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Spring arrived with rain and cold, but Saturday 9 September 2023, the 252nd day of the year, saw the Extreme Festival in good form at the Killarney International Raceway despite the inclement conditions. With just 113 days remaining for the year, summer seemed to be in no haste. The latest fuel price certainly not conducive to increased spectator attendance at R23.82 per liter.

Gazoo Racing SA Cup 2×8 Laps
The Toyota 86 (Subaru BRZ) sports a 53% front and 43% rear weight distribution and the normally aspirated flat four engine sits low in front, driving the rear wheels through a six speed transmission and limited slip differential with 147kW and 205Nm on tap in standard form from the 2.0 boxer at 6400rpm. It is simply begging to go racing.

The GR Yaris raises the blood pressure even more with the Gazoo Racing developed 1600c three-cylinder engine producing 200kW and 370Nm through a six speed transmission and permanent four wheel drive. Standard it is said to be good for 0-100km/h acceleration in 5.2 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 230km/h. It smells like the WRC.

7 GT86 and 6 GR Yaris entries arrived at Killarney and given the argument that a standard car is no longer truly standard once the factory mechanics had trimmed them into race specification any one of these machines had the potential to impress.

Bucketlist Racing stuck talented youngsters in the GT86 whilst Toyota Gazoo Racing relied on media members to fly the GR Yaris flag in a series now known as the Gazoo Racing Cup.
Gazoo Racing have certainly staked their claim in endurance racing, rally raid and of course the ultimate motorsport championship, the world rally championship. Hopefully they will soon add the GR Corolla to further enhance the local series.

On track Sa’aad Variawa dominated qualifying to claim pole on 1min23.843 in the 5 Hallspeed Toyota GR Yaris with Nikki Vostanis second on 1min24.406 in the Incedendo Toyota GR Yaris. Setshaba Mashigo claimed pole on 1min26.338 in the Bucketlist Toyota 86 category with Brendon Staniforth second fastest on 1min26.759.

Heat one was an easy victory for Sa’aad Variawa in the GR Yaris from Nikki Vostanis with Karah Hill (41 Promig Yaris) third, Ryan Naicker (77 Crawford International) fourth, Björn Bertholdt (47 Renergen Future Energy) fifth and Taariq Adam (9 Genisus sim2real) sixth.

Setshabe Mashigo (777 ASAMM) took the 86 honours from Brendon Staniforth (3 Maroela Media), Chad Luckhoff (81 AutoTrader), Dennis Droppa (TimesLive), Riaan Esterhuysen (555 XPT Turbochargers) and Andrew Kirby 25 CEO Toyota).

Heat two once again saw Variawa vanish at the front with Vostanis second, Hill third, Naicker fourth, Adam fifth and Bertholdt sixth. The 86 order Mashigo from Luckhoff, Staniforth, Esterhuyzen, Droppa and Kirby.

Overall the Toyota GR Yaris order was Sa’aad Variawa from Nikki Vostanis, Karah Hill, Ryan Naicker, Taariq Adam and Björn Bertholdt whilst the Toyota 86 rder had Setshaba Mashigo ahead of Chad Luckhoff, Brendon Staniforth, Riaan Esterhuysen, Dennis Droppa and Andrew Kirby.

Sweetening the Gazoo Toyota Racing day was the fact that Kalle Rovanpera and Jonne Halttunen would go on to dominate the World Rally Championship in the EKO Rally Acropolis Greece with their Toyota GR Yaris Rally 1 and lead teammates Elvyn Evans and Scott Martin home for a fine Toyota one-two.

Compcare Polo Cup 2x10Laps 1x12Laps
Nothing is simple in this series where results can change from the startline as the similar spec Polo racers tend to head for exactly the same spot on the circuit at exactly the same moment. With most on first name terms with the Clerk of the Course the odd dent and missing mirror is considered par for the course. Watch the team managers grow older when they head for Hoals from the start and the intensity of these races become apparent before they reach Castrol (that is those who do reach Turn 2 without incident).
Dawie van der Merwe claimed pole on 1min25.394 in his 30 Nathan’s Motorsport VW Polo GTi and he shared the front row with Anthony Pretorius on 1min25.456 in his 60 Bucketlist Racing VW Polo GTi.

