Zwartkops Raceway’s 2018 race season came to a stylish close on Saturday when the Grand Finale meeting delivered a most entertaining day of on-track action to an enthusiastic crowd in sizzling hot conditions.
Charl Arangies had already wrapped up the G&H Transport Extreme Supercars title last time out, but he soon set tongues wagging in qualifying already, as he drove his Stradale Aston Martin Vantage V12 to a stunning 59.3 second pole position lap in ahead of Tato Carello’s McLaren SA 650 GT and Simon Murray’s Stradale Lamborghini Gallardo.
Arangies duly made off to the first race win from Murray and Jonathan du Toit’s Lamborghinis, with Carello third from Class B winner Terry Wilford’s Trinity Lamborghini. Ricky Giannoccaro took Class A in his G & H Lamborghini, Deon du Plessis (BPT KTM) Class C and Roy Obery (Haval Porsche) Class D. Safety car periods made it a bit closer than Arangies would maybe have liked as he once again led Murray, du Toit and Rui Campos' Campos BMW M3 home to race 2 victory as Franco di Matteo (Deltec Alfa GT) took Class A, Nicky Dicks (Porsche) Class B and du Plessis and Obery repeated their Class C and D.
Another super quick class, the SAMCAR V8s saw Thomas Reib (Cafe 9 Lumina) on pole ahead of Terry Wilford's Fuchs Falcon and Franco Di Matteo (Deltec Jaguar), but it was Wilford who made it to the race 1 flag first from Reib, di Matteo, Mackie Adlem (Jaguar), Izak Spies (LSP Lumina) and JP Nortje (N4 Corvette). It was all change in race 2 as Adlem led Nortje, Reib, Wilford, Spies and Antonie Marx (XADO Jaguar) home, as 2018 champion Adlem also took the day from Wilford and Reib.
There was high drama in the Motor Mart VW Challenge as title contenders Stiaan Kriel (Pozi Drive Polo) and Rory Atkinson (BHIT Polo) qualified first and second, but Kriel was demoted to fourth for setting his pole lap under a red flag. Kriel fought back to second behind Atkinson in the opening heat, only to be penalised 7 seconds for passing under yellow flags to leave Atkinson to a comfortable win from Bevan Masters and Lyle Ramsay, with Kriel fourth, while Jody Robertson (JRT Polo) took Class B from Deon Holliday Snr and Stuart Mack, and Farhaan Basha took Class C.
Kriel duly won the second race, but it was not enough to prevent Atkinson from following him home to clinch the tile, with Bevin and Wayne Masters and Lyle Ramsay next up. Robertson beat Deon Hollidays Junior and Senior to Class B as Basha took Class C again.
The Bridgestone Thunderbikes and Sub-10 Superbikes were the top bike race on the day as Nicolas Grobler (Golden Mile Yamaha) put it on pole from newly crowned champion Lance Isaacs (Supabets BMW) and Shaun Vermaak (Industry Kawasaki), with those three coming home in that order in race 1 from Class C Pierre Grobler (Kawasaki), Damion Purificati (Amalgum BMW) and Class B winner Marnus van der Merwe (Jassies Kawasaki). Marius Koekemoer (Sherq Ducati) took Sub-10 honours as Johan Nortje (Ultimate Kawasaki) Masters and Landi Sinden (Milwaukee Yamaha) Ladies honours. Grobler beat Isaacs and Daryn Upton (Hitecsure Yamaha) to race 2 from Purificati and Vermaak, Adan Barnard won Sub-10, Wayne Spicer Masters and Sinden Ladies.
The SA Hankook Formula Vee championship came to a head with Lushen Ramchander (TRA Forza) on pole position from Symm Grobler (Rhema) and Gert van den Berg (BP Nantes Rhema), but van den Berg turned the tables to win the first race from Jaco Schriks (Bean Child Rhema) and Grobler within a second at the flag ahead of Lendl Jansen, Peter Hills and Ross Rugheimer. The second race saw five cars cross the finish line within a second as Grobler beat Schriks, Ramchander, van den Berg and Hills to crown Shricks champion from van den Berg and Ramchander.
Jonathan du Toit planted his TAR Civic on autObarn SuperHatch pole position from Brett Garland (autObarn Civic) and Tyler Scott (Jestik Kadett) before du Toit and Garland delivered a great scrap at the front if Class A. Karel Stols was (PTA Noord Etios) next up from Nic Martin (Rex Kadett) as Louis Scholtz (Civic) took Class B with Class C going to Robert Stoltz (Jestk Kadett) Class C as Michael Allers Nathan’s VW Polo took invitational honours. Du Toit went on to do the double over Garland and Martin with Class B winner Wouter Roos (Nathan's Polo), Scholtz and VW development driver Raais Asmal's Polo next up, as Almero van Eck (Monster Polo) took Class C and Wesley Rautenbach Nathan's Polo took the invitational win.
Wayne Crous put his Ancro Polo onto pole position for the Car Care Clinic 111 Sports & Saloons ahead of title contender Wouter Roos' Nathan's Golf, Gerhard Henning (allmotospares.co.za Polo) and Roos’ title rival George Bezuidenhout (Accolade Primera) took the opening win after a great dice with Crous. Bezuidenhout held Adrian Dalton’s Xtra Golft off for third after Roos hit trouble. The classes saw Clive Smith (Porsche 924) take B, Reno van Heerden (Monster Polo) C, Ishmael Baloyi (TAR Civic) D and Marius Lotz (Golf) E. Crous beat Henning and class champion Bezuidenhout to the second win as Wayne Lebotschy (Shield Golf) took Class B, Jaco Nel (Polo) C, Baloyi D and Mark Gregory (Creative Golf) E.
Nigel Brandt put his Kawasaki on Bridgestone Challenge bikes pole position from Lafras Fritz (Kawasaki) and Michael Dixon (Honda), but it was Christopher Kretzen (Kawasaki) who edged Brandt to the win with Naasief Wadvalla (Kawasaki) next up from Class B and Masters winner Fritz, Harry van As (Honda) and SUB10 winner Henk Schuiling (Kawasaki), while Morongoa Mahope took Ladies honours on her Kawasaki. Champion Kretzen took an easier second race win over Fritz, Schuiling, Hennie Swanepoel (Yamaha) and Wadvalla, while Mahope took Ladies honours again.
And so, Zwartkops’ 2018 race season came to a close. It all starts again, as always when the annual Passion for Speed classic internationals fire up the 2019 race season as always over the 2-3 February weekend — better diarise that one right now!