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Warm autumn skies greeted spectators and competitors alike on Saturday, 18 May, when the National Extreme Festival made its way to Zwartkops Raceway for the third round of the 2024 season.

Robert Wolk (Chemical Logistics BMW 128ti) had no sooner led the South African Touring Cars field away from pole position when the safety car was deployed to allow the marshals to recover Roberto Franco’s Graphix Supply World Polo SupaCup from the gravel trap on the exit of the first turn. After four laps behind the safety car, racing resumed with Nathi Msimanga (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla) leading Wolk and Saood Variawa (Toyota Gazoo Racing Corolla). With four laps still to run, Variawa slowed dramatically allowing teammate Michael van Rooyen through into third. That is how it ended, but Msimanga was hit with a 30-second post-race penalty for a jump-start, which handed the win to Wolk. Van Rooyen was classified second, and Julian van der Watt (Chemical Logistics Volkswagen Golf 8 GTi) third.

The opening lap of the second race was full of drama. First, Msimanga and Variawa clashed, going up the hill to the tabletop. Then Anthony Pretorius (OMP / LTR Racing Toyota Corolla) and Wolk came together at the bottom of the hill in the final corner. When the dust settled, Pretorius was out of the race, Wolk and Variawa were near the back of the field, and Msimanga was running in third behind van Rooyen and van der Walt. With four laps left to run, the bonnet on Msimanga’s Corolla few open, and he retired, allowing Andrew Schofield (FlySafair BMW 128ti) into third place. All the while, Wolk and Variawa had been working their way through the SupaCup field, but for Wolk, a points-paying finish was not to be. Although he crossed the line in fourth place, a post-race hearing determined he was to blame for the collision with Pretorius and was placed behind the rookie in the standings, effectively meaning Wolk was not classified and didn’t score any points. At the front, van Rooyen took the win from van der Watt and Schofield.

Although Keegan Campos (Campos Transport / Turn 1 Insurance Brokers Polo SupaCup) was third on the SATC SupaCup championship log coming to Zwartkops, he had yet to win a race in 2024. He rectified this in the second race at the Pretoria West circuit after finishing second in the opening heat behind championship leader Jonathan Mogotsi (Volkswagen Motorsport SA Polo SupaCup). Bradley Liebenberg brought his Toyota Gazoo Racing Starlet SupaCup home in third, his best finish of the season. Charl Visser (Volkswagen Motorsport SA Polo SupaCup) and Tate Bishop (Angri Racing / LTR Polo SupaCup) rounded out the top five.

It was again Mogotsi and Campos at the front of the field in the second race, but this time it was Campos leading the way, going on to win by a second and a half. Liebenberg, Visser and Bishop again filled the remainder of the top five. After not completing a lap in the opening heat, Roberto Franco bounced back to take the SATC SupaCup Masters win.

Nathan Victor (Summit Racing) and Jason Loosemore (Security Fencing & Alarms) had shared all the Astron Energy Polo Cup wins between the pair of them, with Victor holding a slender points advantage at the top of the championship log as they headed to Zwartkops. While Loosemore will be happy with his performance on the day, which sees him move into the lead of the championship, Victor will not be as happy. While Loosemore qualified on pole ahead of Rory Atkinson (Industry Petroleum) and Ethan Coetzee (JRT Racing Experience), Victor could only manage eighth. In the opening heat, Loosemore was pushed all the way to the flag by Mo Karodia (Fast 5 Motorsport), who crossed the line just of quarter of a second in arrears. They were followed over the line by Coetzee, Tyler Robinson (AF Fans) and Jeandre Marais (APS / Motul / Syrabix Pty Ltd). Although Victor set the fastest lap of the race, which gave him pole position for the second race, he finished down in seventh. In the Masters class, Derick Smalberger (Sabertek) led Wayne Masters (AlphaESS) and Chris Dale (Dale Automation) home after John Kruger (Habot Oils), who crossed the line in first place, was penalised 10 seconds for using his push-to-pass on the opening lap.

Victor took a lights-to-flag win in the second heat, followed by Karodia with Loosemore in third, the leading trio covered by less than a second. Coetzee had to settle for fourth this time ahead of rookie Kyle Visser (VW Rookie Cup). Smalberger claimed another Masters class win ahead of Kruger and Masters. Loosemore made no mistake in the third heat despite the pressure from Karodia, pulling away slightly in the closing stages to take his second win of the day. Coetzee got the better of Charl Smalberger (Sabertek) to take third, with Roshaan Goodman (Upward Spiral) in fifth. Kruger went one better than the second race, taking the Masters class win ahead of Masters and Derick Smalberger.

As has been the case all year, Clint Seller dominated proceedings in the SunBet ZX-10R Masters Cup. The King Price Extreme man claimed pole position before winning both heats, setting new lap records in both. In the opening heat, he was followed over the line by Hein McMahon (K9 Law Enforcement/X-pro Security Solutions Kawasaki ZX10), who had a somewhat lonely race. Behind him, however, there was a great three-way fight between Graeme van Breda (Stefanutti Stocks Kawasaki ZX10), Trevor Westman (Project 60 Kawasaki ZX10) and Jayson Lamb (Tyremart East London/Max-4 Cars Kawasaki ZX10). When the flag came out, Westman led Lamb and van Breda over the line.

