This was the first visit of the Zwartkops-based Pabar VW Challenge at round 5 of the Killarney Power Series 2022, presented by Wingfield Motors on Saturday 9 July. It produced an epic north versus south battle. This as local Alert Engines GTi Challenge competitors used every bit of their home track advantage to secure two hard-fought wins.
In fact, the top finisher among the visitors was an ex-Capetonian and former GTi Challenger, Stiaan Kriel!
Kriel qualified second, his Design Hut T-Rex Racing Polo just 0.348sec behind the local hero and national Compcare Polo Cup series leader Jurie ‘Umpie’ Swart’s Summit Racing machine. Five of the top eight qualifiers were locals. The visitors knew they had a fight on their hands.
Swart pulled a rocket start in Race 1 to lead the field in Turn 1. With Kriel on his outside and visitors Rory Atkinson (BHIT Industrial Transport Polo) and Wayne Masters (Performance Masters Polo) and Killarney hotshot Marco Busi (Goeie Hoop Onderdele/Simtech/GAP Motorsport Polo) all over them like a rash.
Lap one ended with a bang as something let go in the undercarriage of the second Summit Racing Polo when braking at the end of the back straight. This sent Nathan Victor straight into the tyre wall, while Swart and Kriel pulled a tiny but crucial gap at the front of the field.
There was more drama on the next lap as Stelio Nousias (We Buy & Sell Cars Polo) collided with Class B pole-sitter Elna Croeser (ATE Brakes Polo) and Charisse van der Merwe (Hot 102.7 FM Radio Polo). He took both ladies out of the race, for which he was placed behind Croeser in the results.
Busi passed Atkinson on lap four and Masters a lap later, to grab third place. But he was never in a position to challenge the leaders. While Swart managed to eke out a three-second lead at the end. Atkinson and Masters, however, refused to let Busi get away as all three finished within less than half a second after a superb race-long battle.
In Croeser’s absence, Hannes Scheepers (Dainfein Dental Studio Polo) took a solid Class B win to increase his lead in the class standings. While Pierluigi Muzzulini (FSS International Polo) took his first-ever Class C victory.
Kriel grabbed the holeshot in Race 2 as Swart fluffed the start Diving into Hoal’s Hook with Busi almost alongside him and Colin Meder (International Tube Technology Polo) just ahead of Swart. However, Swart soon passed fellow Capetonian Meder and set off in pursuit of the leaders, taking Meder with him.
Soon, all four were within touching distance. Jockeying for position in every corner until they arrived at the fast double-apex Malmesbury Sweep in line abreast on lap four. Banging door handles on the way in and forcing Kriel to go farming to avoid a collision.
Swart pulled off a magnificent save, but Busi held the line and got the best of it to lead Meder, Swart, Dillon Joubert (Powder Coating World/TAC Steel/Euroblitz Polo) Bevin and Wayne Masters, Atkinson and Kriel down the back straight. Swart soon got past Meder again, however, and closed in to take the lead on lap seven.
Then Pierluigi Muzzulini suffered a terminal mechanical failure on the back straight and stopped in a cloud of smoke with two wheels still on the circuit, bringing out the red flags. The results were taken as at the end of lap six, giving the win to Busi by just 0.069sec from Swart, ahead of Meder, Joubert, the Masters, Atkinson and Kriel.
Scheepers took another Class B win, while Ian Walker (Mellow Velo Polo) headed Class C.
Eric Mouton and his gynormous Chev De Ville V8 took the early lead in the first combined Laude Classic Cars and BEJO Trustees Fine Cars race. But was soon under attack from top contenders Michael Hitchcock (Cross Cape Forklift Services Mustang) and defending champion Franco Donadio (Ford Escort Mk1). Mouton faded towards the end as Hitchcock and Donadio swopped places on almost every lap. Finishing in that order with only 1.316 seconds between them.
Gunther Appelgryn (BMW E36) led the Fine Cars race-within-a-race all the way, coming home seven seconds ahead of Coenraad Matthee (Porsche 928), followed by Natasha Tischendorff (Volkswagen Jetta CLi) and Jo-Anne Fourie (Volkswagen Golf 2 Jumbo).
Donadio was back to his accustomed position at the head of the field for most of Race 2. While Hitchcock, Eric van der Merwe (Lynx Porsche 944T) and Mouton debated second. Sadly, Mouton went out after two laps and Van der Merwe pushed the Mustang down to third and went after Donadio. It took him the whole race, but he was able to pass the Escort on the final tour to take the win by 2.335 seconds, with Hitchcock a distant third.
In Appelgryn’s absence, Matthee (Porsche 928) aced the Fine Cars, finishing well ahead of Fourie and Tischendorff.
Nian du Toit, out for the first time in the NDT Racing/Powerflow Exhausts Skyline, led every lap of the first Thermo Fires Clubmans Saloons race. He came home 1.597 seconds ahead of Joshua Dolinschek’s Industrial Abrasives BMW, with Mansoor Parker a very close third. Charl Visser, starting from pole, was right there with Du Toit at the start but went out on lap two.
He was back for Race 2, however, and got into a race-long dice with Dolinschek and Parker. After Du Toit went out on lap five Dolinschek put in three superb laps to take the win by 0.011sec (eleven-thousandths of a second!) from Parker with Visser 0.136sec further adrift.
