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What Pabar VW Challenge Round 3 Report
Where Phakisa Freeway, Welkom, Free State
When Saturday 27 May 2023
Community Gauteng Regional

Atkinson & Meintjies share out the wins at rough, tough Phakisa

Infamous for throwing spanners in the works, the twisty and bumpy Phakisa Freeway struck again to spice up the action when the Pabar VW Challenge visited Welkom on Saturday. Hectic races, red flags stopping the races, and unexpected winners returning to form highlighted the day as Rory Atkinson and Waldie Meintjies swapped Class A wins, Hannes Scheepers and Ethan Coetzee shared the B wins and Yotti Nousias dominated Class C.

Qualifying was done and dusted on Friday afternoon, with reigning champion Rory Atkinson back on form as he sounded a warning by putting his BHIT Industrial Transport Polo on pole position. Even better for Rory, Charl Smalberger lined up beside him on the grid in the Sabertek Polo, ahead of the championship leading Masters brothers, Bevin’s CPS Warehouse machine and Wayne’s Performance Master car. Waldie Meintjies was on the inside of the third row alongside Dean Ross, with Mike Barbaglia’s Pabar Polo, Mydi Mfana, Dewald Theron, Luigi Ferro and Nicole Lombard next.

Elna Croeser was another driver to find her form back as she planted her ATE Brakes Polo on
Class B pole position from champion Dr. Hannes Scheepers’ Dainfern Dental Polo, RAM lad Bevan Williams, Ian Walker’s Melo Velo car, Ross Butt’s EeziParts machine and driver Stuart Mack’s prototype Class X turbo triple one litre Nathans Polo. Stelio Nousias, Charisse Piazza Musso, class championship leader Ethan Coetzee and Pierluigi Muzzulini closed off the top ten ahead of Tyler Robinson and newcomer Shiren Rajpaul. Tinahe Ncube, Francois van Zyl, Jacques Hayes, Martin de Beer, Chris Davison, and Elio Muzzulini followed.

A happy Philip Croeser made it husband and wife pole positions in Class C in his ATE Brakes Vivo from Yotti Nousias’ We Fix Cars version, Andy Gossman, Charl Andersen, Kyle Petersen,
Michael Zapheriou, Jan Spamers, and Dimitri Zapheriou.

The race action started early on Saturday as Rory Atkinson made off up front with Charl Smalberger keeping Bevin and Wayne Masters busy, and Waldie Meintjies in pursuit. Behind them, Dean Ross had Mike Barbaglia and Dewald Theron on his case, with Mydi Mfana and Luigi Ferro in pursuit. The Class B action was fraught. Hannes Scheepers fought Stelio Nousias, Bevin Williams, Stuart Mack, and Ethan Coetzee in chase, with ladies Elna Croeser and Charisse Piazza-Musso in combat with Ross Butt. And Yotti Nousias was dealing with Philip Croeser, Charl Andersen, Jan Spamers and Michael Zapheriou in Class C.

The safety car was despatched to clear a car on the circuit and with everyone gathered together, the action was even closer through the pack once it went back in. Then Mike Barbaglia had an issue coming out of the penultimate turn and was left stranded in the middle of the track. With the Class B pack deep in battle, some cars in the bunch were unsighted, there was contact and Stelio Nousias, Ian Walker and Bevan Williams, among others came together in a series of collisions that brought out the red flag with wrecked cars strewn down the start straight. Happily, all the drivers were unharmed.

The race was halted and scored to the beginning of that sixth lap to see Atkinson take his first win of the season from Smalberger, Bevin and Wayne Masters, Meintjies, Ross, Barbaglia, Theron, Mfana and Ferro. Scheepers took class B from Nousias, Williams, Mack, Coetzee, Croeser, Piazza-Musso and Butt, with Pierluigi Muzzulini next from Mo Karodia, Ian Walker, Shiren Rajpaul, Jacques Hayes, Tinahe Ncube, Francois van Zyl Martin de Beer, Elio Muzzulini and Chris Davison. And Yotti Nousias took Class C from Philip Croeser, Charl Andersen, Jan Spamers, Michael Zapheriou, Kyle Petersen, and Dimitri Zapheriou.

While some of the cars involved were repaired, that race 1 carnage eliminated several others from the second heat. Class A drivers Mike Barbaglia and Nicole Lombard, and Class B five Stelio Nousias, Ian Walker, Jacques Hayes, Shiren Rajpaul and Tyler Robinson would not start race 2. Championship leader Bevin Masters, Class X man Stuart Mack, and Class C quartet Andy Gossman, Michael and Dimitri Zapheriou and Kyle Petersen were also missing from pre-race paddock.

The remainder took to the grid as Rory Atkinson made off up front in what would prove to be a far more orderly race. It was however punctuated by Atkinson slipping up late in the race to allow Waldie Meintjies through for a popular and welcome win. Atkinson fought birthday boy Charl Smalberger off for second by all of two tenths of a second, while Mydi Mfana added to the Masters misery on a weekend to forget as he pipped Wayne for third, with Dewald Theron and Luigi Ferro next home.

Ethan Coetzee did his title aspirations no harm at all as he bounced back to make it two wins in two meetings as he held Hannes Scheepers, Pierluigi Muzzulini, Mo Karodia, Elna Croeser and the recovered Bevin Williams off. Tinahe Ncube was next up from Francois van Zyl, Dean Ross, Charisse Piazza-Musso, Ross Butt, Chris Davison, Martin de Beer and Elio Muzzulini. Yotti Nousias did the double over Philip Croeser and Charl Andersen, with Jan Spamers fourth in a Class C weekend of attrition.

Overall, Rory Atkinson took the day and Class A from Waldie Meintjies, Charl Smalberger, Wayne Masters, Mydi Mfana and Dewald Theron. Hannes Scheepers took Class B from Ethan Coetzee, Pierluigi Muzzulini, Mo Karodia, Bevin Williams and Elna Croeser. Yotti Nousias topped the Class C survivors ahead of Philip Croeser, Charl Andersen and Jan Spamers.

Subject to official ratification, Yotti Nousias has moved up to the top of the overall Pabar VW Challenge championship table from a resurgent Rory Atkinson, Philip Croeser, Ethan Coetzee, Wayne Masters, and former leader Bevin Masters. Rory Atkinson leads Wayne and Bevin Masters, Meintjes and Charl Smalberger in Class A. It’s still Ethan Coetzee from Hannes Scheepers, PL Muzzulini, Stelio Nousias and Elna Croeser in Class B, and Yotti Nousias has moved up to lead Philip Croeser and the absent Bjorn Bertholdt in Class C.

The Pabar VW Challenge heads to Zwartkops for its next Regional Festival appointment on the shortest Saturday of the year on 24 June. Sounds like the perfect antidote for those in the midwinter blues. Diarise it now!

Issued on behalf of PABAR VW Challenge

Photography by: Dave Ledbitter

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