The 2021 Historic Racing South Africa season started on a high and occasionally dramatic note at the Red Star Raceway near Delmas in Mpumalanga on Saturday. A few changes to the Pre-90 Sports and GTs and Pre-80s Saloons’ rules should help shake things up, but little could stop Willie Hepburn this weekend, while a new class added a new element to the Charlies SuperSpar Pursuit series, where Wynand du Plessis Sr. emerged on top.
Willie Hepburn made his intentions clear by qualifying the Pre-90 Class A Amtec Opel Rekord V8 he raced himself in-period 35 years ago, four and a half seconds quicker than PE visitor Rudolf de Vos’s spectacular Pre-80 Class B Basil van Rooyen replica ‘Little Chevy Can Am and Richard de Roos’ Porsche 911 RSR, at the head of a healthy 33 car grid.
Hepburn duly scampered off to take a dominant 35-second victory over de Vos who had to work for second from Stefan Snyders’ Class A Steton Porsche 911 RSR, with Andre van der Merwe’s similar Evapco car next up, but the results behind them were a little shaken up following a first lap mix-up.
Pre-80 Saloons Class C winner Deon van Vuuren’s Hoosier Class C Mazda R 100 was next up, benefiting class rival Johann Smith spinning his Mazda Capella rotary in that incident. George Avvakoumides was sixth in his Liqui Moly A Porsche RSR, as he kept Class D winner Alan Green’s wheel-waving Ford Escort at bay. Richard de Roos was next up after being delayed in that first lap confusion, ahead of Andre ten Napel’s Class D TNMC Scirocco.
Smith recovered to tenth ahead of Class E winner Neil Lobb’s Fiat 131, Peter Bailey’s A Porsche and Class D runners, Rene van Rensburg’s Ford Escort and Stuart Konig’s Scirocco. All of them were compromised by that first lap melee. Riaan and Jaco Roux’s Class E Addfin Sciroccos were next up from Class F winner Sean Hepburn’s Hi-Q Midrand Datsun 1200 Deluxe, Class D runner Johann Barnard’s Fuchs Ford Capri and Stefan Puschavez’ A Porsche.
Jan Jacobs’ Class G winning Olifantsfontein Alfa Sprint kept Steve Pickering’s Class A Porsche 916 at bay, while Class F runners Mike MacGregor and Cor Kraamwinkel’s BMW 2002s and Ian Kilburn’s E Datsun GX Coupe all found trouble en route.
Without the chaos of a first lap incident, Hepburn then blasted to an 11-second win over Snyders, van der Merwe and Bailey in heat 2 after de Vos’ Can Am shed a wheel and retired. Class D top two Konig and Green were next up ahead of Class C man van Vuuren, de Roos’ delayed Porsche and third D man ten Napel.
Class E winner Tony Lundin’s Silver Guard Datsun 1200 GX was tenth from rival Riaan Roux in a Scirocco, with Johann Smith’s C Mazda and Puschavez’s Porsche between them and F winner Sean Hepburn as Jacobs made it a Class H double, too. So Willie Hepburn took the day and Class A overall, de Vos took Class B, Deon van Vuuren C, Green D, Riaan Roux E, Sean Hepburn F, Jacobs G and Thompson Class H.
Rules changes now see the Sports and GTs scoring Class A Pre-80 points on a handicap basis, which means that the Class A Overall Champion is likely to be a Sports and GT driver. Also new for 2021, a brand new Modified Fines class for tweaked street cars joins the Charlies SuperSpar HRSA Pursuit handicap championship, which also enjoyed two cracking heats on the day.
2020 racecar Trophy class champion Werner Hartzenberg and his 1973 Porsche 916 wasted little time in stamping authority on his new domain by defeating new Modified Fines rivals, Wynand du Plessis Sr.’s 1990 Porsche 944 S2, Mike Thompson’s Ford Capri and Willem van Niekerk in a Marauder in race 1.
Standard street car Fines class champion Rob Clark continued where he left off with a class win aboard his fifth-placed Citroen GS 1220 Club, ahead of race car Trophy top two, Riaan Roux’s VW Scirocco and Tihan van Rooyen in a Porsche 924. Modified man Henk de Klerk’s Datsun 280ZX was next home ahead of Trophy runner Stan Stacey’s Alfa Romeo GTV 2.5 and Jose Vasques’ Modified Mercedes-Benz W114 in tenth.
Behind them followed Richard Tudor-Owen in his Fines Mercedes-Benz 190E, Bert van Aarle’s Fines Mazda MX5, Shane Forget’s Trophy Opel Kadett, which replaced his Toyota SR5 Coupe that blew and engine Friday, and Clive Winterstein’s Modified 1957 Porsche 356 after Modified lass Lauren van Aarle broke out of her handicap bracket by lapping too quickly in her Ford Escort.
Fines ace Bert van Aarle took the second race from Modified quartet Wynand du Plessis Sr, Clive Winterstein, Jose Vasques and Werner Hartzenberg, with Rob Clark sixth from Willem van Niekerk and Fines winner Shane Forget in 8th. Lauren van Aarle was next up from Riaan Roux after Richard Tudor-Owen, Stan Stacey, Mike Thompson, Tihan van Rooyen and Henk de Klerk all broke out.
That meant Wynand du Plessis Sr. took the day from Werner Hartzenberg, Rob Clark, Willem van Niekerk, Bert van Aarle and Jose Vasques. Clark took the Fines overall win from Bert van Aarle and Richard Tudor-Owen; du Plessis Sr. beat Hartzenberg and van Niekerk to Modified Fines honours and Riaan Roux took the Trophy first prize ahead of Shane Forget and Tihan van Rooyen.
The next round of the Historic Racing South Africa season is at the Phakisa Freeway at Welkom in the Free State on 10 April, by when with a little luck, race starved fans will hopefully be able to spectate again.