The Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series ended a difficult season in the best possible way with two exciting races at the Red Star Raceway on Saturday 14 November. With a huge entry to pay tribute to Club Chairman Bernard de Gouveia and his committee’s unstinting efforts to cajole everyone to race, a hot day greeted the 33 strong field for an early qualifying session, before the high temperatures could adversely affect anyone.
Zimbabwean Darren Winterboer was a welcome visitor from up north in his Barons Motor Spares BMW E92 M3 and he duly put it in pole position with a blistering time of 1:57.356. BMW track day specialist Leon Loubser (bidwheels BMW E92 335i) was another popular addition to the field and he slotted into second place, with Len-Henry Gobey (Lesavert BMW E86 Z4M) lining up third, and completing the class A field. In Class B Andreas Meier (#TrainedAmeteurs BMW E36 STC) was showing his intention of retaining back to back overall titles and qualified fastest ahead of Jan Eversteyn (African Surprise BMW E46 M3) and Salvi Gualtieri (SavSpeed BMW E36 328i Turbo).
Class C was going to be a hotbed of activity with Matthew Wadeley (#BelDiePolisie BMW E36 M3), who had only just joined the ranks after breaking out of Class D, out qualifying Ian Kotwal (Retoria Motors BMW F22 235i). Alan Hilligenn (C3 Shared Services BMW E36 M3) was leading the charge in Class D with de Gouveia (De Gouveia Accountants BMW E36 328i) behind him. Youngster Nicholas van Zyl (Luxury Fragrances for Rides BMW E87 128i) had his eyes firmly on the overall championship and he was fastest in Class E.
Heat 1 started in mid-morning and Winterboer jumped into an immediate lead followed by Loubser and Gobey. In Class B Meier was leading with Gualtieri keeping Eversteyn at bay. In Class C Kotwal had got the better of Wadeley, while Hilligenn was getting in amongst them. In Class E van Zyl was doing what he needed to do and heading the brat pack, also driving amongst faster machinery. There was action aplenty, and then it all stepped up a gear. With Winterboer untroubled at the front, Meier outbraked himself at the end of the long straight and Gualtieri was through in a flash. That put the cat amongst the pigeons and hurt The German’s overall title aspirations no end.
In Class C Kotwal lost his lead with overheating issues trying his utmost best to stay ahead of Wadeley who took full advantage of the situation. In Class D Varish Ganpath (Prodigy BMW E46 325ci) was in fighting mood and with William Einkamerer (Big Boss Auto/Liqui Moly BMW E46 330i) in tow took the fight to Hilligenn for a stirring scrap all the way to the flag.
After 8 exciting laps, Winterboer won from Loubser. In Class B Salvi Gualtieri was mighty holding off a fast recovering Meier and Eversteyn, while in Class C Wadeley made the best possible debut with a win in his first race in the Class, pipping Kotwal to the post. Ganpath was equally impressive in claiming the Class D win, ahead of Einkamerer and Hilligenn.
Matriculant Nicholas van Zyl took a huge step towards the overall title with a solid win in Class E ahead of Nicholas Fischer (BMW E36 328i) and Bertie Rietveld (Bertie Rietveld Knives BMW E36 328i) in third.
Race 1 Results per Class:
- 1. Darren Winterboer - 1:58.952
- 2. Leon Loubser - 1:59.756
- 3. Len-Henry Gobey - 02:03.939
- 1. Salvi Gualtieri - 02:05.045
- 2. Andreas Meier - 02:05.362
- 3. Jan Eversteyn - 02:06.500
- 1. Matthew Wadeley - 02:08.423
- 2. Ian Kotwal - 02:08.636
- 3. Renier Smith - 02:10.043
- 1. Varish Ganpath - 02:13.086
- 2. William Einkamerer - 02:14.241
- 3. Alan Hilligenn - 02:13.121
- 1. Nicholas Van Zyl - 02:18.453
- 2. Nicholas Fischer - 02:19.213
- 3. Bertie Rietveld - 02:20.860
- Fastest Lap: Darren Winterboer - 1:58.952 in Lap 3
After escaping a midday sun start, the field rolled out again in the early afternoon albeit without some of their number after problems in heat 1. Manny Ribeiro (Bridgestone BMW E46 330i Touring) and Colin van Son (Bridgestone BMW E36 328i) were both out with engine issues, ditto Klippies Krigge (BMW E36 M3) who had reported an engine noise. Shane Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox BMW E30 330i) had experienced a persistent misfire in the first race and elected not to start.
Off they went at 14.09 and from a partially inverted grid Len-Henry Gobey jumped into an immediate lead, closely followed by Loubser and Winterboer. The latter however was soon out with gearbox/clutch issues. Carlo Garbini (Kimbo Coffee BMW E46 330i Turbo) had also had a difficult first heat with a power steering problem, which returned to put him out of proceedings early in heat 2.
