Thrills and spills at Killarney Power Series

Slade van Niekerk leads Jason Linaker and Tristin Pienaar in the second Bridgestone STC 650/SSP 300 race.

Round 3 of the 2022 Power Series on Saturday May 14 delivered all the excitement fans were hoping for, as well as a few spectacular mishaps, including one that ended with the car on its roof.

The Thermo Fires Clubmans Saloons looked all set for an epic confrontation between Shane du Toit’s giant-killing Skilpadvlei Wine Farm Golf MK1, Raaziegh Harris, back with a new Panic Plumbers Golf Mk1, Steven Heydenrych (Auto/FAT Racing Jetta Mk3), newly promoted to Class B on the strength of two superb runs in April, and on-form Shane Smith in the Truckport Logistics BMW E46.

And that’s what happened during the first half of race 1, until Heydenrych went out while leading on lap six, and then Du Toit’s golf slowed and stopped, leaving Harris to fight off a late challenge from Smith, with Willem Swart (WFS Motors Jetta CLi) a distant third.

Du Toit was back for race 2, taking no prisoners as he and Harris battled it out all the way to the line, finishing in that order just 0.058sec apart. Heydenrych was a distant third, less than half a second ahead of Smith.

Arch-rivals Jurie “Umpie” Swart in the Summit Polo 6 and Marco Busi (Automan Polo) gave the fans exactly what they came for with two superb dices at the front of the Alert Engine Parts GTi Challenge races, while class stalwart Colin Meder Jr in the International Tube Technology Polo fought it out with Dillon Joubert (Powder Coating World/TAC Steel/Euroblitz Polo 6) for third in race 1. Swart finished less than a quarter of a second ahead of Harris, and Meder held off a late charge from Joubert to take third by 0.302sec.

After a scrappy start, race 2 produced a big surprise as Class B runners Tate Bishop (Angri Racing Jetta) and Ian Kapp (Hydracor Polo 6) chased after Joubert and Meder in the fight for third. Swart took the flag 3.736 seconds clear of Busi, followed by Joubert, Meder, Kai van Zyl (Unlimited Auto Angri Polo) Tate and Kaap.

Then Swart, Joubert and Van Zyl were all handed a 30-second penalty for jumping the start, handing the win to Busi ahead of Meder, Swart, Bishop, Kapp and Joubert.

There was another surprise in the combined Laude Classic Cars & Bejo Trustees Fine Cars races, as class leader Franco Donadio’s previously all-conquering Ford Escort had no answer for rotary legend Dave Kopke and his equally notorious Mazda R100.

Kopke zoom-zoomed away to win the second outing by four seconds from Donadio, with Charles Arton, Michael Hitchcock and Eric van der Merwe in hot pursuit, while Theo Claassen and Coenraad Mattheef starred for the Fine Cars.

Defending champion Malcolm Rapson and his Racebase GSX-R1000 made the day their own in difficult conditions, winning both South Superbike Series races in fine style against very strong opposition.

Rapson, who is not noted as a hot starter, got a perfect launch at the start of race 1 and finished lap one narrowly ahead of pre-race favourites Trevor Westman (Team Wayward Project Sixty60 ZX-10R) and Ronald Slamet on the Vault Markets/True Vine ZX-10R. Then he put his head down and concentrated on turning smooth, consistent laps while his hotshot rivals carved each other up, to come home six seconds ahead of Slamet.

Kewyn Snyman’s Missile Motorcycles CBR600 was the first 600 home in eighth overall, with Michael du Toit (Danie Maritz Racing/Quick Pos R1) taking line honours in the second-tier Superbike Challenge, in 10th overall.

Slamet pulled a superb start in race 2 to lead from Rapson and Snyman but Rapson eventually passed Slamet on lap six to win by 2.5 seconds, while Snyman closed in to finish less than a second behind the Namibian, who was seen shaking his right hand fiercely on the cooldown lap in an attempt to clear an obvious case of arm-pump.

Reigning champion Slade van Niekerk (Project Sixty60 ER650) was battling for the holeshot with Tristin Pienaar on the KTM Paarl Kawasaki 650 at the start of the first Bridgestone STC 650/SSP 300 race when the rear tyre of his Project Sixty60 ER650 unexpectedly let go near the exit of Hoal’s Hook. That left Pienaar and Jason Linaker (RST Ninja 650) to battle it out for the lead – and what a battle it was, as the two swapped places on almost every lap, but it was the youngster from Paarl who was in front by a scant 0.095sec when it counted, with Lance Jonas (Samurai Racing/OneX/Magari Finance SV650) a distant third.

Van Niekerk was back for race 2, starting from the back of his class on the grid and finishing lap one in fifth. A lap later he was third behind Pienaar and Linaker, but the leaders weren’t about to give up their advantage without a fight. It took another four laps before Van Niekerk was able to move into the lead and even then he wasn’t able to shake off his two challengers as he, Linaker and Pienaar finished in that order covered by little more than a second.

• Dave Abrahams is the public relations officer for Killarney Raceway.

Rotary legend Dave Kopke and his equally notorious Mazda R100 (23) lead Francio Donadio (1, Ford Escort Mk1) and Michael Hitchcock (67, CrossCape Forklift Services Mustang) in the second combined Laude Classic Cars & Bejo Trustees Fine Cars race.
Franco Donadio (1, Ford Escort Mk1) leads the combined Laude Classic Cars & Bejo Trustees Fine Cars field into turn 1.
Ronald Slamet leads eventual winner Malcolm Rapson early in the second South Superbike Series race.
Arch-rivals Jurie “Umpie” Swart and Marco Busi dominated both Alert Engine Parts GTi Challenge races.