The Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series visited Zwartkops for the first time this year and despite the freezing conditions, the day was marked by action aplenty, numerous break outs and some stellar performances.
Qualifying on Saturday morning delivered some surprises. Adrian Dalton was not one of them, planting his Xtra Clothing and Shoes BMW E46 M3 CSL firmly in pole position. Behind him and leading the Class B charge Andreas Meier (#TrainedAmateurs BMW E36 STC) was next on the grid, ahead of a big field which included motoring scribe Mark Jones (SavSpeed BMW E90 335I), Jagger Robertson (Big Boss Auto/Viking BMW E46 M3) and reigning champion Nicholas van Zyl (RSR BMW E36 328i Turbo) who had broken out of the Class C ranks headed by Nek Makris (BMW E46 328i Turbo) who took pole position ahead of Renier Smith and Matthew Wadeley both in their BMW E36 M3’s. That was an indication of what was to follow in the first race.
Alan Hilligenn (C3 Shared Services BMW E36 M3) long a Class D stalwart and former champion had also joined Class C, another breakout. Varish Ganpath (Prodigy BMW E46 325ci) posted the quickest time in Hilligenn’s old stomping ground, and here too another of the Class E regulars, Manny Ribeiro (Bridgestone/BMW Car Club E46 325i Touring) had made the jump, breaking out in the qualifying session and choosing to make the step up in the yellow taxi to spar with the usual Class D protagonists Bernard de Gouveia (de Gouveia Accountants BMW E36 328i) and Shane Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox E30 325i). Sadly, the father and son duo of Craig and Nicholas Herbst could not join them for the day, after breaking the diff on the Green House Solar BMW E46 330i, in the process of setting a time. In Class E Hein van der Merwe (Stigworx BMW E36 325i Turbo) was yet another driver to break out, helped in part by fitting a turbo to his engine but he chose to take a penalty and remain in the class albeit at the back for the start. Rupert Giessing (Bridgestone/BMW Car Club BMW E36 328i) had pole position there, ahead of Nicholas Fischer (Inside Active Group BMW E36 328i) and Thomas Potgieter (Stonehill Properties BMW E87 128i). The cold weather was having a positive effect it seemed and everyone wanted to go racing.
Class A: Adrian Dalton (Xtra Clothing and Shoes BMW E46 M3 CSL)
An early afternoon start under a cloudless sky and a more agreeable temperature saw Dalton go like a bat out of hell and run off into the distance. Behind him though it was hectic. Meier led the only other Class A entrant William Einkamerer (BTAS BMW E92 335i) and try as he might, the winner of race 2 at Phakisa could not get past The German for the 10 laps that followed.
Behind the pair, Mark Jones settled into a good scrap with Jagger Robertson, but they then tangled when lapping a back marker in the latter stages which allowed Carlo Garbini (Kimbo Coffee BMW E46 330i Turbo) to pass them both and go on to post a solid fourth place finish overall across the finish line and a recovering Robertson in third. Rick Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW E30 325is) struggled with a persistent oil leak and did not feature much.
In Class C Nek Makris initially led the pack, but Renier Smith slowly reeled him in, and brought Matthew Wadeley along. The trio then fought tooth and nail to the flag in a scintillating battle, in which they were covered by the proverbial blanket, or should that be duvet?
Varish Ganpath was largely untroubled winning the Class D tussle from Shane Grobler, and new kid on the block Ribeiro. Hein van der Merwe put his turbo to good use eventually taking the Class E honours, after starting from the back, his race craft improving no end under the tutelage of motoring guru and former racer Adrian Burford (Stigworx). Mike Grobler (Grobler Motorsport BMW E36 328i) snatched second from third placed man Thomas Potgieter.
