Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria – Sasol Race Day dishes up great racing

An icy, windswept, slippery, but clear Zwartkops’ Sasol Race Day dished up racing of the highest order on Saturday as Sasol BMW home driver Gennaro Bonafede sneaked overall Sasol GTC victory by the tightest of margins to top a day to remember at the Pretoria raceway. In other national Extreme Festival action, rookie Keagan Masters delivered a masterful Sasol GTC2 win; Keegan Campos turned the Engen Polo Cup pecking on its head and Scott Temple played interference with Investchem Formula 1600s Road to Indy, while Charl Arangies and his Aston Martin simply played with the G&H Extreme Supercar field.

Michael Stephen and Engen Audi teammate Simon Moss made it an all-Engen Audi front row of the grid in Sasol GTC with home team Sasol BMW’s Gennaro Bonafede and Robert Wolk next up from Johan Fourie (EPS BMW) and Daniel Rowe VW Motorsport Jetta next up. Stephen made off to take the opening race as Bonafede edged Moss in a tight first dice as Michael van Rooyen (RCS BMW) came through to defeat Rowe and Fourie for third.

A dramatic second race saw Bonafede hold arch-rival Stephen and Moss off in a thrilling finish. Fourie made the best of the start to open up a lead before reverse grid specialist Rowe reeled him in, under pressure from Stephen, Bonafede and Moss. Fourie went a little wide into turn 2 on the final tour; Rowe made a move only for Rowe to go off and Fourie to slow, which allowed Bonafede, Stephen and Moss through. Wolk also sneaked fourth ahead of Rowe as Bonafede took the day by all of 0.09 seconds from Stephen, who retained his 8-point title advantage now over Bonafede with Moss a few points adrift.

GTC2 was all about Keagan Masters as he and VW Motorsport Golf GTI teammate Adrian Wood (Kyocera) closed off the front row ahead of Mini lads Bradley Liebenberg (Ferodo) and Devin Robertson (Champion). Masters turned that into a race 1 clean sweep over his teammate, with Robertson third and Charl Smalberger’s privateer Sabertek Golf GTI splitting the Minis ahead of Trevor Bland’s Universal Golf GTI. In perhaps the race of the day, Masters delivered a brilliant reverse grid performance to come from the back to take the double, exploiting his Golf’s better brakes to overcome Liebenberg and Robertson’s perhaps torquier Minis once that trio had dealt with the midfield in a most entertaining spat that saw Wood recover to fourth ahead of Bland and Smalberger, with the top 4 coming home in that order overall too.

Charl Arangies (Stradale Aston Martin) made his G&H Extreme Supercar intentions clear with pole position over Dawie Olivier (G&H Baby Beemer) and an exotic grid including TAR Ferraro F430 brothers Mark and Jonathan du Toit, Tato Carello (Daytona/McLaren SA 650GT) and Ricky Giannoccaro (G&H/Tre Cugini Lamborghini). Arangies cantered off to a distant first race victory over Olivier, Carello, Mark and Jonathan du Toit and Deon du Plessis (Class B BPT KTM) as Elwyn Steenkamp’s BMW took Class B, Faizel Coetzee (A&M BMW), Class C and Johan Hattingh (Stradale Nissan) Class D.

Olivier’s BMW did not make the start of race 2 leaving Carello to lead initially before Arangies took over to lead Carello and Mark du Toit home. G&H Transport cousins Ricky (Lamborghini) and Gianni (BMW Z4 GT3) took the Class A 1-2 as Steenkamp won Class B, Jimmy Giannoccaro (Ferrari F430) Class C and Marius Jackson (Megafibre Audi) Class D as Arangies trotted off to an easy win for the day ahead of Carello and Mark du Toit as du Plessis, Steenkamp, Jimmy Giannoccaro and Hattingh took class honours.

