A transmission failure brought Pesty Racing’s hope of a career-best championship result and Cape 9 Hour podium to an end this past weekend (December 9-11) at Killarney International Raceway.
Leading into the weekend, regular driver Barend Pretorius had to withdraw due to academic commitments that he would not be able to meet otherwise. To assist Harm Pretorius and Eduan Bester in their bid to retain second place on the points table, George Smalberger, a seasoned campaigner in both rallies and circuit racing, was drafted in as the team’s third driver. After Pretorius and Bester already participated in Thursday’s practice sessions, Smalberger was only able to make it to the circuit on Friday morning to have his maiden outing in a Backdraft Roadster. With Pretorius again scheduled to start Saturday’s race, he took up the Qualifying duties and set the seventh-fastest Class E time.
Saturday morning saw another change to the strategy and driver line-up, this time with Smalberger’s departure. An early morning emergency back home saw him having to withdraw from the event.
Starting near the back of the combined grid, Pretorius gradually made his way through the field to third place at the end of his stint. Bester retained this position as the field settled down after the first round of pit stops. But just before the three-and-a-half-hour mark, the Backdraft Roadster’s transmission failed to result in the team’s retirement.
Relegated to the back of the pit area, this left the team’s hopes of retaining second place on the points table at the mercy of the result for their competitors in the double-points scoring race. Wright Motorsport and Di Matteo Racing both recorded results that saw them surpass Pesty Racing’s trio. This saw the team matching their 2020 result of fourth place at the end of the season.
“This weekend and the build-up to it was hardly ideal but we live to fight another day” said Harm Pretorius. “When the transmission failed, we had an option to replace the unit but being severely down on staff this weekend, it would not have been an easy task to complete without losing a substantial amount of time. We would always have been at risk of not being classified as we would have had to push hard to complete the minimum race distance. We can only learn from this and improve for 2022. Thank you to everyone who made this season possible, we will be back stronger.”
Published by: Reynard Gelderblom
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