Class B: Jagger Robertson (Viking/Big Boss Auto BMW E46 M3)
Race 1 Results per Class:
1. Adrian Dalton - 01:03.149
2. William Einkamerer - 01:48.939
1. Andreas Meier - 01:06.641
2. Carlo Garbini - 01:07.293
3. Jagger Robertson - 01:07.095
1. Renier Smith - 01:10.586
2. Nek Makris - 01:10.770
3. Matthew Wadeley - 01:10.646
1. Varish Ganpath - 01:12.561
2. Shane Grobler - 01:13.747
3. Manny Ribeiro - 01:14.384
1. Hein Van Der Merwe - 01:16.151
2. Mike Grobler - 01:18.169
3. Thomas Potgieter - 01:17.354
Fastest Lap: Adrian Dalton - 01:03.149 in Lap 2
Class C: Nek Makris (BMW E46 328i Turbo)
The usual grid inversion by class for race 2 did not make much difference at the front. With only 2 cars in Class A, Adrian Dalton still lined up on the front row just adrift of Einkamerer, but he beat the pole sitter into turn 1, and in his haste to make it stick approached turn 2 way too quickly. A few heart-stopping moments later he brought his red white and yellow liveried beast under control and gingerly made his way through the gravel trap, much to the relief of this writer and the lone marshal manning the post, both standing behind the Armco barrier ready to vacate the ringside seats. A repeat performance of the morning’s race for the Xtra Clothing and Shoes man was out of the question, Einkamerer and the rest of the chasing pack long gone.
Young Jagger Robertson survived the morning’s skirmish with Mark Jones with just minor damage to his car, but the latter wasn’t so lucky and could not make start 2 with suspension damage. The teenager however took over the lead of Class B after some mid field hurly burly, in which he made contact with Oz Biagioni (BioPool Maintenance BMW E36 M3). Carlo Garbini was making good on the morning’s promise, resolutely holding off Andreas Meier.
In Class C Wadeley had turned the tables on his rivals and led Nek Makris and Lyle Ramsay (Fuchs Lubricants/Rich Racing BMW E36 330i). Renier Smith could not join the party after running into tyre problems which denied him a possible brace for the day.
Class D: Shane Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox BMW E30 325i)
In Class D Ganpath was again in control with Grobler and Ribeiro his main challengers once more. Amidst all the excitement and feverish activity unfolding it was easy to overlook Dalton’s charge through the field in which he passed everyone bar eventual winner Einkamerer because, one suspects, he ran out of laps such was his pace.
In Class B Garbini relinquished top spot to the ever-present Meier, when the two were lapping a back marker and The German took advantage to pounce and slip through. Wadeley led throughout and won Class C while Ganpath took his brace in Class D and a full haul of points which will do his overall championship aspirations no harm. He was followed over the line by Shane Grobler and Ribeiro who claimed third once again.
Nicholas Fischer was a delighted winner of Class E, no mean feat in such a competitive group. Hein van der Merwe underlined his fine performance in the morning by finishing a close second. This time round Thomas Potgieter occupied the third step on the podium.
Class E: Hein Van Der Merwe (Stigworx BMW E36 325i)
Race 2 Results per Class:
1. William Einkamerer - 01:05.646
2. Adrian Dalton - 01:04.897
1. Jagger Robertson - 01:06.731
2. Andreas Meier - 01:06.274
3. Carlo Garbini - 01:06.567
1. Matthew Wadeley - 01:09.863
2. Nek Makris - 01:09.890
3. Lyle Ramsay - 01:10.969
1. Varish Ganpath - 01:12.835
2. Shane Grobler - 01:14.353
3. Manny Ribeiro - 01:14.852
1. Nicholas Fischer - 01:16.155
2. Hein Van Der Merwe - 01:16.037
3. Thomas Potgieter - 01:16.732
Fastest Lap: Adrian Dalton - 01:04.897 in Lap 6
Driver of the Day: Matthew Wadeley (BMW E36 M3)
Matthew Wadeley was a popular winner of the Driver of the Day Award.
The action now resumes on Sunday June 20 at the Passion for Speed, a two-day feast of motorsport which was to have taken place in January at the same venue.
In the time trial events Pieter Zeelie took the overall honours with a blistering laptime of 59.8 seconds but will take small comfort from that after crashing his Zeelie Auditors Toyota MR2 heavily in his last run after the car suffered a mechanical failure. Leon Loubser was second fastest setting a new personal best of 1 minute and 2 seconds in the Bidwheels BMW E92 335i. Farhaan Bash (BMW F82 M4) completed the podium with a third fastest time of 1 minute and 5 seconds.
Time Trials: Pieter Zeelie (Zeelie Auditors Toyota MR2)
Published by: Tony Alves
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