autObarn SuperHatch - 2017For the 7th round of the autObarn SuperHatch Championship, the competitors headed off to Delmas to compete at Red Star Raceway. This was the first time a SuperHatch race would be held in a clockwise direction at the track, so it was new territory for everybody.

Friday’s practice started off with Louis Scholtz’ Civic blowing its engine in spectacular fashion on the very first lap. He refused to let this ruin his weekend though – he returned the same evening with another engine fitted, ready to do battle.

Saturday’s qualifying went off with no major incident. Jono du Toit once again topped the timesheets in his TAR Honda Civic, followed by Brett Garland in his autObarn/Jonnesway/Total Honda Civic and Chris Davison in the yellow SuperBoss. In class B Nic Martin set the pace in his RDG Opel Kadett, followed by Zane van Zyl in the Credit Guarantee Golf 2, and Andre Dannhauser in the ProAuto Rubber Corsa. Class C saw the Golf of Shaun Besteman claiming top spot, followed by Alex Marques in the Aces Spares VW Polo, and Vernon Stoltz rounding up the top three in his Jestik/Lopec Episerve Opel Kadett.

Race 1

As always the grid was a reversal of the top 5 finishers of each class from the previous race. This saw Reno van Heerden at the front of the grid in his beautiful Hot Wheels Peugeot 206 with Tyler Scott in his Jestik/Lopec/Episerve Opel Kadett TS next to him. In class B the field would be led away by Trevor Stringer in his Peugeot 206, with Ishmael Baloyi next to him in his TAR Honda Civic. Vernon Stoltz would start up front for class C, with Craig Priestley next to him in his Tactical Fluid Ford Laser.

The start of the race was an absolute blur, with cars jostling for position right from the start. Some contact before turn 1 saw Garland flying off into the grass, rejoining the track again in turn 1. The action continued all the way into turn 3, where du Toit and Garland both went sliding toward the outside of the turn. du Toit slid off track and recovered after losing some positions, but Garland spun around and Davison was left with no space to go, smashing the nose of his SuperBoss into the nose of the Civic. The damage on both cars was too severe to continue, and both had to retire. Karel Stols also slid off in turn 3 but managed to recover. In all of this van Heerden kept his cool and found himself in the lead of class A, with Karel Stols, Tyler Scott and Mel Spurr in the G & H/ Rowlin/ Wealth Ave Volkswagen Polo giving chase. By the time the leading cars reached turn 4, Nic Martin was leading the class B battle, followed by Ishmael Baloyi and Trevor Stringer. Louis Scholtz was battling it out in 4th position, with Dannhauser hot on his heels.

The best ‘Getaway of the day’-award would have to go to Shaun Besteman in his class C golf though – he had a brilliant start, navigated his way through all the chaos of the first three corners and found himself clear of his competition, mixing it up with some of the class B cars and Mel’s underpowered Polo. Further back in the field Marques had to avoid the aftermath of the incidents, and fell back to last in class C, but patiently started working his way back toward the front. Unfortunately for Vernon Stoltz his race ended early with a suspension failure.

Back up front in class A, Stols unfortunately went off track and lost a number of positions. du Toit had worked himself back into contention, and was fighting it out with van Heerden and Scott for the lead. Nic Martin decided to join the party, and the four of them put on a fantastic show for the crowd, constantly swopping position. Tyler Scott was going well, but a misbehaving steering rack was making his life very difficult. His troubles multiplied when an exhaust leak appeared, causing a loss of power. This eventually caused him to fall back from the battle. Whilst all this was going on, Dannhauser had patiently made his way past Scholtz, Stringer and later Baloyi and Scott to get himself into 2nd position for class B, and 4th overall. Karel Stols had also recovered and was now behind Dannhauser, and the two of them set about chasing the leading trio down, each setting lap records for their respective classes. In class C Marques had managed to get past both Priestley and Viljoen to take 2nd position, before his motor blew on the very last lap. Viljoen and Priestley had a brilliant battle, constantly changing position.

When the chequered flag finally dropped it was du Toit who took the win, closely followed by van Heerden (2nd in class A) and Martin (1st in class B). Dannhauser was next across the line (2nd in class B), with Stols right on his bumper (3rd in class A). Trevor Stringer showed excellent pace and managed to pass Baloyi to round up the top three in class B. In class C, Besteman was on top form and took the win, followed by Viljoen (BB Diagnostics & Services) in 2nd, and Priestley in 3rd.

Race 2

The grid for the 2nd heat saw Scott on pole, with Spurr lined up next to him. Class B had Scholtz on pole, with Baloyi to keep him company. Class C had Priestley on pole, with Viljoen next to him ready resume their battle.

The start to race 2 was very busy. All the way up to turn 4 there were cars going door-to-door, but there were no major incidents. Stols had a brilliant start off the line, and took the early lead, but the Civics of du Toit and Garland made quick work of getting past him and left the field behind as they battled for the lead. The class B battle saw serious jostling for position on the first lap, with Zane van Zyl fighting it out with Nic Martin for the lead, followed by Baloyi, Stringer and Dannhauser. Class C saw Besteman again getting a great opening lap to take the lead, followed by Vernon Stoltz, with Preistley and Viljoen again fighting it out for third position.

One of the best races of the day was the battle between Spurr, Scholtz, Besteman and Robert Stoltz in the mid-pack. The fight between the 4 competitors brought back many memories of their previous battles over the years, with a clean, hard fought battle without any contact. Robert Stoltz eventually got the better of his competitors in the battle, and was overjoyed that his mechanical woes were finally at an end (touch wood).

Up front in class A du Toit managed to secure a gap over Garland, and on the second last lap Tyler Scott managed to overtake Karel Stols to secure 3rd position. In class B the battle between van Zyl and Martin came to an end when Martin’s clutch started slipping, allowing van Zyl to pull away and secure the win. Martin still managed to hold Dannhauser off who had finally gotten himself into 3rd position after a long battle with Baloyi. In class C, Besteman was well clear of his competitors and secured the win, with Vernon Stoltz running in 2nd position until the clutch cable snapped, ending his challenge. The Viljoen / Priestley battle saw Priestley coming out on top this time, and Viljoen getting some more points for a well-deserved 3rd position.

Overall results

Class A  –              1st: Jono du Toit; 2nd: Karel Stols; 3rd: Reno van Heerden

Class B –                1st: Nic Martin; 2nd: Andre Dannhauser; 3rd: Trevor Stringer

Class C –                1st: Shaun Besteman; 2nd: Craig Priestley; 3rd: Barry Viljoen

The next round will be hosted by Midvaal Raceway on the 14th of October. With the race being run in an anti-clockwise direction, it will again be new territory for the SuperHatchers, and the crowd can expect loads of action. See you there!

Race report by Andre Dannhasuer

Photos by Racepics.co.za

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