By: Colin Windell
Port Shepstone - A well-established cut-off low pressure system over the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast meant most of Friday practice and all of race day Saturday took place in rainy conditions, making for some slip-sliding action as the Historic Racing Tour made its stopover at Dezzi Raceway, Oslo Beach at the weekend.
Sadly, the driving rain did keep spectators away from seeing some glorious older cars being driven in anger – but did nothing to dull the action on the wet circuit.
Perhaps, fittingly, one of the stars of the wet was Pietermaritizburg’s Meredith Willis who revelled in the conditions to power his Hopgood Ford Escort to victory in both heats of the Roofsure Midvaal Historics category – the second shortened from 10 to eight laps for all classes because of delays experienced with cars going off track.
While Willis streaked away at the front there was no lack of intent from the immaculately prepared Mini of Rory Nossiter, who took second place in both heats, his chase after the leader also run with a watchful eye on the Escort of Mike Gaines who never stopped putting the Mini under pressure.
Another driver able to make light of the dreadful conditions was Jeffrey Kruger who won both Class B heats of the Lotus 7 Challenge, albeit chased hard by Thomas Falkiner and Raymond Lomeau.
Falkiner had a difficult weekend going off in practice on Friday and then again at exactly the same during qualifying on the Saturday morning, fortunately with no damage to car or driver other than ego. He then nearly missed the start of the first heat when his Lotus refused to fire, but managed to get going just in time to take his place on the grid.
In Class L top honours went to Davide Favo from Nicholas Hodgson and Jan du Toit.
The Legends of the 9-Hour category, which is divided into several classes, always produces entertaining racing from some classic cars that once competed in the 9-Hour race at Kyalami and, on the day, it was Jeffrey Kruger again, this time in the mighty Chevelle taking the win from the Studebaker of Stiaan Kriel in the V8 category.
In Class A, John Ten Doeschate in a GSM Dart took the honours with the Mini of Eddie Botes taking Class B honours. Class D went the way of Ishmael Baloyi (GSM Dart).
Former champion Ben Morgenrood is the driving force behind the Ben Morgenrood Group series that also comprises several classes of cars from yesteryear and top honours for the day went to Jannie van Rooyen (Class C), Gavin Lunding (Class D), Sean Hepburn (Class E), Andre Dannhauser (Class F), Harm Beens (Class G) and Hendrik van Zyl (Class H).
The Monoposto Formula M single-seater racers came to Dezzi Raceway for the time with the buzz following the opening encounter of the season at Red Star Raceway recently being who will dominate Class A.
At that event both Ken Price and Corne le Roux each won a heat and speculation suggested Le Roux might have the coastal advantage with his bigger and faster Kawasaki ZX14RR engine. On the flip side, the advantage could be with Price with the handling of his Ashley chassis on the tight circuit.
As it turned out, it was Barry Glanz who made the best of the conditions to win overall for the day from Price, Herman Krige and Corne le Roux. In Class B Jannie Gerber was quickest from Jonathan Edwards and Brian Mguni, while Class C went to Matt Price from Clive Stuart.
The motorcycle engines that power the lightweight roadster style Liqui Moly Inex Legends propel these small cars pretty rapidly and produce some hectic battles between the drivers over three races at each outing.
In the first race it was Devon Robertson who made the running and went into the lead he was to hold to the end. However, during a caution flag period he was alleged to have passed another car and given a 30-secon penalty by the Clerk-of-the-Course.
This would have dropped him to the back of the field and out of valuable championship points. Under appeal the Motorsport South Africa Steward reversed the decision and he took the top step of the podium from Jagger Robertson and Richard van Heerde.
Race two was a mirror image at the front with Devon leading the Robertson charge with Gerhard Roux taking third spot – with the third race repeating the positioning.
The results, however, do not reflect the intensity of the competition out there for those places.
The next race meeting at Dezzi Raceway will be on May 14.