The 6th round of the autObarn SuperHatch Championship was held at a sunny Zwartkops Raceway as part of the Sasol Race Day. With the championship battle heating up, all the usual suspects were in attendance and ready to give it all. We also saw two new competitors entering the field – Nathan Lizemore made his debut in a VW Golf, and John Lange brought his beautiful Fiesta ST that he bought only the week before as a road-legal car.
As always qualifying was the first order of the day, but the session was red-flagged after Vernon Stoltz’ Kadett broke the gearbox which sent him off the track and into the wall at turn one. The super-efficient team of marshals got the track cleared in no time, and at the end of the session, Jono du Toit topped the time sheets with an impressive 1:13.250 in his TAR Honda Civic. In class B Nic Martin (RDG Opel Kadett) once again showed why he is the man to beat with a time of 1:16.241, and class C saw rookie Freddy Watkins (VW Polo) on top with a time of 1:21.788.
With the top 5 grid reversal per class from Phakisa’s finishing order, pole position was taken up by Brett Garland in his autObarn/Jonnesway/Total Honda Civic, with Chris Davison next to him in the SuperBoss. Class B saw Samuel Gerber in front in his Sand T Tuning Peugeot 206, with Zane van Zyl (Credit Guarantee Gold MK 2) lined up next to him. Vernon Stoltz managed to get his Jestik/Episerve Opel Kadett repaired, and was in pole position for class C, with Craig Priestley (Tactical Fluid Ford Laser) next to him.
When the lights went out, all the cars managed to safely make it through turn one and two, and the race was on between du Toit and Garland. The spectators were treated to quite a spectacle as the two had a hard, clean fight all through the race, with du Toit trying all he could to get past Garland. There were several times that du Toit managed to get in next to Garland, but Garland held his nerve and beat du Toit by a mere 0.2s to the flag. Chris Davison was having a good run in the third position, but an ailing wheel bearing caused him to fall off the track and hand 3rd place to Reno van Heerden in his stunning Hot Wheels Peugeot 206. Tyler Scott (Jestik/Episerve/Lopec Opel Kadett) also managed to get past Davison to secure 4th in class.
With the large field of cars in class B, it was always going to be a hard fought battle for the top spots on the podium. Nic Martin navigated his way through the traffic perfectly on the opening lap and took the lead after starting in 5th position on the grid. Throughout the field, there were constant battles with positions changing on every lap, but eventually Zane van Zyl made up for his bad start and passed Robert Grieve in the ASAP Peugeot 307 on the last lap to secure 2nd position. Grieve finished in 3rd, followed home by Ishmael Baloyi (TAR Honda Civic) and Andre Dannhauser (Pro Auto Rubber Opel Corsa) in 5th.
In class C everybody got away cleanly, but on the opening lap, Vernon Stoltz’s Kadett had a pipe come loose forcing him to retire. Priestley was in the lead followed by Freddy Watkins in his Polo Playa, but Barry Viljoen (BB Diagnostics & Services) managed to find a way past the both of them to secure his first ever win in SuperHatch. Priestley managed to hold Watkins off to secure 2nd position to continue his run of good results.
The grid for race two saw a vacant pole position as Davison chose not to risk going out with a stricken car. Tyler Scott would now lead the field away, followed by van Heerden and Karel Stols in his PTA Noord Toyota Run X. Class B saw Dannhauser’s Corsa on pole with Ishmael Baloyi next to him. In class C, Lizemore had to withdraw following a blown head gasket, so this left Watkins on pole with Priestley, Viljoen and Stoltz ready to take the fight to him.
The start went off without incident, and in class A, du Toit made a clean break and took the lead. He was closely followed by Garland as they left the field behind, and managed to keep it all together for the entire race, never affording Garland the chance to take the lead away from him. Stoltz had a real battle with van Heerden and Scott and soon made his way up to 3rd position on lap four. Scott managed to keep van Heerden at bay, and got himself some well-deserved points for 4th place.
In class B Dannhauser made the most of the pole position and made a cracking start by getting past some class A cars on the opening lap, with Ishmael Baloyi right on his heels. Nic Martin also had an excellent start, but it all got negated when he could not find 3rd gear heading toward turn 2 on the opening lap and Louis Scholtz took the 3rd position from him in the Car Care Clinic Honda Civic. Martin kept his head down and cleared Scholtz on lap two and set about chasing down Baloyi and Dannhauser. Dannhauser managed to slowly make a tiny gap in front of Baloyi, and Baloyi fell into Martin’s clutches on lap six. On lap seven Dannhauser had Martin on his tail, and as they went into turn five side-by-side, it was Martin who took the lead and stayed there up to the flag to complete a double win for the day, extending his lead in the championship even further.
The class C battle saw Watkins taking the lead in the early stages of the race, holding off Viljoen and Priestley for three laps. Viljoen made the pass on Watkins on lap four and managed to hold him off until the flag to secure his second win of the day. Priestley kept it all together to ensure he finished on the podium, thereby maintaining his lead in the class C championship battle.
Class A: 1st Jono du Toit; 2nd Brett Garland; 3rd Reno van Heerden
Class B: 1st Nic Martin; 2nd Robert Grieve; 3rd Zane van Zyl
Class C: 1st Barry Viljoen; 2nd Freddy Watkins; 3rd Craig Priestley
The next round of the SuperHatch Championship will take place at Red Star Raceway near Delmas on the 2nd of September. The race will be run in a clockwise direction, so it will be a first for all the competitors. It is set to be another hard fought battle which will be a treat for all to see. See you there!
Report by: Andre Dannhauser
Photos by: RacePics.co.za