In the second heat, Seller again disappeared at the front ahead of the fight for the minor podium positions. Initially, it was a four-way squabble between Lamb, Westman, McMahon and van Breda, but van Breda dropped off the back leaving Lamb in second ahead of McMahon and Westman. Shortly after half-distance, McMahon found a way past Lamb and slowly opened a gap to take another comfortable second place. Lamb crossed the line a bike length ahead of Westman.

In the day’s overall standings, Seller took the Masters class for riders over 35. The Grand Masters class went to van Breda, with Lamb on top of the Veterans for over 50s.

The Volkswagen Rookie Cup competitors sat out the Kyalami event, making this the second round of their championship. Jayden Goosen qualified in pole position ahead of Uzair Kahn, championship leader Dhivyen Naidoo, Judd Bertholdt and Josh Moore. A front-row grid slot didn’t work out for Goosen and Khan; both of them battled to get away and dropped down the field, leaving Naidoo and Bertholdt to head the field. Berholdt took the lead on the penultimate lap with Naidoo having to settle for second. A recovering Goosen took the final podium slot.

In the second heat, Naidoo was the early pacesetter, leading the way from Bertholdt and Goosen. Contact between Naidoo and Bertholdt dropped the latter down the field while Naidoo continued in front ahead of Goosen. Bertholdt recovered to cross the line in third, but post-race penalties for Naidoo and Goosen gave Bertholt his second win of the day. Naidoo was classified second ahead of Khan.

In the overall standings, Bertholdt took the win from Naidoo and Khan.

Dawie van der Merwe continued his run of good form at the head of the GR 86 class of the Gazoo Racing South Africa Cup, taking pole position and both heat wins to extend his championship lead. In both races, he was followed over the line by Setshaba Mashigo and Ryan Naiker.

Like van der Merwe in the GR 86 class, Sean Nurse hadn’t been beaten in the GR Corolla class this season heading for Zwartkops. He continued his winning ways, taking another two wins from pole position. In the first race, Alex Shahini and Jaco van der Merwe followed him over the line. Shahini again took the runners-up spot in the second heat, this time from Hannes Visser.

Newcomer Devon Scott was comfortably the quickest of the GR Yaris competitors in qualifying. He converted this to two run-away race wins, in both cases from Mario de Sousa. Johann Snyman took third in the opening heat, while another newcomer, Theo Brits, did it in the second.

Stuart White (Into Africa Racing/Sparco SA Lamborghini Huracan) was the pick of the Extreme Supercars Driven by Dunlop field, comfortably winning both races with lap times in the 58-second range. Behind him, Jonathan du Toit (Trans Africa Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO) took two second places, winning the GT3 category on the way. In the opening heat, he was followed over the line by Charl Arangies (Stradale Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3), while Arnold Neveling (Goscor/Bobcat Audi R8 GT3), who experienced fuel supply problems in the opening heat, took third place in the second.

Overall class honours went to White in Class A+, from Xolile Letlaka (Into Africa Racing/Sparco SA Lamborghini Huracan) and Marius Jackson (MJR Motorsport Audi R8). Du Toit won the GT3 class from Arangies and Gianno Giannoccaro (BISC Transport / Dtadale Motorsport Nismo GT3). Mark du Toit (Trans Africa Racing / Stradale Motorsport Lamborghini Gallardo) took Class A. Class B went to Nicky Dicks (Curvent Racing Porsche GT3 Cup), while Class C went to Ant Blunden, who was out in the G&H Transport Audi R8 GT4 normally piloted by Jimmy Giannoccaro.

Single-seater action was provided by the Investchem Formula 1600 competitors. After mixed fortunes at the opening round at Killarney, series debutant Jagger Robertson (Liqui Moly / Sparco) won both heats at Kyalami and came to Zwartkops leading the championship from KC Ensor-Smith (African Heating). The opening heat had hardly got going when it was red-flagged to allow the marshals to recover Ewan Holtzhausen’s stranded Safair car from the gravel trap at Turn 1. It didn’t worry Robertson and Ensor-Smith as the top two in the championship led the field from the front two slots on the grid. Robertson had the speed when it counted and went on to take a narrow win with Karabo Malemela (KMFT Morita) in third. There was more of the same in the second heat, with Robertson taking another hard-fought win from Ensor-Smith, this time with Siyabonga Mankonkwana (Investchem) in third.

Overall honour went to Robertson from Ensor-Smith and Alex Vos (Investchem / DV Building Supplies).

The National Extreme Festival now makes its way to the Aldo Scribante Racetrack in Gqeberha for the fourth round of the series, which takes place on 28 and 29 June.

Issued by Brandsponential on behalf of Extreme Festival

Photography by: Willie Pretorius, Jason Hanslo and James Thomson

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