Championship challengers extend their advantage

With all their cars sporting pink streamers in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the leaders of all three classes in the 2018 autObarn SuperHatch championship extended their advantage at the top of their respective logs when the penultimate round of the series took place at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 13 October. Despite having to settle for two second places in Class A behind Jonathan du Toit (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic), Brett Garland (autObarn/Total Honda Civic) has a comfortable advantage at the top of his class log. A full house of points in Class B has put Louis Scholtz (Car Care Clinic Honda Civic) beyond the reach of this Class B rivals with Class C almost certain to go the way of Almero van Eck (Monster VW Polo) after he also took two wins on the day.

Jonathan du Toit leads Brett Garland
Jonathan du Toit leads Brett Garland

Cool and windy weather, with the threat of rain, greeted the competitors as they went out for their qualifying session. Du Toit was quickly into his stride, setting the fastest time in Class A by a comfortable margin. Garland, despite running a 1600cc motor after his regular engine destroyed its oil pump at Phakisa last time out, managed to take second ahead of Tyler Scott who was making his first outing of the season in his Jestik/Episerve/EBC/Lopec Opel Kadett. Scholtz was the quickest of the Class B brigade, six-tenths quicker than Raais Asmal (VW Motorsport Polo) with Zane van Zyl (Credit Guarantee/Rim Africa VW Golf) in third. Matt Cohen (BHIT / VW Motorsport Polo) claimed Class C from Robert Stoltz (Jetstik / Episerve / Lopec Opel Kadett) and Reno van Heerden (Monster VW Polo).

Garland grabbed an early lead in the opening race with du Toit dropping back to fifth after a poor start but du Toit slowly worked his way back up the field, taking the lead, which he held until the flag, on the penultimate lap. After an early sideways moment on the opening lap, Scott was the quickest of the rest of the Class A competitors but just couldn’t close the gap to the leading duo and had to settle for third. Karel Stols brought his PTA Noord Toyota Etios home in fourth in its first outing with Andre Dannhauser Pro Auto Rubber/Jetstik Opel Corsa) and Floris Stopforth (VW Polo) rounding out the top six.

Louis Scholtz leads the way in Class B
Louis Scholtz leads the way in Class B

Scholtz had an easy run to the Class B win in the first race but there was plenty of action behind him. Mel Spurr (G& H Transport/Wealth Avenue/Castrol VW Polo) grabbed second in the early stages of the race and, despite some serious pressure from both Asmal and Wouter Roos (Nathan’s Motorsport VW Polo), was able to hang on to the runners-up spot. Ishmael Baloyi (Trans Africa Racing Honda Civic) had his best race since the second round of the championship back in March, taking fourth place from Shane Forget (4Js Auto Opel Cub) and Alex Marques (Ace Auto VW Polo). Van Zyl, who was Scholtz’ only real challenger for the 2018 Class B title, saw his hopes dashed when a front wheel bearing on his Golf let go in the early stages of the race.

In Class C, van Eck was pushed all the way by stablemate van Heerden but was able to hang on to take the win by just three-tenths of a second. Marius Rossouw (Building Code Consultants/Ilanga Signs/CW Motorsport Opel Corsa) joined them on the podium with Cohen having to settle for fourth. Freddy Watkins piloted his VW Polo to fifth ahead of Craig Priestley (Tactical Fluid Ford Laser).

Race 2 was a repeat of the first with Garland leading the way at the front of the field before being hunted down and passed by du Toit, who went on to take his second win of the day. They were again followed home by Scott who had Stols not far behind him. Dannhauser and Stopforth took fifth and sixth respectively.

Scholtz got a great start to lead Class B in the early stages and avoid the chaos behind him. Spurr again ended in second, this time with a relatively easy path to the flag. Baloyi was just able to hold off Marques to take the final podium spot with van Zyl just behind them in fifth. Terrance Khalo brought his Trans Africa Racing VW Polo home in sixth.

Almero van Eck won both Class C races
Almero van Eck won Class C in both races

Van Eck and van Heerden resumed their Class C battle in race 2 with van Eck again coming out in front by a narrow margin. Cohen went one better than he did in the opening race, taking third ahead of Watkins with Stoltz in fifth ahead of Rossouw.

In the day’s overall standings, du Toit claimed Class A from Garland and Scott. Scholtz was the easy winner in Class B with Spurr and Baloyi joining him on the podium. Van Eck’s two wins gave him Class C from van Heerden and Cohen.

The regular autObarn SuperHatch competitors were joined on track in both races by the two finalists in the 2018 VW Driver Search. Driving Volkswagen Polos, the pair shared the wins with Bryce Pillay taking the opening heat and Shaheen Amlay the second.

The final outing of the 2018 season for the autObarn SuperHatch competitors takes place at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 10 November.