Superhatch Championship heating-up as summer approaches

SuperHatch was at Midvaal for the second time this year and showed just how strong we are by fielding 31 cars, certainly the biggest field of any category.

Warm up
With the class and overall championships getting closer and the end of the season fast approaching every point is crucial. The fastest driver in each class in warm-up is normally awarded one point but this could not be done because the timing was not working properly! 5 drivers appeared on the timing list without any times, another 4 were not even on the list even though they were on the track and some of the times were nowhere near realistic! So the club had no option but to disallow ALL times robbing drivers of valuable points. Usually, the grid is formed by taking the top 5 in each class from the previous event and reversing the finishing order, however the rest of the field goes on warm up times but this was not possible on a day like this so we had to go on the championship points.

Race 1
Pole man Andre de Lange didn’t make it to the grid after crashing into the barrier at the end of the straight in warm up, so the lineup was Ishmael Baloyi (TAR – VW Golf) ahead of Geoff Tugwell (Connect-it – VW Golf) and rookie Brett Garland (JS Racing – Honda Civic). A clean start saw Tugwell take the lead into turn 1 followed by Mark Silverwood (OKI – MINI Cooper) who had started 5th. Closely behind them were Seef Fourie Jnr (Rustic Stone – Ford Laser) and Mark du Toit (TAR – Honda Civic). Silverwood took the lead on lap 2 getting the inside line through turn 2 and easing past Tugwell through turn 3. Behind Silverwood, Fourie, Tugwell and du Toit squabbled for 2nd place finishing in that order and separated by only a second at the line.

Class N saw Anvar Haffejee (Toyota Conquest) ahead of Jacques Joubert (Leatt Brace – Ford Fiesta) and the van der Westhuizen brothers, Basil and Jason. Joubert made a great start and lead by the back straight on lap 1, from then on he pulled away to comfortably win ahead of Basil van der Westhuizen.

Class B had Shaun Besteman (City Used Spares – VW Golf) on pole ahead of Nic Martin (RDG – Opel Kadett) and Chris Davison (Opel Superboss). From the start Martin and Mel Spurr (ASAP, Harness Co, George Economides – Opel Corsa) moved slightly away from the pack and were soon right behind the class A and N tail-enders. Hilton van Nieuwenhuizen (ASAP – Peugeot 206) and Pierre Lubbe (Trio – VW Golf) lead the rest of class B. Van Nieuwenhuizen quickly closed the gap to Spurr and started to look for ways to pass her, Spurr meanwhile was putting pressure on Martin. With 4 laps to go van Nieuwenhuizen got past Spurr and set out after Martin, Spurr and Lubbe were now in a real tussle and while trying to get through the back markers Spurr bumped the class A car of Baloyi while all 3 tried to go through turn one together, Baloyi lost ground and had to recover while Spurr and Lubbe didn’t lose a position and kept on fighting, crossing the line just 0.03 apart. Davison and Jaco Kriel (Opel Superboss) completed the top 6 finishers.

The Class C grid was headed by Marius Lotz (VW Golf) ahead of Vernon Visagie (Uno’s Africa’s – Fiat Palio) and James Menin (West Cars – Opel Kadett). The race was extremely close and an incident between Jeff Langeveldt (Fury Ford – Ford Fiesta), newcomer Andre Needham (VW Golf) and class B’s Shaun Besteman (City Used Spares – VW Golf) on lap 5 caused Langeveldt to retire. Needham was able to continue and take class honours ahead of Menin and Lotz.

Race 2
Joubert, having finished in 5th place on the road in race 1 had pole with du Toit and Tugwell in the 2nd and 3rd grid slots. As the lights went out Tugwell did not move forcing Silverwood, who started in 5th, to swerve to avoid him. Down the back straight du Toit lead with Joubert being quickly overtaken by the faster class A cars of Fourie and Silverwood. Fourie ran wide through the last turn on lap 1 allowing Silverwood to get past him into turn 1. Silverwood then set about closing the 3-second gap to du Toit and finally caught him on lap 5. Catching him was one thing but getting past was another thing. With the cars being so equal in performance all Silverwood could do was to follow until lap 9 of the 10 lap race when he got a good slip stream down the back straight this forced du Toit to keep to the right to defend the right hand corner at the end of the straight. Silverwood braked very late and took the outside line around the tight right hander and was next to du Toit into the following left hand corner, this time he had the inside of the corner and came out ahead. Du Toit was right behind for the last lap but was unable to get past Silverwood who took the win just 0.5 seconds ahead of du Toit. Fourie followed in 3rd just a second in arrears.

Class N was a fairly straight forward affair for Joubert who led from start to finish. Basil van der Westhuizen came home 2nd followed by his brother Jason in 3rd.

The class B grid had Davison on pole with Lubbe and Spurr in 2nd and 3rd. A good start saw Lubbe get into turn 1 in the lead ahead of van Nieuwenhuizen and Spurr. Lubbe and van Nieuwenhuizen pulled a small gap on Spurr who in turn had pulled a small gap on Martin, Davison, Johan Grobler (VW Golf) and Scois Joubert (Renault Clio). Lap 8 saw van Nieuwenhuizen make a mistake at the end of the back straight and run off the track, this allowed Spurr and Martin to close right up to him but with only 2 laps to go van Niewenhuizen regained his composure and held them at bay. The three of them crossed the line with less than a second between them. Lubbe, who drove a great race, took his maiden win.

The class C pole was Dean Gregory (VW Golf) ahead of Visagie, Lotz and Menin. From the start the four of them were locked in an awesome battle and had the closest racing of the day. At the line it was Visagie from Lotz and Menin.

Class A: Silverwood, Fourie, du Toit
Class B: van Nieuwenhuizen, Martin, Lubbe
Class C: Lotz, Visagie, Menin
Class N: Joubert, Basil van der Westhuizen, Jason van der Westhuizen

The next round of the SuperHatch championship will take place at Midvaal on 1 October.

See you all trackside.

Photographs in the Galleries