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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Windswept Thrills: Killarney’s Extreme Racing Festival Ignites Season

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Killarney’s traditional season-opening National Championship Extreme Festival lived up to every expectation with brilliant motorsport racing on a blustery autumn day.


After qualifying his Lamborghini Huracán on pole from Jonathan du Toit’s similar car and local hero Dayne Angel’s Ferrari 488, Bloemfontein-born international GT3 racer Stuart White pulverised the Extreme Supercars Driven By Dunlop field in their first race, while Franco Scribante’s Porsche 997 ‘The General’ got the best of a four-way battle for second with Du Toit, Arnold Neveling’s Audi R8 GT3, Angel and Xolile Letlaka, also in a Huracán.


Scribante took no prisoners to edge White in Race 2, ahead of Du Toit, Silvio Scribante’s Huracán and Neveling – and then won again from White, Neveling, Du Toit and Silvio Scribante in Race 3.


Robert Wolk and his BMW kicked off the new SA Touring Cars era in style with an ultimately comfortable win from Nathi Msimanga’s Toyota, Julian van der Watt’s Golf and Anthony Pretorius’ Corolla after Toyota team-mates Saood Variawa and Michael van Rooyen collided collide in Sarel’s Sweep.


That put them on the front row of the reverse grid for Race 2 – and that’s where they stayed as Variawa went ahead of Van Rooyen late in the race to take the win, while Wolk only just ran out of time to catch them, with Van der Watt fourth.


Behind them, Polo Cup champion Charl Visser started his prize Volkswagen Motorsport SupaCup career in style as he held Keegan Campos at bay for a debut SupaCup victory. Jonathan Mogotsi was third from Tate Bishop, David Franco, and former Polo Cup champion Brad Liebenberg’s new Toyota SupaStarlet.


Mogotsi reversed the order to lead Campos home in a tight second race with Visser fourth from Liebenberg.


With all the previous years’ top contenders having moved on, none of the drivers in the first Astron Energy Polo Cup race had ever won a Polo Cup race before.


In the event it was local driver Nathan Victor who took the honours in Race 1 by just 0.181sec from Jason Loosemore after a race-long battle, while Mo Karodia held off Charl Visser’s younger brother Kyle for a hard-earned third in the latter’s Polo Cup debut, ahead of Ethan Coetzee and Jeandre Marais. John Kruger came from the back of the over-50 Masters grid to beat Wayne Masters for Class honours.


Loosemore then shaded Victor to a photo finish in an intense Race 2, run in two parts after a red flag on lap six. The winning margin was less than a second after a five-lap sprint to the flag that saw them change places on almost every lap, with Karodia, Coetzee, Visser and Marais in hot pursuit.


Kruger did the Masters double from Masters and Derick Smalberger.


Former SA Superbike champion Clinton Seller dominated the opening SunBet ZX10 Masters superbike race from international star Allan-Jon Venter, who only just held off a fast-starting Trevor Westman to take second by a scant 0.171sec. David Enticott took fourth from Hein McMahon after a race-long dice, ahead of Class B winner Graeme van Breda, while Johan Le Roux took Class C.


Seller quickly overcame a slow start, Westman, Venter and the gale force wind to destroy his Race 2 opposition, while Westman ended a close second from Venter this time, with McMahon fourth from Class C 1-2 Jayson Lamb and Brian Bontekoning and B winner Piers Canute after Van Breda took a huge tumble in Fastron corner, which he was lucky to walk away from unhurt.


Durban lad Shrien Naidoo stormed to his maiden Investchem Formula 1600 victory from KC Ensor-Smith and Jason Coetzee. Nicholas van Weely topped the four-way dogfight for fourth from Alex Vos, a resurgent rookie pole man Jagger Robertson and Ewan Holtzhausen. Behind them, Duncan Vos led Rick Morris, Ron van Weely, and Allen Meyer to win Formula Ford Kent after Ian Scofield retired from the lead.


A feisty Coetzee then led a four-car train throughout Race 2 to take the win from Robertson, Naidoo, Ensor-Smith and local lad Storm Lanfear. Ian Schofield took the second Kent race from Vos and Morris.


Shrien’s brother Dhivyen Naidoo won a close opening Volkswagen Rookie Cup race from former karting rivals Jayden Goosen and Judd Berthold, Uzair Khan and Josh Moore – only for Berthold to be demoted to fifth behind Khan and Moore for jumping the start. Naidoo concluded his grand slam with a Race 2 win from Bertholdt, Goosen and Moore.


Polo Cup refugee Dawie van der Merwe took no prisoners as he stormed to a debut Gazoo Racing Toyota GR86 Cup win from karting graduate Niko Zafiris, Setshaba Mashigo and Dylan Pragji. Sean Nurse meanwhile thrashed his journalist buddies in the GR Corolla Media Cup, where Hannes Visser ended a distant second. Van der Merwe repeated his dominance in Race 2 from Mashigo, Zafiris and Ryan Naicker this time, while Nurse once again decimated Visser and the rest of the media.


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