Sean Nurse stole a last-gasp win in the Volkswagen Media Challenge at Kyalami powered by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists on Sunday, when he pounced on a last corner error by Mark Jones to take the honours after a dramatic and action filled race. Caxtons Autodealer supplement editor Nurse came from behind and quickly made his way through the squabbling pack before he caught and chased The Citizen’s Jones hard through the final laps.
But Jones left the braking too late for the final turn on the final lap and skated wide to allow Nurse sneak through to take the win. Some way further behind, Bakkie & Car magazine’s Michele Lupini drove an eventful race to take third, somehow getting his silver car ahead of the hard charging Business Day’s Mark Smyth’s red Polo by the flag, with www.sacarfan.co.za’s Andrew Leopold fifth and holding off the mystery Race Driver behind. The man in black was however clearly having issues with his car which seemed to slow periodically.
The ladies, DSTV Ignition’s Lindsay Vine and www.wheels24.co.za’s Janine van der Post rounded off the finishers after The Star Motoring’s Denis Droppa retired with similar issues to that of the mystery Race Driver’s machine.
The race was run on a handicap basis, with the first few cars setting off on their own before the quicker five were despatched together and it never took too long for the trouble to start, when Denis Droppa and Michele Lupini caught Lindsay Vine quickly out of the new Crowthorne Corner at Turn 1, Lupini jinked to avoid the slower car, tagged Droppa and the two collided and swerved wildly, but continued.
That served to bunch the field and set off a very busy three laps and the field jostling wildly for position as it gradually inverted out of its reverse grid start order, with van der Post initially out front and some way clear of Jones, who held a fair gap to Leopold, Smyth, Droppa, Lupini, Nurse and ‘Race Driver’ close behind. Several wild moves later, the field had gobbled up van der Post, Droppa fell back with his car issues and Jones led the closing Nurse, Leopold, Smyth, Lupini and the struggling ‘Race Driver’ ahead of Vine and van der Post.
With two laps to go, Nurse was right on Jones’ rear bumper, while Lupini had somehow leapfrogged Smyth and Leopold, with ‘Race Driver’ struggling in close attendance. Smyth managed to pass Lupini going into the final lap, before Lupini pulled off another huge braking move to pull ahead into the Bowl, but up front here was even more drama as Jones, who had diligently staved off Nurse’s best attention, slid wide in the very last corner to allow Nurse through to steal the win from Jones and Lupini.
An appreciative crowd rose to give the duelling scribes a standing ovation on the slow-down lap and there were smiles all round as the Polos arrived back in the pits before the prize giving, group picture and the spinning of many a yarn. “I think a beer is in order!” a delighted Nurse demanded. “That was a fantastic race and seriously fun to dice with Mark Jones, Michele Lupini and the rest.”
“Sean Nurse deserved the win,” Mark Jones admitted. “I cocked it up proper in the last corner, but he was quicker and all over me – well done Sean.” Kyalami was a great meeting for Michele Lupini: “That’s not quite up to my son’s two Number One cups this weekend,” the SAGMJ Committee member responsible for motorsport, whose 16-year old son Giordano won at Kyalami over the weekend admitted. “But I will take my gong for third with great pride.
“The Volkswagen Media Challenge is another great Guild mission accomplished – not only has it delivered brilliantly in media returns so far, but the lads put on a stunning display and Sean and Mark really impressed today. “Each and all contributed to a splendid show and Volkswagen is hoping to run more races like this – bring it on!”
“It was action all the way in the Volkswagen Media Challenge powered by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists with the support of Cell C and our other sponsors,” Guild chair Bernard Hellberg concluded. “The race delivered stunning driving – congratulations to our winner Sean Nurse, Mark Jones and Michele Lupini!”
You can watch the Volkswagen Media Challenge at Kyalami powered by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists race video at https://web.facebook.com/iLEBinc/videos/1009379659170915/ and catch up on all the comments and banter at the Guild Facebook page https://web.facebook.com/SAGMJ/.
*The Volkswagen Media Challenge powered by the SAGMJ is made possible by Volkswagen South Africa building and making available eight race ready Polos, the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists, Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and Cell C, along with contingency sponsors: Volkswagen Financial Services, Volkswagen Genuine Parts, Engen, Dunlop, Sapphire Logistics, ATS Motorsport Supplies through OMP Race Wear, and Oracle Graphics.