Extreme Festival motor racing at the East London Grand Prix Circuit on Saturday in front of a large and appreciative crowd.
The Sasol Global Touring Cars topped the bill as Michael Stephen stormed to an emphatic double victory for Engen Xtreme Audi at the third round of the series.
Just as Stephen won both races, Bradley Liebenberg delivered a similar performance to give the new Mini team its first GTC2 win.
Stephen started the first race third on the grid behind teammate Simon Moss in pole and Johan Fourie in the EPS BMW on Friday evening, but champion Stephen was soon driving off to win from Moss and Fourie. Both the Sasol BMWs of championship leader Gennaro Bonafede and Robert Wolk pitted.
Kosie Weyers took the early GTC2 lead before Liebenberg’s Mini reeled him in, but the Chevrolet developed clutch issues to allow Trevor Bland’s Volkswagen Golf GTI to move up to second from Weyers and Craig Shorter (Champion Mini).
Following were Iain Stevenson (Comsol VW Golf GTI), Volkswagen Motorsport Golf GTI duo Keagan Masters and Mandla Mdakane, a struggling Charl Smalberger (iCorp Volkswagen Parts Golf GTI).
The reverse grid second race saw Wolk and Bonafede on the front row and Dayne Angel in his Autohaus Angel Honda Civic Type R on GTC2 pole.
Bonafede made the early running up front from Wolk, but the Audis were soon up to third and fourth with Stephen closing down on the BMWs ahead, taking care of Wolk and then Bonafede to lead.
Stephen duly won from Bonafede and Wolk.
Angel also made good on the reverse grid start to lead the GTC2 first lap until being tagged by Mandla Mdkane to leave Charl Smallberger battling with Stevenson and Keagan Masters for the lead.
Liebenberg was on the move and soon passed the early leaders to win from Masters and Bland.
The Engen Volkswagen Cup delivered its regular high jinks as Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Health) and Devin Robertson (Payen) shared race wins.
Robertson was on course for the first race win when his car developed a misfire to plummet down the grid on the final two laps, but he bounced back to pip Kruger to the post in the second race.
Matt Shorter (Moog) inherited second in the opening race ahead of Shaun La Réserveé, who took Masters honours in the opening race with Glasfit/C-Track duo Juan Gerber and Justin Oates next up and Clinton Bezuidenhout (Nural) sixth.
La Réserveé’s engine broke as it started up for race two, leaving Shorter Bezuidenhout, a most impressive VW Motorsport Driver Search winner Jonathan Mogotsi and Oates to close off the second race top six.
Julian van der Watt (RDSA Investchem) continued unbeaten for 2017 in Investchem Formula 1600 and with Stuart White racing in France this week, the dices for second entertained as a delighted Brad Benningfield (General Energy) took the spot in race one ahead of the tussling Alex Gillespie (ERP Trucking) and 14-year-old Cameron O’Connor (Repro Services).
Van der Watt made off into the distance in the second race leaving O’Connor to fend off Benningfield, Liam Pienaar, Gillespie (Phoenix Jewellers) and Schofield.
Two races for the visiting Comsol Volkswagen Challenge saw packed grids producing wild action throughout.
Devon Piazza-Musso benefited pace man Stiaan Kriel, running the first lap with his Spanjaard Polo’s handbrake up to break away and take an easy win from Kriel and Wayne Masters (Performance Masters), after Iain Pepper (Husqvarna Polo) suffered a gearbox issue to retire from third.
Nic Clarke held Adrian Wood and Kyle Ramsay (Monroe Vivo) off for the Class B win and Rory Atkinson (Pozidrive) took his regular Class C win from Shane Crous (Ancro Construction) and a delighted Chris Dale.
Kriel made no mistakes to take the second race from Pepper and Piazza-Musso, while Wood won Class B from Ramsay and Jacques Smith.
A delighted Crous turned the tables on Atkinson to take Class C with Wouter Roos third.
Jonathan du Toit (TAR Ferrari) beat Gianoccoro G&H BMW duo Gianni and Ricky to a noisy Extreme Supercars race one win but the Ferrari stopped late in race two to allow Gianni to beat Ricky Gianoccoro and Paul Hill (BMW) to the win.
Dean Vos (Kawasaki) beat Shaun Vermaak (Kawasaki) and Gavin Upton (Motion Yamaha) to Bridestone Thunderbike two- wheeled victory.
Vos also took race two from the Kawasakis of Travis Naude and Pierre Le Roux (Buffalo Service).
Graeme van Breda (IVID) and Sven Grune shared Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 Masters Cup wins with Jaco Gous (Central Propshaft) and Pieter de Vos (Jongingozi), with Van Breda and Gous filling the respective podium places.
The Extreme Festival travels to Zwartkops in Pretoria next over the June 16-17 long weekend, while motor racing returns to the East London Grand Prix Circuit when the Mopar SA Endurance Championship visits the Border a week later.