Dawie van der Merwe claiming Heat 1 after a neat drive from Nathan Victor (71 Summit Racing VW Polo GTi) , Farhaan Basha (97 QV Motorsport VW Polo GTi), Anthony Pretorius, Charl Visser (33 Universal Motorsport VW Polo GTi) and Jason Loosemore (15 Security Fencing & Alarms VW Polo GTi).

Heat two saw Athony Pretorius lead the pack home from Charl Visser, Farhaan Basha, Jason Loosemore, Dawie van der Merwe and Giordano Lupini (16 VW Polo GTi).

The 12 lap final heat had Dawie van der Merwe heading Charl Visser, Farhaan Basha, Nathan Victor, Giordano Lupini and Bryce Pillay (73 Design Lab VW Polo GTi).

Overall the result read Dawie van der Merwe, Charl Visser, Farhaan Basha, Anthony Pretorius, Jason Loosemore and Giordano Lupini.

Investchem Formula 1600 2×10 Laps
Those old enough will remember the massive fields of Formula Ford single seaters that had a youngster by the name of Jody Scheckter head for Europe to become the only South African F1 Champion of the World for Scuderia Ferrari.

With only twelve entries the field may have been small but closer racing can only be found in karting as these very impressive cars dual for the South African Championship. Troy Dolinschek starting the day requiring only a second and third spot in the two heats to become the 2023 champion in his Sujean Property / Investchem Mygale F1600. The Dolinschek family need no introduction at Killarney and that orange VW Passat 1600 leads to many memories of great racing.

Troy Dolinschek making his intentions clear with pole position on1min14.910 in his 17 SuJean Properties Mygale leading the small field of just eleven starters. As expected the youngster also leading the field home in the first heat with Gerard Geldenhuys (19 Abacus Divisions Racing Mygale) second and Jason Coetzee (77 Mint Wrapworks Mygale) third. Nicholas van Weely (87 Magnificent Paints & Hardware Mygale) fourth, Andrew Schofield (8 Investchem Mygale) fifth and Alex Vos (5 Investchem Mygale) sixth.

Heat two saw Troy not only claim the chequered flag but also the 2023 South African Championship with Jason Coetzee second, Alex Vos third, Andrew Schofield fourth, Siyabonga Mankonkwana (74 Investchem Mygale) fifth and Antwan Geldenhuys (7 Abacus Divisions Racing Mygale) sixth.

Overall order was Troy Dolinschek from Jason Coetzee, Andrew Schofield, Alex Vos, Siyabonga Mankonkwana and KC Ensor-Smith (68 Vitro Frameless Mygale).

G&H Transport Extreme Super Cars and GT3 2×10 Laps 1×12 Laps
In all honesty there can be little doubt that these very desirable cars have become firm favourites with South African spectators. The unlimited category led by local favourite Franco Scribante in the 25A+ General Porsche 997 TT with Jonathan du Toit, 1A+ Trans Africa Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, and Stuart White, 007A+ Into Africa Aston Martin Vantage, three very good reasons to have been present at Killarney.

Stuart White hold the outright lap record at every circuit he had raced on in South Africa before going international and recent success behind the wheel of a McLaren 570 had him feeling very James Bond in the 007 Aston Martin Vantage. The General was however well armed and ready for any invaders on what is considered home turf whilst Jonathan never seems to have any problem spoiling their fun.

M had however planned a special mission for James Bond (alias Stuart White) and this time he called upon Honey Ryder (007 Into Africa Aston Martin Vantage GT3) to assist in his quest against Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his cronies (read Extreme Supercar opposition).

With an upgraded engine map and modified exhaust the British Bulldog may still have seemed like a Walther PPK going up against some of the most serious motorsport machines in South Africa, but then, this was 007 …..

