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The 2021 Historic Racing South Africa season started on a high (and occasionally dramatic) note at the Red Star Raceway near Delmas in Mpumalanga on Saturday, 6 March. A few changes were made to the Pre-90 Sports and GTs and Pre-80s Saloons rules and a new class added a new element to the Charlies SuperSpar Pursuit series, where Wynand du Plessis Sr emerged on top.

Willie Hepburn made his intentions clear by qualifying the Pre-90 Class A Opel Rekord V8 four and a half seconds quicker than Rudolf de Vos’s spectacular Pre-80 Class B Basil van Rooyen replica ‘Little Chevy’ Can Am and Richard de Roos’s Porsche 911 RSR at the head of a healthy 33-car grid.

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Hepburn duly scampered off to take a dominant 35-second victory over de Vos who had to work to hold off Stefan Snyders (Class A Porsche 911 RSR) and Andre van der Merwe (Class A Porsche 911 RSR). Pre-80 Saloons Class C winner Deon van Vuuren (Mazda R 100) was next up, benefiting from class rival Johann Smith spinning his Mazda Capella in an opening-lap incident. George Avvakoumides (Porsche 911 RSR) followed with Class D winner Alan Green (Ford Escort Mk1) next. Class E went the way of Neil Lobb (Fiat 131) and Sean Hepburn (Datsun 1200 Deluxe) nabbed Class F honours, while Jan Jacobs (Alfa Romeo Sprint) secured the top spot in Class G.

Race 2 saw Vos lose a wheel and Hepburn blasted to an 11-second win over Snyders and Van der Merwe. Van Vuuren scored a double Class C win, but Stuart Konig (Volkswagen Scirocco) ousted Green to take the Class D heat victory. Class E went the way of Tony Lundin (Datsun 1200GX) while Sean Hepburn and Jacobs made it a double for Class F and G respectively.

Rule changes now see the Sports and GTs scoring Class A Pre-80 points on a handicap basis, which means that the Class A Overall Champion is likely to be a Sports and GT driver. Also new for 2021: a brand-new Modified Fines class for tweaked street cars joined the Charlies SuperSpar HRSA Pursuit handicap championship, which also enjoyed two cracking heats on the day

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2020 racecar Trophy class champion Werner Hartzenberg and his 1973 Porsche 914-6 wasted little time in stamping his authority on his new domain by defeating new Modified Fines rivals Wynand du Plessis Senior (Porsche 944 S2), Mike Thompson (Ford Capri 1600GT) and Willem van Niekerk (Matador Marauder) in race 1. Fines 2020 champion Rob Clark (Citroën GS 1220 Club) continued where he left off with a first heat class win aboard his fifth-placed Citroën GS 1220 Club.

Heat 2 saw Fines ace Bert van Aarle cross the line first ahead of the Modified Fines quartet Wynand du Plessis Sr, Clive Winterstein (Porsche 356), Jose Vasques (Mercedes-Benz 280E) and Werner Hartzenberg.

In the overall department Wynand du Plessis Sr took the day from Werner Hartzenberg, Rob Clark, Willem van Niekerk, Bert van Aarle and Jose Vasques. Clark took the Fines overall win from Bert van Aarle and Richard Tudor-Owen (Mercedes-Benz 190E). In the Modified Fines battle Du Plessis Sr beat Hartzenberg and Van Niekerk to the honours while Riaan Roux took the Trophy class first prize.

The next round of the Historic Racing South Africa season will be held at the Phakisa Freeway at Welkom in the Free State on 10 April by when, with a little luck, race-starved fans will be able to spectate again.

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