Johannesburg - This past weekend saw four South African drivers competing in the Spa 24 Hour GT3 race, which turned out to be a gruelling, red-flag affected event that was stopped for several hours due to pouring rain.
And it proved a tough nut for the SA drivers. Former Nurburgring 24 winner Kelvin van der Linde was best placed in 30th overall in an Audi R8, while GT3 rookie Gennaro Bonafede’s BMW came home 46th. Jordan Pepper’s Bentley stopped painfully close to the finish and David Perel’s Ferrari also retired. On two wheels, Bjorn Estment’s Suzuki retired from the Suzuka 8 hours in Japan after 40 laps.
The local racing scene served up some serious action, however, with two former champions and a MotoGP star coming back to show the rest how it is done at Zwartkops’ fifth round Extreme Festival national circuit championship races in Pretoria on Saturday.
2017 Investchem Formula 1600 champion Julian van der Watt made a dominant return to the wings and slicks single seater series when he held off championship leader Scott Temple to win both races, with Nicholas van Weely and Andrew Schofield fourth and fifth both times as Ivana Cetinich took Class B. Temple now has one hand on the title but second is now up for the taking with even van der Watt capable of stealing it from van Weely.
2017 champion Devin Robertson likewise made a victorious return to the Falken Polo Cup with an opening race win over Bradley Liebenberg, Keegan Campos, Dario Busi and Jason Campos, before new championship leader Liebenberg turned the tables on overall winner Robertson, Campos, Chris Shorter, Jeffrey Kruger, Matt Shorter and Jason Campos in the second heat.
It was a similar scenario on two wheels, as Moto 2 grand prix rider Steven Odendaal returned home to ride his Yamaha to a double 1000cc SA Superbike wins as Lance Isaacs (BMW) and Clinton Seller (Yamaha) shared the seconds and thirds. Yamaha trio Blaze Baker, Kewyn Snyman and Dino Iozzo meanwhile emerged the top three in both 600cc rounds.
Simon Moss took the opening GTC race for Audi ahead of Keagan Masters (Volkswagen) and Johan Fourie (BMW) but it was all change in the reverse grid second race as Robert Wolk took his BMW to victory over Michael van Rooyen (Toyota) and Fourie. Charl Smalberger led works duo Bradley Liebenberg and Adrian Wood home to a GTC2 VW Golf GTi 1-2-3, before Paul Hill (Golf GTi) took a welcome second race win from Smalberger and Mandla Mdakane (Mini).