A time of 1min07.087 placed the Aston on pole with Franco Scribante sharing row one in his extremely popular Porsche 997 TT on 1min07.407. Jonathan du Toit raised the stakes by posting 1min07.842 and Blofeld smiled. Charl Arangies made his presence felt with 1min08.514 in the Stradale Mercedes AMG GT3.

Before the lights went out for the first of three heats this series had won the day with the field representing most of the iconic car manufacturers in the world, each sounding brilliant in it’s own unique way with a visual appeal that excites young and old. Of course there had to be drama and this time it was Franco Scribante who fell foul of a broken transmission on the final lap of qualifying and the General immediately eliminated from the day.

Stuart White and the 007 A+ Into Africa Aston Martin Vantage looked and sounded very secret agent enroute to a dominant opening heat victory with Jonathan du Toit settling for second spot in his 1A+ Trans Africa Lamborghini Huracan and in an entertaining third it was the 86 GT3 Stradale Mercedes AMG of Charl Arangies. Xolile Letlaka showed good pace enroute to fourth in his 125 A+ Into Africa Lamborghini Huracan whilst it was good to see the 51 GT3 Autohaus Angel Ferrari 488 of Marcel Angel finish fifth. Gianni Giannoccaro sixth in the mean looking BISC Transport Nismo Nissan GTR. Five manufacturers in the top six and there was two more races to come!

Heat two proved a little closer at the front but Honey Ryder held her own by thundering away from the du Toit Huracan and Arangies AMG Merc for the podium. Xolile Letlaka fourth, Giannoccaro fifth and Angel sixth. Even calculators would struggle to determine the true value of these machines on track, but the real value lies in the joy they provide to the individual drivers and an appreciative audience. Just think of the shock the owner of the £52 million Ferrari GTO driven by Karun Chandhok must have experienced when the engine let go during the Goodwood Revival. It is just a fact that great racing cars have to be raced!

Heat three and Honey remained stationary on the starting grid. The starter motor had failed and 007 required outside assistance! Slotting back into his pole position and once again the Aston held it’s own for the final race over twelve laps to take the chequered flag with Jonathan du Toit, Charl Arangies, Xolile Letlaka, Gianni Giannoccaro and the 80 GT3 MJR Motorsport Audi R8 LMS of Marius Jackson following.

But, rules are rules, and the perfect day on track resulted in 007 having to take one on the chin for the King as a 30sec penalty dropped the mighty Aston Martin to second overall for the day. Jonathan du Toit celebrating victory in his 1 A+ Trans Africa Lamborghini Huracan. Maybe Blofeld had a plan for the Italians after all as the Alfa Romeo aficionados were celebrating 40 years of the iconic Alfa Romeo 3.0 GTV on the same day!

Charl Arangies well pleased with third in the entertaining 86 GT3 AMG Mercedes and Xolile Letlaka impressed with fourth in his 125 A+ Into Africa Lamborghini Huracan. Certainly the best ever result at Killarney for the neat 15 A+ BISC Transport Nismo Nissan GTR of Gianni Giannoccaro in fifth spot whilst Marcel Angel netted sixth overall for the day in his 51 GT3 Autohaus Angel Ferrari 488.

The individual class results for the day were:
1 80 Marius Jackson MJR Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3
2 75 Ricardo Giannoccaro G&H Transport Lamborghini Supertrofeo
3 37 Nicky Dicks Curvent Porsche 991 GT3 Cup Gen 2
4 69 Mo Mia Toys-R-Us Porsche 991 GT3 Cup

1 91 Joseph Ellerine MJR Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4
2 77 Ant Blunden Sajco Porsche 991 GT3 Cup Gen 2

1 511 Giacomo Giannoccaro G&H Transport Lamborghini Supertrofeo
2 52 Uli Sanne BMW Z4