Andreas Meier, predictably, was on a charge but passed a backmarker under a yellow flag for which he was penalised post event, effectively ending his overall title chase. That left Oz Biagioni (Bio Pool Maintenance BMW E46 M3) taking the Class B laurels. The morning’s winner Gualtieri retired with an overheating engine, and a similar problem soon afflicted Eversteyn who pulled in to the pits, his season over.
In Class C Rob Gearing (BMW E30 325i) briefly made hay, but Renier Smith (#BelDiePolisie BMW E36 M3) was the man to watch. Ian Kotwal was keeping an eye on engine temperatures with a recurring head gasket problem, and was slowing, just hoping to make it to the flag. Matthew Wadeley had found a fuel pressure problem of his own, and was struggling along. In Class D Hilligenn was again in the lead with William Einkamerer and Ganpath chasing him.
In Class E Craig Herbst (Greenhouse Solar BMW E46 330i) who shares his car with son Nicholas, was driving superbly to lead the Nicholas duo of Fischer and van Zyl, the latter just keeping out of trouble to get the 4 points needed to clinch the overall title. Behind this leading Class E trio, newcomer Hein van der Merwe (Stigworx BMW E36 325i), Neil Reynolds (Valve Hospital BMW E36 M3), Bertie Rietveld (Bertie Rietveld Knives BMW E36 328i) and Carlos Gameiro (Lapace Construction BMW E30 325i) were also at it hammer and tongs. As they reeled in the laps there was much to watch all down the field.
After another close fought 8 laps, Loubser took an untroubled win, followed by Gobey, Biagioni who did not put a foot wrong to claim Class B, and the charging Renier Smith who topped the Class C standings. Dino Familiaris (BMW E46 325i Turbo Touring) was equally impressive as the runner up.
Class D belonged to William Einkamerer who was ecstatic with his performance, with Hilligenn and Ganpath behind him. Varish had gone off the road but recovered to complete the podium. Craig Herbst took the class E win, ahead of Fischer and van Zyl who claimed the big prize.
The 18-year-old Edenvale High School Prefect has been a model of consistency all season, keeping a low profile in his pursuit of the title and is a deserving overall champion for 2020.
Race 2 Results per Class:
- 1. Leon Loubser - 02:01.795
- 2. Len-Henry Gobey - 02:05.474
- 1. Oz Biagioni - 02:09.498
- 2. Andreas Meier - 02:06.607
- 3. Salvi Gualtieri - 02:09.747
- 1. Renier Smith - 02:09.663
- 2. Dino Fameliaris - 02:11.249
- 3. Matthew Wadeley - 02:10.788
- 1. William Einkamerer - 02:14.676
- 2. Alan Hilligenn - 02:14.057
- 3. Varish Ganpath - 02:13.409
- 1. Craig Herbst - 02:20.885
- 2. Nicholas Fischer - 02:20.991
- 3. Nicholas Van Zyl - 02:23.613
- Fastest Lap: Leon Loubser - 02:01.795 in Lap 5
In the overall standings for the day Leon Loubser reigned supreme in Class A while Andreas Meier accumulated the most points to occupy the top step of the Class B podium. His superb performance the weekend secured the overall Class C win for Matthew Wadeley. Equally impressive performance did the same for William Einkamerer in Class D. For his consistency and race 1 win, Nicholas van Zyl was rewarded the overall win in Class E.
William Einkamerer took the coveted Driver of the Day Award and his pleasure in the achievement was a sight to behold.
After the final points tally the top 5 overall finishers in this year’s championship are Nicholas van Zyl on 88 points reigning supreme, Andreas Meier only 4 points adrift in the second spot at 84 points and Varish Ganpath in third on 76 points. Ian Kotwal finished in fourth on 69 points whilst Jan Eversteyn finished in fifth but one point adrift on 68 points.
By any measure this year has been extremely difficult for motorsport and the Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series has not been exempt from the many resultant challenges. It is a tribute to everyone who has competed and organized that they were able to see out the season with such success. With the number of participants set to grow in the new year, roll on 2021.
The opening round of the 2021 season is set to take place during the annual Passion for Speed event set to take place at the end of January at the popular Zwartkops Raceway.
Championship Top 3 per Class:
- 1. Rick Loureiro - 50
- 2. Len-Henry Gobey - 24
- 3. Sav Gualtieri - 18
- 1. Andreas Meier - 84
- 2. Jan Eversteyn - 68
- 3. Oz Biagioni - 58
- 1. Ian Kotwal - 69
- 2. Troy Cochran - 59
- 3. Matthew Wadeley - 56.5
- 1. Varish Ganpath - 76
- 2. William Einkamerer - 44
- 3. Alan Hilligenn - 39
- 1. Nicholas Van Zyl - 88
- 2. Nicholas Fischer - 49
- 3. Manny Ribeiro - 46
Published by: Tony Alves
Photography by: Racepics.co.za
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