Round 1 of the 2023 Power Series at Killarney International Raceway on Saturday February 4, delivered all the tension and drama a soap opera script writer could ask for, on a day filled with epic contests, spectacular crashes and memorably close finishes.
Topping the bill in the Clubmans Saloons were Steven Heydenrych, out for the first time in the IMarketing/FAT Racing Skyline, and “giant killer” Raaziegh Harris’ Cool Touch Racing Golf 1.
Harris set the bar with a 1min21.174 qualifying lap but was unable to maintain that pace in Race 1, as the all-black Nissan grabbed the lead from lights out and held it to the flag.
Harris hung on for the first four laps but had to give best to oval-track veteran Jesse Huggett (Rico Barlow Racing/Philwest Jetta 2) in the closing stages and finished third, just ahead of Class B leader Daanyaal Coetzee (A&M Plumbing BMW E46 M3), after Shane Smith (Truckport Logistics BMW E46) charged through the field up to third with a lap to go and then went out on the last lap.
Race 2 was red-flagged seconds after the start when Ewald Weiland (Alfa Romeo GTV) spun in Turn 1, right in front of Bruce Meyer’s Cape Industrial Flooring Polo. The resulting collision opened the side of the Alfa like a can-opener and double-flipped the Polo onto its roof; both drivers were lucky to walk away unhurt.
Heydenrych led from the restart, controlling the race from the front while Harris held off both Huggett and a hard- charging Craig Rapp (BMW 328) until three laps from the flag, when Rapp powered through to take second very briefly, and Harris went out. Huggett, always a threat at the death, demoted Rapp to third a lap later and it was all over bar the shouting.
Defending champion Jurie ‘Umpie’ Swart (Bullion IT Polo 6) dominated both Alert Engine Parts GTi Challenge races, despite an unexpected and very determined challenge from up-country rival Clinton Bezuidenhout (Volkswagen Polo), in his first GTi Challenge outing, who just got the better of Nathan Victor (Summit Racing Polo) for second in Race 1. Zaki Hendricks (Volkswagen Polo 6R) was the Class B leader in fourth overall, while Matthew Rowe (Veldt Reared Golf 1) led the Class C “brat pack” home.
Swart pulled steadily away from the field in Race 2 to win by 6.4 seconds from Bezuidenhout, with Schalk Geldenhuys third after Victor went out on lap two. Kyle Visser (Charl Engineering Polo) stole Hendricks’ Class B thunder in fourth overall, while Rowe improved one place to win Class C in seventh overall.
Swedish visitor Kennet Persson in his thundering McLaren M6B and new entry to the Laude Classic Cars category Nian du Toit (Ford Capri Perana) turned the established order on its ear as they battled with Franco Donadio (Ford Escort Mk1) and Michael Hitchcock’s Cross Cape Forklift Services Mustang. They finished Race 1 in that order, within 2.051 seconds after eight superb laps.