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Blaze of glory at Dezzi Raceway

Published Mar 7, 2022

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By: Colin Windell

Port Shepstone - In a show of power riding, Blaze Baker aboard his Optimech Kawasaki ZX400 absolutely blitzed all opposition at the opening round of the KZN Roadracing Club season at Dezzi Raceway, Oslo Beach at the weekend.

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He won both heats of the 300 Class as well as both heats of the Formula Extreme category and it is not a stretch to imagine his fellow competitors banding together to contribute to his fund-raiser to get him overseas to take up a ride on offer there.

Certainly, the young rider fully deserves and warrants an opportunity to hone his craft overseas and follow in the footsteps of other great KZN riders such as Kork Ballington, Alan North and Pete Ekerold or South Africans currently competing, namely the Binder brothers and Matthew Scholz among them.

In the opening race of the 300 Class, run in mildly damp conditions, Baker powered away from the line and rapidly built up an unassailable gap over the rest of the field, where an entertaining scrap was developing between Peter St John Ward (Durban West Auto Kawasaki Ninja 400), Kyle Roberson (Brink Towbars Yamaha R3) and Duncan Day (Yamaha 450).

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After 10 laps of heated debate, they finished in that order behind Baker who then went on to repeats the performance, crossing the line more than 4 seconds ahead of Day in the second encounter. This time, however, Shawn du Preez (KTM RC390) muscled his way up and into third place with Neo Pillay fourth.

Using the same 400 cc machine he rode in the 300 Class, Baker took on the more potent superbikes in Formula Extreme and dominated that as well, winning the first heat by three seconds from Calvin da Silva astride the Eis Triumph Daytona 675 and Stephen Puren (Kawasaki ZX600).

Sadly, this class has dwindled in numbers and race two, although a repeat for Baker, Da Silva and Puren saw them as the only finishers.

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On four wheels, any cobwebs left over from the off season were very rapidly blown away in the Modified category where some spirited racing saw Kyle Purchase in the impeccably turned out Boostech VW Golf take line honours in the first heat.

Kyle Purchase

After swopping places a few times, it was Tim Kinsey in the Easy Systems VW Golf who crossed the line in second place ahead of Keegan Sansom (R&M Plant Hire VW Golf) and Ronald van Rensburg (Hendok Goldwagen VW Golf).

An early contender in this battle, Rob Prece in the Dubcorp VW Golf saw a good third place vanish on the last lap when the car developed an engine niggle.

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In the second – and equally intense – race it was Sansom who emerged victorious by just one second over Van Rensburg and Purchase with Prece coming back strongly to finish fourth. Just past the midway point Kinsey was forced to retire from the fight when his Golf cried enough.

With the opening round of the national Endurance Series not far off, Tony Martin’s Backdraft Racing had a number of its Lexus V8 Roadsters at the circuit with some new drivers getting seat time in the potent beasts.

Running in the Sports and GT category, Mike McLoughlin made no mistakes across both heats to give his new racer a good workout ahead of the season. He won both encounters, taking the first from Raymond Loumeau (Birkin 7), Colin Ellison (Backdraft Roadster) and John Oliver (MegaPile Birkin Lotus 7).

Meredith Willis, who normally campaigns the rapid Hopgood Ford Escort in the Retro class had not planned on racing but was offered a drive in one of the Backdraft Roadsters, saying: “I had huge fun out there. These cars are so different to my Escort.”

Another interesting entry in the field was the Piet Bredenhann Chevron – driven by none other than Tony Martin, reuniting a race pairing that goes back more than 40 years.

Unfortunately, engine issues meant he never really got into the heart of the battle, finishing ninth in the first heat and unable to start the second.

McLoughlin dominated the second race to finish a couple of seconds ahead of David Rabie in his fire-breathing Hayabusa-engine space frame with Loumeau third ahead of Ellison and another newcomer to the Backdraft clan, Peter Blofeld in fifth place.

The 150 Class motorcycles saw the welcome return after a long injury lay-off for Jesse Conci on the Helluvafast Motors CBR150.

However, it was Zane Davidson (Husqvarna 85) who made the running in the heat to finish first and ahead of Conci with Felix Kroeber in third spot ahead of Sven Christensen on the Paarl Brewery Honda fourth.

In the second race Conci turned it all around to dash into the lead and cross the line a second to the better from Davidson, Kroeber and Christensen.

Darryl Mann in the Aero Natal Datsun 1800 took line honours in both heats for Historic cars, finishing ahead of an intense battle between Mike Gains (Ford Escort) and David Hoal (Ford Escort) for second and third place – the former taking second in the first race and having to concede to Hoal in the second.

All-in-all a great day’s racing with the circuit now closed for a month to accommodate actor Tom Cruise and the crew filming the next Mission Impossible saga.

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