1 146 Daanyaal Coetzee A&M Plumbing BMW E46 M3

1 86 Charl Arangies Stradale Motorport AMG Mercedes GT3 Evo
2 15 Gianni Giannoccaro BISC Transport Nismo Nissan GTR
3 51 Marcel Angel Autohaus Angel Ferrari 488
4 46 Jason Ibbotson Autohaus Angel Ferrari 458

1 1 Jonathan du Toit Trans Africa Lamborghini Huracan
2 007 Stuart White Into Africa Aston Martin Vantage
3 125 Xolile Letlaka Into Africa Lamborghini Huracan

GTC / Supacup 1x10Laps 1x12Laps
There is no denying that the GTC cars really look great, but with just six (essentially similar) on track it is painfully lacking numbers and variety of manufacturers to turn this series into a true spectacle.

Local hopes were bolstered when Andrew Rackstraw placed the 40 LTR VW Golf GTi on pole with 1min14.497 with Robert Wolk second on 1min14.565 in the 1 Chemical Logistics BMW 128. Row two had Saood Variawa third fastest on 1min14.572 in the 3 Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla and in fourth it was Julian van der Watt in the 42 Chemical Logistics Toyota Corolla riding shotgun for his team leader.

Andrew Rackstraw drove a near perfect first heat to claim victory in the Golf with Robert Wolk second and Nathi Msimanga third in his 28 Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla. Julian van der Watt fourth, Michael van Rooyen fourth in the 95 Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla and in sixth it was Josh le Roux in his 89 Vitro Frameless Audi S3.

The slightly longer second heat over 12 laps saw Julian van der Watt look like a certain winner before he allowed Robert Wolk through to claim a maiden victory for the 1 Chemical Logistics BMW 128 and more importantly move back into the championship points lead. Nathi Msimanga again third with Andrew Rackstraw fourth, Saood Variawa fifth and Josh le Roux sixth.

Overall it was the Chemical Logistics team of Robert Wolk and Julian van der Watt in first and second spots with Nathi Msimanga third, Andrew Rackstraw fourth and Josh le Roux fifth.

Supacup sported 13 entries in a no holds barred battle for one make supremacy with Bradley Liebenberg (12 Hype Energy Drinks Polo Supacup) taking pole on1min18.866 from Jonathan Mogotsi (14 VW Motorsport Polo Supacup) 1min19.057. Heat one saw Bradley Liebenberg winning from Jonathan Mogotsi and Arnold Neveling (54 Stradale Motorsport Polo Supacup) with Tate Bishop (94 Angri Racing Academy Polo Supacup) fourth, Danie van Niekerk (9 Polo Supacaup) fifth and David Franco (96 Graphix Supply World Polo Supacup) sixth.

Jonathan Mogotsi turned the tables on Bradley Liebenberg to win heat two with Arnold Neveling and Tate Bishop leading home Jean-Pierre van der Walt (30 Platinum Wheels Polo Supacup) and Danie van Niekerk.

Overall Jonathan Mogotsi winning from Bradley Liebenberg with Arnold Neveling third, Tate Bshop fourth, Danie van Niekerk fifth and David Franco sixth.

Sadly it was also time to bid a few close friends farewell with a minute silence.

Pieter Cronjé was instrumental in the lease extension negotiations for Killarney International Raceway and he became something of a household name in the motorsport community. Fortunately Pieter will never leave Killarney as he has seen to the fact that the circuit will remain Green for Life.

Wilhelm “Bessie” Bester really was a big man with an even bigger heart and one only has to reflect on his King of the Mountain drives up Gydo Pass to realise the passion he had for motorsport. He could pedal a MkI Golf!

Sherrill Joyce Castley, a fashion model for Foschini, raced Karts at Killarney and navigated for Elaine Kriel in WP rallies. She was also part of the only all female organising committee of the regional Montagu Rally – something that has never been done since. Husband, Allen Castley, navigated both Pieter de Waal and Serge Damseaux to 5 Western Province Regional Rally Championships.

Published by: Patrick Vermaak

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