autObarn SuperHatch - 2017The penultimate round of the SuperHatch Championship was hosted by Kyalami Grand Prix circuit on 3 & 4 November. The SuperHatch category was combined with the 111 Sports & Saloons category, which saw just short of 50 cars on the grid.

Due to time constraints the initial programme allowed only one race on Saturday afternoon. After many hours of negotiations it was decided that qualifying would be abandoned, and replaced by a 5 lap race. Grid positions would be based on lap times achieved in the practice sessions.

Jono du Toit showed impressive pace in his TAR Honda Civic and secured the top spot for Class A, followed by the autObarn/Jonnesway Honda Civic of Brett Garland. In Class B it was Zane van Zyl in his Credit Guarantee Golf MkII setting the pace, followed by Nic Martin’s Car Care Clinic/RDG Baby Blue Kadett. Freddy Watkins came out on top of the Class C field in his Polo Playa, with Craig Priestley hot on his heels in the Tactical Fluid Ford Laser.

Race 1

Due to the field consisting mostly of cars from the 111 S&S category, the race would get underway with a rolling start. The start was fairly chaotic, with bits flying off cars even before the kink. Somehow the field managed to get around turn 2 even though it was three-abreast on several occasions. Things were starting to settle down a little bit, until the mid-pack headed into Crocodiles where an incident saw the end of the race for both Andre Dannhauser and Trevor Stringer. Dannhauser’s Pro Auto Rubber/Jestik Opel Corsa had the steering locked completely to the right from the impact, whilst Stringer’s Citrine designs/PTM Excellence Peugeot had lots of bent and broken bits on the suspension.

Out front Brett Garland had managed to take the lead in Class A, with du Toit in hot pursuit. Du Toit’s race ended early in lap 2 when both the motor and gearbox called it quits. Karel Stols in his PTA Noord Toyota Run X, now found himself in second position, and made a small gap on the battle that was on between the two Opels of Tyler Scott (EpiServe/Jestik TS) and Chris Davison.

In class B it was van Zyl who got in the lead with Martin just behind him. Louis Scholtz (Car Care Clinic Honda Civic) running in third position just behind Scott and Davison. Class C saw Watkins, Priestley and Barry Viljoen (Supa Quick/Best Drive Opel Kadett) having to contend not only with each other, but also a host of 111 cars between them.

When the chequered flag came out at the end of the 5th lap, it was Garland taking the honours in Class A with a convincing win, followed home by Karel Stols. Scott managed to hold a charging Davison off to secure the last spot on the podium. The Class B win went to van Zyl, with Martin in 2nd position. Scholtz had a clean race and finished 3rd , whilst Ishmael Baloyi brought his TAR Honda Civic home in 4th position. Priestley managed to hold Watkins off to secure the win in Class C, with Viljoen getting a DNF due to technical issues.

Race 2

Saturday dawned and the competitors worked on final preparations for the second race. Du Toit brought his Civic back with an engine borrowed from another car, whilst Stringer and Dannhauser did all they could to get their cars in a race-fit condition.

The grid was decided on the finishing results of race 1, with the guys who did not finish race 1 starting at the back of their respective classes. The rolling start went off well, with the only minor incident happening in turn 2 when Mel Spurr’s VW Motorsport/G & H/AKA/Castrol/Rowlin/Wealth Ave Polo got tapped and turned around by a 111 competitor. Garland was not in the mood to wait for anybody and promptly made a gap on his competition whilst everyone else tried to get themselves sorted in the massive field. Stols again drove smartly to maintain his 2nd position, whilst behind him Davison and Scott resumed their battle from race 1.

In class B it was again van Zyl who took the lead, with Martin keeping a close eye on him. Scholtz’s Civic was missing a couple of horses, but he managed the situation well to keep Baloyi at bay. Dannhauser’s Corsa had some handling issues after the incident in race 1 – he waved the field through and nursed the car home. Stringer was also stuck with issues following the race 1 incident, and also opted to take a cautious approach rather than take silly risks. The battle in Class C continued from race 1 between Priestley and Watkins, with Viljoen also looking to get in on the action.

Garland drove a faultless race to secure a double win on the day. Stols came home to a well-deserved 2nd place. Mechanical issues saw an end to the battle between Scott and Davison when Scott’s Kadett TS melted a piston on the final lap. This then saw Davison taking 3rd ahead of du Toit, who was running very low on power with the borrowed engine. Mel Spurr recovered well after her misfortune on the opening lap and took 5th place. Van Zyl was a man on a mission, and took a convincing win in Class B. Nic Martin again took 2nd position, with Scholtz in 3rd. Baloyi was kept busy by the 111 competitors, but still managed to finish in 4th, whilst Dannhauser limped home to a 5th place. Priestley again got the better of Watkins in Class C, giving him a well-deserved double-win on the day. Viljoen finished in 3rd position, with his Kadett’s engine spectacularly giving up on the in-lap.

With the final round to be held at Zwartkops Raceway on the 25th of November, there is still a lot to play for in the Championship standings. The Class A championship is going down to the wire between Garland and du Toit. Many drivers are still competing for honours in their respective classes, however it will take a small miracle for anyone to get the top spot overall away from Martin…. so this will be an event not to be missed…

See you there!

Race report by Andre Dannhauser

Photos by Racepics.co.za

 

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