The news came last week, after the final round of this year’s Super Series at the Zwartkops Raceway.
Local administrators Motorsport SA (MSA) announced the cancellation of the stand-alone national series, which has been steadily eroding over the past two seasons.
Instead, four of the series’ racing categories will join the existing Extreme Festival series, which will stretch to 15 rounds to accommmodate all the action.
Officially, the Extreme Festival Series will accommodate Bridgestone Production Cars, Engen Volkswagen Cup, SA Single Seaters, Shelby CanAm, G&H Transport Extreme Supercars, Hankook Formula Vee, Red Square Kawasaki Masters, Goldwagen SuperHatches, Thunderbikes, Speed and Sound 111 Sport and Saloon Cars, plus rounds of the BMW CCG Club Racing Series and the Comsol VW Challenge.
Each of the participating categories will tackle eight meetings, or 16 races during the course of the year spread among Kyalami, Zwartkops, Killarney, East London, Aldo Scribante and Phakisa.
At every circuit, one or two of its strongest club racing categories will be invited to showcase its action.
The series will be administrated by the Trans Africa Racing consortium.
‘It is simply not viable to try to run race meetings with fewer than 70 competitors,” said Peter du Toit of TAR.
“Doing that short-changes spectators, while at the same time costing the organisers far too much – costs that inevitably end up at the door of the competitors.
“The Extreme Festival Series has strength in numbers and generally attracts healthy spectator numbers – a good place from which to launch a new national series,” he added.
It is generally assumed Bridgestone Production Cars will be seen as the Extreme Festival’s premier formula, given the category’s driver strength. Most of those involved believe the category will basically remain the same next year, running Classes A and T, while finding healthy alternatives for both.
Alternatives, when they come, will probably see Class A change to GTC chassis with 2 litre turbo engines, while Class T will lose a lot of power and handling in an effort to prune the building costs of a car.
Finally, the formula will embark on a charm offensive, trying to get youngsters to invest in a class for turbocharged 1600cc cars.
Things on offer to competitors would include sponsored fuel for tow vehicles and special accommodation deals with hotel groups at away meetings.
The Shelby CanAm cars will run in their own Sports Car title chase, with their numbers bolstered by the addition of both faster and slower sports cars. There are a number of LMP2 cars in the country and they might well come out of hiding, while there were many S2000 chassis floating around, to form a bottom class.
- The V8 Supercars will not form part of the Extreme Festival – they chose to become part of the Northern Regions championship.
- The two national single-seater formulas will stay the same, as will Engen Volkswagen Cup racing.
- MSA is currently in the process of finalising the racing calendar for 2015 and this will be made available as soon as possible.
Theirs is a formidable task, with pleasing everybody absolutely impossible.
Even so, most enthusiasts should be happy with the new developments.
Motorsport people generally excel in sitting back, saying things are in disarray, and “somebody should do something”.
Well now somebody has done something and the result should be a much-improved national motorsport show.