First Festival of Speed for 2023 does not disappoint

You can bet your bottom dollar that Zwartkops Raceway will always produce the goods, so although January may have been a long month, there was no shortage of action and drama.

One of the highlights of the day had to be Hennie Groenewald overcoming a chaotic start and ensuing red flag to still take the first Marlboro Crane Hire Pre-’66 Legends race win in his Mercury Comet.

Groenewald fought Mark du Toit off to also take the second race with Jeffrey Kruger, Jonathan du Toit, Ellison and Morgenrood in chase. Graeme Nathan was next home from Di Matteo, Page Lindenberg’s Ford Fairlane 500 and Poulter.

Another regular major attraction, the Auto Truck & Tyre Sportscars & Trans-Ams also delivered its fair share of Passion for Speed spectacle. Home hero Jonathan du Toit steered his wieldy Chevron B8 to race 1 victory, leaving Lee Thompson’s ex-Peter Gough WesBank Opel Astra to fend Larry Wilford’s glorious Lola T70 off for second.  Rob Beaumont and Peter Bailey’s Porsche 917s followed from Rui Campos Porsche 911 RSR. And the roaring V8s in Swede Kenneth Pearson’s Can Am McLaren and Russel Fear Lola T70 and Mark du Toit‘s Lola T70s.

The TT dice.

Larry Wilford struck back to take race 2 from Thompson, Jonathan and Mark du Toit, who fought back after a hefty qualifying accident in the Walls Lola T70 saw him start from the back in race 1. Peter Bailey followed from Kenneth Pearsson’s spectacular McLaren, Rui Campos, Russel Fear, and Andre van der Merwe and Richard Pott’s Porsche 911s. Wilford took the overall win from Jono du Toit and a delighted Pearson.

James Temple led a Shelby Daytona Coupe 1-2 by 43 seconds from Rui Campos’ similar car in the signature Passion for Speed Castrol Le Mans Sports & GT TT 45 minute endurance race.

Oliver Dalais and Peter Bailey’s Ford GT40s followed from Allen Meyer’s Chevron B8, Johan de Bruyn’s Porsche 911R and Kennet Pearsson’s genuine original Ford GT40. Local hero, Ish Baloyi’s Dart Alfa, Kobus Brits’ Porsche 911R and Robbie Frank and Brian Algar’s Lotus 23B closed off the top ten.

Rudolf de Vos celebrated 50 years of the Little Chevy Firenza Can Am V8’s sensational 1973 debut with a fine double win in the Ben Morgenrood Group HRSA Historic Sprint races. He beat Andre van der Merwe’s Porsche 911 RSR in both races, while Rob Prece, in another piece of SA race history, the original Manufacturer’s Challenge VW Golf Mk 1, and Jannie van Rooyen’s Volkswagen Scirocco shared the Class C wins. Greg Steen’s Ford Escort and Terence Ladner’s Scirocco scored a Class E win apiece.

Johan Gouws’ Scirocco and Youngtimer winner Mike O’Sullivan’s Honda Ballades won the Class F races. Racing separately, Tihan van Rooyen’s Porsche 924 and George Smalberger’s Escort shared the Class G win. Wernher Hartzenberg’s Fines Porsche 916 won the opening BMG Pursuit handicap race from Andre Hattingh’s Mercedes 190E and Riaan Roux’s Modified Scirocco.  After the first four cars home were excluded for breaking out of their handicap times. Johann Smith took race 2 from Hattingh and Modified winner Johan Gouws’ Scirocco.

Matt Nash and Dalan Holton put Andrew Horne’s Royale in a Van Diemen sandwich in Single Seater race 1. Shaun Cabrita’s Titan was next from Neil Lobb and Ben van der Westhuizen’s Royale. Shannon Winterstein’s Titan, Steve Venter’s Van Diemen, Paul Richardson’s `Dulon and Roy Douglas’ Tiga followed. Nash and Holton made it a 1-2 over Horne in race 2, with Lobb fourth from Cabrita, Venter, Winterstein, Richardson, Douglas, and Wiehan Tiedt’s Dulon.


Terrence Botes and Kyle Brink’s Minis pulled off a marvellous David versus Goliath Marlboro Crane Hire Pre-‘68 win from Grant Viljoen’s Monster Mercedes AMG. Lars Boden’s splendid Lotus was also right on the big red Merc’s case, ahead of SGT winner Ishmael Baloyi and Class B victor Chris Radloff, while Mel Spurr took Class C. Boden then beat Botes and Brink as George Smalberger’s Escort also put one over the Viljoen Merc, which clearly tested the limits of its rubber. Andre de Kock’s Dart took Class B and Spurr won C.

Rossi brothers Mario and Claudio’s Trofeo Alfa Romeo GTV 6s sandwiched Martin Botha’s Class Zakspeed Ford Escort to the first Rossi’s GTV6 Midvaal Historic win. Class E winner Seef Fourie Sr’s Datsun 140Y was fourth from Regard van Zyl and Daryl Mann, as Ian Richards’s Datsun 1200 took Class F, Chris Williams Class G, and JJ Venter Class H. Class E lad Johan Coetzee Jr’s Datsun 1200 GX beat Class F trio Johan Kruger and Ian Richards’ similar cars, Johan Coetzee Sr and Trofeo winner Mario Rossi in the reversed grid race 2 also restarted after a red flag halfway. Travis Jensen and Carel Vos’ Class Datsuns won Class D and G, and JJ Venter’s Jetta Class H .

Sportscar action.

In the contemporary races on the day, Charl Arangies new GT3 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT fought off A+ duo Jonathan du Toit’s Lamborghini Huracan and Franco Scribante’s Porsche Turbo to win race 1. Kris Budnik’s Dodge Viper took Class A, Ant Blunden’s Porsche B, Roy Obery’s Porsche C and Joseph Ellerine’s Audi R8 Class D. Du Toit beat Arangies and Budnik to the race 2 win after Scribante was penalised for passing under the safety car. Blunden, Obery and Ellerine all did class double wins.

Leon Loubser took a BMW M Performance Parts double win, from Carlo Garbini and Lorenzo Gualtieri in race 1. Andreas Meier took Class B from Lyle Ramsay and Nek Makris, as Hein van der Merwe beat Alan Hilligenn to the Class C win. Loubser took race 2 from Leyton Fourie and Garbini, as Meier took Class B from Makris and Ramsay. Van der Merwe took Class C from Dewit Oosthuizen.

The BMW Classes D and E ran on their own as Jaco Storm beat Shaun Dodd to opening race victory and D honours, while Vigen Naidu beat Dave Rehse to the E win. It was all changed in race 2 as 99 Riaan Lubbe beat Andre Diedericks to Class D honours and Rehse took E from Arri van Heerden.

Zwartkops’ next major racing appointment is in just three weeks’ time, with the opening round of the Gauteng Regional Extreme Festival Saturday, February 18.

Source: MotorsportMedia / Photos: Colin Windell / Andre Laubscher


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