Killarney Power Series, 1 July 2017
The pit lane pundits are claiming round five of the Power Series sponsored by Wingfield Motors, with media support from Radio KFM, was the best of the year so far. Well if that was the case, the Independence Day meeting on July 1, promises to be even better.
Why? Well, it started with the recent Crossley and Webb Sport & GT events at the beginning of the month. Despite fewer entries than usual, their high- speed fireworks more than compensated for any empty spaces on the grid.
Recent winner Johan Engelbrecht in his Porsche GT2-R, was up against Dawie Joubert’s Lotus Exige turbo and a new Ferrari 458 in the hands of former SA Superkart champion and multiple Masters V8 titleholder, Marcel Angel.
That was an exciting line-up on paper – and even better on the track. Despite giving his all, Engelbrecht had to settle for third as the other two tore into one another ahead of him. Eventually it was the Ferrari that took the flag in the first race, with the Lotus occupying Victory Lane in the second. And although they swapped places, they always circulated as though he joined by a hidden umbilical cord.
This time, while concentrating on each other, they will also have to remember there’s a joker in the pack in the form of ex-champion Francis Carruthers in a new 7-litre Aquila V8.
Then there’s a new element in the Midas Clubman Saloon category that has been dominated by perennial winner Danie van Niekerk (BMW 325), in recent times. Because on Saturday the aggressive Brett Roach is due to make his Clubman debut in a similar Beemer. Now Roach is extremely quick and has a reputation for not taking prisoners. And although he claims his car is not going to be competitive, it will come as no great surprise if Van Niekerk gets pinned behind the eight ball.
In the Masters V8 category, championship leader Fabio Tafani had a rare bad one in round five. But although he’ll be loaded for bear this time, drivers like Mark Ridgway and Marcel Angel (that man again), have shown that he can be beaten.
The one-make Makita Formula Supercars are the Masters little brothers. But although smaller and not quite as quick, these guys are evenly matched and trying so hard, they’ve become a five star attraction of their own.
Settling on a winner is nigh impossible, especially as – given the recent weather — anyone going off-road may need the NSRI to help them out. But if you hedge your bets and pick either Ryan McCarthy, Jarryd Evans, Michael Nel, Andrew Moffitt or Glen Phillips, you can’t be too far out.
One of the advantages of the Bold Marine GTi Challenge is that you have three genuine races in one. But as the major attraction is always about the guys in front, Jano van der Westhuizen is going to be everyone’s target, with Jurie Swart or Shane du Toit probably among those most likely to bring him down.
Single seaters are going to feature in the Formula Libre events on the track, as well on the lawn outside the clubhouse, where the new pedal go-karts that the club has acquired for all the kortbroeke, are going to be circulating.
There will also be a string of other events for cars and motorcycles, with action from early morning until dusk. And seeing it’s mid-winter, the possibility of a wet track could make it even more exciting.
So, don’t be deterred by the weather, pull on your wets, grab a brollie and take advantage of all the new spectator vantage points around the circuit. There’s even a shuttle to transport you – and free of charge nogal.
With the first race due off at 10.00, admission is R70 for adults and R20 for scholars under 16. There is no charge for kiddies under 12. There will be collection points at the gates for anyone bringing surplus clothing and non-perishable food, that can be donated to a chosen charity.
Never mind how cold the wind may be, Round 6 of the Mike Hopkins Motorcycles regional series, this weekend at Killarney, is set to deliver red-hot racing.
Leading the charge for Superbike honours will be three-times former regional champion Ronald Slamet on the IS Freight R1 – although after the drama at the previous meeting it’s unlikely he’ll be using the Yamaha’s launch control function! – with on-form Trevor Westman and the Mad Mac’s ZX-10R in hot pursuit. Also up front and hungry to get on terms with the top riders will be Gerrit Visser on the Samurai R1 and rising star Dale Field (Field Cupboards ZX-10R).
As we went to print there was as yet no entry from Slamet’s arch-rival, David McFadden (Sandton Auto S1000RR), but the former SA Supersport champion is known for ‘getting up on the right side of the bed’ on a race day, putting in a late entry and completely upsetting the form book – which qualifies him as the darkest of dark horses.
The outlook in the hotly-contested 600 Challenge is even more volatile. With multiple title-holder Hayden Jonas riding full-time for the MiWay team in the national Super600 team, defending champion Warren Guantario will be a target for up and coming young riders such as Gareth Gehlig (RPM ZX-6R) and Shawn Payne (Slamet ZX-6R) as well as the more experienced father and son ASAP World team of Karl and Jared Schultz, and Motorwise 675 Daytona rider David Enticott.
JP Friederich must start as clear favourite, however, for Powersport honours, after dominating the class last time out on the Calberg SV650, with Chris Williams aboard the Trac Mac ER650 and veteran Paul Medell’s similar Kawasaki to keep him honest, and rookie Max Mandix, also Kawasaki ER650-mounted, to add spice to the mix.
Class B is no longer entirely populated by KTM RC390s, however, with new entries from short- circuit stalwart Grant Raeside and ASAP World’s Jared Schultz, each on a Kawasaki ZX300 twin, and Andrew Liebenberg on a Honda CBR500R single. They’ll have to pedal, however, if they want to stay with the class of the class, Samurai Racing’s Sam Lochoff and privateer Gareth Dawson, each RC390-mounted.
The rejuvenated Clubman class is not only providing some sparkling racing, it’s also proving to be a fine training ground for up and coming Superbike racers such as William Binedell on the Dog Box GSX-R600 and Johan Maritz on the Team Bakgat CBR1000RR.
So it’s ironic that the man to watch out for is born-again racer Gareth Kenward, back after a 13 year absence and kicking butt on a privately entered Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Whatever the outcome, it’s going to fascinating to watch.