It was a case of Mazda rotary power versus nimble Volkswagen Sciroccos, and the tale of a humble Ford Capri’s Pursuit pace as the second round of the Ben Morgenrood Group Historic Racing South Africa series went down on a typically balmy Highveld afternoon at Red Star near Delmas on Saturday 5 March.
The action up front was extreme in two quite different heats in the Ben Morgenrood Group Historic Racing heats. Andre van der Merwe’s car set the cat among the pigeons with a super close overall and Class B win over Peter Bailey’s similar purple Porsche 911 RSR. Jannie van Rooyen’s VW Scirocco had Johann Smith in close pursuit early on until Smith’s Mazda Capella rotary stopped to allow Stuart Konig to make it a yellow Scirocco 1-2 in Class C.
Behind them, Andre ten Napel overcame being penalised three seconds for breaking out of the class lap time bracket to take Class C in his Scirocco from Evelthon Rotsides’s Datsun 240Z and Rene van Rensburg’s Escort. Behind them, Riaan Roux’s Scirocco came out ahead of a fine battle ahead of Fred Konig in Class E after Konig was handed a 30-second breakout and David Leyshon stopped. That left Sean Hepburn’s Datsun 1200 in third after being bumped up a class due to a full breakout penalty for beating Class F lap time limits.
That left Ian Odendaal to take the Class F win from Steve Pickering’s Porsche 916 and Willem Vonk’s Escort. Class G winner John Simpson was another driver penalised 19 seconds when his Alfa Romeo Sprint GT broke out, as he battled Class F man Kola de Klerk’s Nissan 300ZX. Harm Beens Jr. was second in Class G from Stewart McLarty’s Ford XR3 and Tihan van Rooyen’s Porsche 924. Class C man Stefan Puschavez’s Porsche and Jaco Roux’s Class E Scirocco joined Smith and Leyshon in that early shower.
Peter Bailey led the second race for two laps but ran into trouble as Andre van der Merwe did not start. That left Johann Smith’s white Capella to fight off Stuart Konig and Jannie van Rooyen, who clawed back after an early off for overall and Class C honours. Behind them, Class D men Ten Napel and Rotsides held Puschavez’s C Porsche at bay, while Riaan Roux beat Fred Konig, penalised 12 seconds on a breakout, and freshman Sean Hepburn to the Class E win.
Ian Odendaal took Class F from Kola de Klerk and Willem Vonk, while John Simpson took another 9-second breakout rap en route to the Class G double as he put Pickering between himself, Beens and McLarty. So Jannie van Rooyen took the day and Class C from Stuart Konig and Ten Napel beat Rotsides to Class D, while Riaan Roux took Class E from Fred Konig and Sean Hepburn. Ian Odendaal won Class F, John Simpson took G and Peter Bailey Class B.
The Ben Morgenrood Historic Pursuit races delivered their regular handicap overtaking thrills as Mike Thompson held on to take the flag in his orange Ford Capri. Willem van Niekerk drove his Modified class Marauder to second ahead of ‘Youngtimer’ Mike O’Sullivan's Honda Ballade. Riaan Roux’s Scirocco was next home from Werner Hartzenberg’s splendid Porsche 356, Tihan van Rooyen’s Porsche 924, Rob van Aarle and Harm Beens Senior's Escorts and Kola de Klerk's 300ZX.
Thompson then did the Pursuit double from Rob Clark, who bounced back after a slow first race in his listing Citroën GS, and Machiel Oberholzer's Mercedes-Benz 190E in a Fines 1-2-3. Hartzenberg’s Porsche followed from Riaan Roux, champion Wynand du Plessis Sr's Porsche 944 S2, De Klerk’s Nissan 300ZX, Tiaan Smith’s Youngtimer Sentra, Henk de Klerk's Pajero Civic and Van Aarle’s Escort. So, Fines trio Thompson, Oberholzer and Hartzenberg filled the overall top three from Modified two Riaan Roux and Kola de Klerk, while Smith grabbed the Youngtimer trophy.
Ben Morgenrood Group Historic Racing SA heads on its annual autumn away trip to Dezzi Raceway on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast next, on Saturday 9 April.