The first South Superbikes/Superbike Challenge/Masters/600s race was shaping up for a four-way showdown. This was between Malcolm Rapson (Racebase GSX-R1000), JP Friederich (GR Tax/Johnny Fox’s Pub R1), Hilton Redelinghuys (out for the first time on the 888 Motorcycles ZX-10R) and Jacques Ackermann (Project Sixty/Barker/Stepp Durbanville ZX-10R) after Superbike Challenger Jonathan Schwerin hit the pit wall on lap four.
Schwerin walked away, but his Kawasaki ZX-10R was in pieces all over the Porsche Club Straight and the race was stopped.
Redelinghuys grabbed the lead at the restart but was mugged by Friederich three laps from the end. While Rapson sized them up and went to the front a lap later. Then, on the very last lap, Redelinghuys’ chain broke, leaving Friederich and Ackermann to follow the defending champion home.
Twenty seconds later, Matthew van Niekerk on the De Brasserie/Motorwise ZX-10R just beat Michael du Toit’s Danie Maritz Racing/Quickpos R1 for fourth overall and Superbike Challenge honours on aggregate times. While Paul Medell (Ducati Panigale) beat Jamie Hall (Master Glass Garden Route R6) for the 600 class win in sixth overall.
Race 2 started in light rain, with Rapson leading from Friederich, Redelinghuys and Ackermann. At the start of lap two Ackermann passed Redelinghuys for third under braking. But conditions were becoming treacherous, particularly at Malmesbury Sweep, the northernmost point of the circuit.
As the field swept through the fast, double-apex corner for the second time, two riders went down, followed by a third, and three more went farming to avoid the carnage. It was too dangerous to continue, so the red flags came out.
Earlier, the three Young Guns of the Bridgestone STC 650/SSP300 category – reigning champion Slade van Niekerk (Project Sixty60 ER650), Jason Linaker (RST Ninja 650) and KTM Paarl 650 rider Tristin Pienaar – fought it out for the lead in Race 1. They finished in that order within less than two seconds.
Nicholas Hutchings (HSC KTM RC390) was the first SSP300 Class rider home in seventh overall. With rookie Adrian Solomon (Pool King Ninja 300) and class doyen Mitch Robinson (Mag Workshop Ninja 390) right behind him.
Race 2 delivered by far the closest finish of the day in any category. Linaker took the early lead, only to be relegated to second, on lap two by Pienaar, and pushed down to third by the reigning champion a lap later. Van Niekerk went to the front on lap four but was unable to make any kind of a break. Pienaar and Linaker swopped places on almost every lap in their efforts to get on terms with him.
Nine nail-biting laps later they took the flag in that order, all three covered by little more than a tenth of a second!
Hutchings improved his position at the top of the SSP300 class, finishing sixth overall. With Solomon and Jarryd Butler (Project Sixty60/Ray’s Towing/Garan Brokers/Lize Hondas CBR500) second and third respectively in class after a race-long battle with Robinson and Braddon Hutchings (HSC RC390) that saw the four riders cross the line within 0.373sec.
Marcel Angel made the early running in the first combined Pirelli V8 Masters and Kaltron Formula Supercars race but dropped back a little in the second half of the race to finish third behind Sean Moore and Mark Ridgway. Nian du Toit, who seems to be able to pedal anything with wheels and an engine, led the Supercars home. Eight seconds clear of Glen Phillips.
Ridgway didn’t come out for Race 2, but Angel was back with a vengeance in Race 2. Never out of the frame and finishing second to Barry Ingle by just 0.359sec with Moore third, while Du Toit was the only Supercar not to be lapped.
Byron Mitchell (Dolphin Engineering Wheel Collision Reynard) and Dee-Jay Booysen (Dico Racing/Burner Factory Formula VW) produced their usual speed festival at the front of the Formula Libre races (Mitchell posted a 1:10.543 in the second race on a cold, damp track!). Booysen took line honours in Race 1, unchallenged after Mitchell went out while leading on lap eight. With Jason Coetzee second in the Mint Wrap works Mygale and Troy Dolinschek third in the SuJean Investments Mygale.
But the spice in the race was the fight for the Formula Vee class win, with Zane Amundsen (Repsol Lantis), Kelly Fletcher (who is improving with every outing in the Dolphin Engineering Forza) and Donovan Ramsay swopping positions on almost every lap to finally finish in that order, covered by just 1.475 seconds.
Mitchell was back for Race 2, romping away to win by more than 30 seconds from Booysen, Dolinschek and Coetzee. But Amundsen, Fletcher and Ramsay delivered the dice of the day, a superb battle that saw them finish in the same order within less than a quarter of a second.
The Spitfire Furniture Sports & GT competitors were battling for grip in the wintry conditions. But once the tyres on Francis Carruthers’ Pilbeam MP84 came up to temperature he was able to pull away from Harp Motorsport team-mate Steve Humble and his Mallock Mk14B to win Race 1 by two seconds.
Dawie Joubert, out for the first time at Killarney in a new Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, put in a superb late charge to pass the older Porsche of Gary Kieswetter on the last lap. He took third by a scant 0.343sec.
After a number of superbikes went down in the rain during their second race, Race 2 was called off due to safety concerns.