There was high drama and heartbreak at the national finals of Bragging Rights presented by the Western Province Motor Club and its partners at Killarney on Saturday November 20.
The drama at this three-in-one blockbuster event featuring some of South Africa’s fastest drag racing cars and motorcycles, as well as the country’s top drifting exponents and the most skilled spinners, included Lenzey Henry losing control of his Suzuki GSX-R1000 and hitting the ground at more than 240km/h while his bike was catapulted more than six metres into the air and broke into three pieces.
Ralph Kumbier, pushing hard with a stiff south-easter behind him, couldn’t stop his heavy Pro Mod Chev Camaro in time to make the turn at the end of the strip and ploughed into the safety net – but not before winning his class in a new personal best time of 8.277 seconds at 267.52km/h.
Neither was seriously injured, although Henry reportedly suffered some serious bruising and a small road rash; he will be very stiff for a few days.
Newly elected Mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, welcomed the visiting competitors and said the event was among the fastest-growing sports in the Western Cape and events such as Bragging Rights boosted Cape Town’s hospitality industry.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith, himself an admitted motorsport enthusiast, said the event was important for its entertainment value for promoting Cape Town as a motorsport destination and for helping to get grassroots racing off the streets and into a safe and controlled environment.
Over on the oval, local hero Juan Stemmet had the crowd cheering when he walked away with the National Drift King title, while the coveted white cap and the right to call himself South Africa’s Spin King went to Sunesh “Sushi” Pursad from Benoni in his BMW 325 after a closely fought final that took four different camera angles and several recounts to decide the winner.
The fastest run of the day on the drag strip was laid down by Hermann Mostert in his 2JZ-powered Nissan Champ bakkie “Jack Russell” with a superb pass at 8.011 seconds at 271.30km/h. His was the only entry in the Exhibition Class for cars with the proven capability of breaking into the sevens.
Class SO for cars rated at 8.5 seconds or less was won by Kumbier’s Camaro, although it was an expensive victory as the car will need a new body from the firewall forward.
As always, the motorcycles were up there with the fastest of the cars, as Cobus van Wyk set a new Class SB (open motorcycles) course record for Killarney with a superb 8.505 second pass at 263.99km/h on his BMW S1000RR.
Class O for cars running nine seconds or less was taken by local hero Talha Daniels in ‘Barrascort’ (a UK-built Mk1 Ford Escort with an Australian Ford ‘Barramundi’ straight-six engine) at 8.759 seconds and 243.37km/h, while Class SL for cars quicker than 9.5 seconds went to Terry Yannikakis’ Mazda F1000, with a superb 9.651 second run at 195.26km/h.
But the real winners on the day were the fans, cheering and heckling the competitors as only Capetonians can, thrilled to be back at Killarney to see a top-level drag racing, drifting and spinning event for the first time in almost two years.