Keegan Campos (Campos Transport) was another driver to signal his intentions for the day with quickest in qualifying and then winning the Engen Polo Cup Superpole shootout ahead of an all-Junior Top 6 comprising twins Justin (URUP/SIKA) and Darren Oates (Payen), Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco), Jonathan Mogotsi (VW Motorsport) and Delon Thompson (MF Autobody), with Juan Gerber the best of the Masters. Justin Oates overcame Keegan Campos and brother Darren Oates to take the first race with Bezuidenhout fourth from Mogotsi, Gerber and title contenders Jeffrey Kruger and Tasmin Pepper next up ahead of Shuan La Reservee and elder brother Jason Campos.

Teammates Pepper and La Reservee then tangled on the first lap of the second race, but that did not deter Keegan Campos from taking the second race from Mogotsi, Darren Oates, Gerber, Justin Oates, Jason Campos, Benjamin Habig, Thompson, Kruger and Altan Bouw as Keegan took the day overall from Darren Oates, Mogotsi, Justin Oates, Masters winner Gerber, championship leader Kruger, Jason Campos, Habig, Thompson and Bezuidenhout.

Single seater exponent Scott Temple (Road to Race) pitched up to play interference as he split Investchem Formula 1600 Road to Indy rivals Stuart White (Fantastic Racing) and Nicholas van Weely (Magnificent Paints) on the grid, before going on to defeat White and van Weely in the opening race. Cameron O’Connor (Universal) was next up from Andrew Schofield (Investchem), Alex Gillespie (ERP Trucking), Andrew Rackstraw (Investchem/RDSA) Fantastic pair, rookie Chassen Bright and Gerald Wright and class B winner Ian Schofield (Investchem). Temple then made it a double over White, Andrew Schofield, Class B winner David Jermy (Fantastic), O’Connor and a struggling van Weely as White moved into a close title lead, with Rackstraw and Tiago Rebello (TRMS), Bright, Wright and Ian Schofield next up.

Gert van der Berg put his BP Nantes Rhema 2 on pole for pretty much a Formula Vee Race of Champions ahead of Jaco Schriks (Bean Child Coffee Rhema 2) and Alan Holm (Office Direct Vee) before powering to the race 1 win from Schriks and Holm, with veterans Symm Grobler (Rhema) and Peter Hills (Lube Fusion Rhema) next up from Ross Rugheimer. Schriks then turned the tables to beat Holm and van der Berg to a very close race 2 victory, with Lendl Jansen (Bull Security) beating old man Grobler and Hills to the flag to steal the day’s win from van der Berg and Holm.

Sven Grune kept fierce Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 Masters rival Graeme van Breda (Stefanutti Stocks) at bay in qualifying and both heats to take an easy first and tighter second race victories as the duo continued their season-long spat up front. Gareth Bezuidenhout beat Jaco Gous and Brian Bontekoning (Mayair) to third in the first race with Teddy Brooke, Sanjiv Singh and Pieter de Vos next up before Bontekoning turned the tables on Bezuidenhout and Gous in the second race with de Vos next up from Jonty Collard.

Harry Timmermann put his Lance Isaacs BMW onto Bridgestone Sub 10 Superbike pole ahead of Efstratios Yiannakis’ Gapcon Yamaha and Kyran de Lange (Bavarian BMW). Yiannakis took the first race win from Sub 10 B winner Byron Rothquel (Magmagic BMW), Timmermann and de Lange as Savannah Woodward (Industry Kawasaki) took the ladies win and Johan Nortje (Ultimate Kawasaki) Masters honours with Lance Marais (Fast Bike Yamaha) winning Bridgestone Challenge, Masters rider Lafras Fritz taking Class C and Hennie Swanepoel Industry (Yamaha) B. De Lange took race 2 from Yiannakis and Rothquel as Luca Bertolini (Kawasaki) won Sub 10 Class B and Woodward took the ladies. Michael Dixon (Westside Honda) took Challenge with Frits taking C and Tim Green (Ushaka Yamaha) Class B.

Sasol GTC and Investchem Formula 1600 will star on the Kyalami Festival of Motoring program September 1-2 while the while Extreme Festival returns to action at Killarney in Cape Town 22 September – both weekends are well worth diarising right now…