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What Regional Extreme Festival Round 3 Preview
Where Phakisa Freeway, Welkom, Free State
When Saturday 27 May 2023
Community South Africa National

A Quality Welkom race program with an endurance twist

The third round Northern Regions Racing Festival heads to the Free State to inject a little heat into a wintery annual Phakisa 200 meeting in Welkom on Saturday 27 May. An annual opportunity for the Car Care Clinic 111 and the Superhatch series to shine, the day also includes regular rounds of the respective Mobil1 V8 Supercars, Pabar VW Challenge, BMW M Performance, SunBet ZX10 Masters, Lotus Challenge and DOE Formula Vee championships.

It’s VW versus the rest in the Car Care Clinic 111 GTs & Saloons. Francois Henning’s Polo and Golf gang, Wouter Roos, George Economides, Piet Potgieter and Adrian Dalton, et al, take on home hero Lenard Archer’s Civic, Johan van der Vyver’s Subaru, Lucas Bezuidenhout’s Lexus, and Bob Neill in a Focus RS up front. Roland Hopkins’ Polo and Wayne Lebotschy‘s Golf do Class B battle with Charl Weyers’ Corsa, Chris Smit’s Porsche, Dhiren Ganasen and Seten Naidoo’s Civics and Yorick Smith’s MX5 fight for Class C, while Rob Clark‘s Ballade, Didi Matjila and Melanie Spurr’s Polos and Marius Malherbe’s Porsche dice in D.

Karel Stols should arrive at Phakisa as the Superhatch favourite, while also being a major factor in the 200 endurance race in his Toyota Etios. Expect his biggest Superhatch challenge to come from Francis Aldrich’s Corsa, Mark du Toit and Jenny Henning’s Civics and Quintus Viljoen’s Polo Class B will see Christiaan van Wyk’s Figo fight it out with George Aldrich’s Peugeot, Civic trio Jono du Toit, Ish Baloyi and Seten Naidoo, and Andre de Lange’s Golf.

Both the Car Care Clinic 111’s and Superhatches will race their first heats as always, before coming together for the 50-lap Phakisa 200. The classic annual Welkom endurance race requires each car to stop at the pits and change at least one wheel. Or at least remove and replace a wheel. Also, any car beating its class lap time limit will be penalised a drive through penalty.

Getting back to the regular action, multiple Mobil1 V8 Supercar champion Mackie Adlem has his work cut out as the rolling thunder makes for the Free State. He sits an unfamiliar third in the chase behind young gun Julian Fameliaris’ Corvette and Lumina man Thomas Reib. Warren Lombard’s positive year sees his Falcon fourth in the title chase, from another Jaguar XKR driver in unfamiliar territory, Franco Di Matteo. Never ignore Terry and Larry Wilford, Steve Herbst, Sam Dahl, Auke Compaan and Richard Fuller among this lot either.

The Gauteng Regions Pabar VW Challenge is guaranteed to thrill. Class A man Bevin Masters leads that fraught championship chase to the Free State from battling Brat Pack Class C rookie duo, Bjorn Bertholdt and Yotti Nousias, Class A pair Wayne Masters and Rory Atkinson, and Class C veteran Philip Croeser. Ethan Coetzee leads the fraught Class B chase from Jacques Pierluigi Muzzulini and Hannes Scheepers. Expect well over 40 entries for this one, and the classes to be split into two races to accommodate the action.

The BMW M Performance Parts Challenge races are also likely to be split into two. Now that the field knows how to tweak their cars to their new Dunlop rubber, that action should be even tighter. Leon Loubser has Carlo Garbini and Paulo Loureiro to deal with in Class A, Class B sees Lorenzo Gualtieri, Andreas Meier and Nek Makris fight it out, and Hein van der Merwe, Alan Hilligen and Jan Eversteyn and Nicholas Fischer will tussle in C. Classes D and E will likely race alone with Reinhardt Miller taking on Nicholas Herbst and Heinz Bose in D, ahead of overall leader Dave Rehse, Arri van Heerden and Cobus Bohmer in E.

It’s always a Gauteng versus the Cape thing in the SunBet ZX10 Masters Cup National Challenge motorcycles. So, local rider Graeme van Breda will be out to restore home honour against the visitors. Ronald Slamet, Jayson Lamb, and David Enticott are always a threat, wherever they race. Same goes for madala rider Brain Bontekoning, while none of Michael Smit, Hein McMahon, Pieter de Vos, and Henk are to be scoffed at.

Jaco Schriks leads the National Challenge DOE Formula Vee Championship Lubricated by CIM Lubri Fuel to Welkom from another race winner, MD Bester, with Eric Booyens, Kyle Watt and Shaun van der Linde in chase. But that’s only half the story as reigning champion Peter Hills will certainly have a point to prove from sixth in the chase, while double winner last time out Lendl Jansen will want to keep on making amends for a horrid season opened, and Gert van der Berg is fighting back after missing the season opener.

Last but not least, the Lotus Challenge finally returns to action at Phakisa. Expect 2022 champion Thomas Falkiner to pick up where he left off, with Mackie Adlem and Andre Human and Rudi Barnard in pursuit. Sean Hepburn was the Locost man to beat but he will have Andrew Fulton, Miles Downard and Andre du Plessis among his rivals chasing him down.

The 200 Festival promises a full day of action on and off track at the Phakisa Freeway between Welkom Odendaalsrus on Saturday 27 May. Sounds like a great way to break those early winter blues with a road trip to those Free State races

Issued on behalf of Extreme Festival

Photography by: Paul Blackburn

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