The Historic Tour headed inland to the popular Phakisa Freeway circuit in Welkom for the seventh round of the 2016 season on Saturday 10 September. The day was run in memory of the late Ian Auret who contributed so much to motorsport himself.
The first race for the Marlboro Crane Hire Pre-79 Historic Saloons classes A – E and Pre-84 Sports & GT and Classic Thoroughbred category saw some close racing action throughout the field. Pole man Peter Jenkins (Chevron B19) took the lead at the start of the first race with Freddie de Kock (Porsche 911 RSR) and Philip Pantazis (Datsun IMSA 260Z) in tow.
Anton Raaths (Chev Camaro) had a change from his usual racing steed and was up to third a lap later. With the leaders breaking away in front the class E pack was just as close with Jackie Morrison (Ford Escort) fending of Gert Botes (Ford Escort MK 1) and Justin Ladner (Ford Capri). Raaths was on a charge and dived up the inside of de Kock coming off the back sweep on lap four to claim second.
Morrison was unlucky to retire on the same lap when oil pressure problems put paid to his chances. De Kock regained his second place on lap five while Pantazis slowed with overheating brake issues a lap later. Jenkins held on for the Overall victory ahead of de Kock and Raaths. Pantazis held on for fourth position with Fred Konig (Porsche 911 RSR) and George Avvakoumides (Porsche 911 RSR) rounding out the top six. A strong finish from John McLachlan (Datsun 1200GX) saw him take the class E honours ahead of Botes and Johan Prins (Datsun 160U).
Jenkins didn’t make it out for the second race which left de Kock to take an early lead ahead of Raaths and Pantazis. Avvakoumides slotted into fourth with Konig and Peter Lindenberg (Ford Fairlane) in tow. Raaths grabbed the lead through the “Horse Shoe” and set about trying to increase his lead. Konig saw his chances go out the window with a big spin through the hairpin coming off of the back straight, effectively ending his race on the spot. De Kock had settled into a good rhythm behind the race leader and made his move on lap four to take the lead with a bold move up the inside of Raaths through the tight turn nine hairpin. Further back in the pack Ladner was leading class E ahead of Morrison and Botes. Raaths slowed with braking issues leaving de Kock to take a comfortable win ahead of the latter and Pantazis. Avvakoumides held on for fourth with Lindenberg and Ladner rounding out the top six.
The first race for the Marlboro Crane Hire Pre-79 Historic Saloons classes F – H category was just as close with two exciting races. Pole man Wayne Lotter (Ford Escort) grabbed the lead through turn two with Mike O’Sullivan (BMW 2002) and Dave Leyshon (VW Scirocco) in tow. Quentin Willis (Ford Escort) slotted into fourth position with Barry Nel (Datsun 1600J) and Paige Lindenberg (Ford Escort) hot on his heels. O’Sullivan grabbed the lead on lap three with Leyshon relegating Lotter to third on the same lap. Lotter slowed through “Coke bottle” corner on lap five allowing Willis and Nel to get past him as well. A determined Nel then passed Willis through the infamous “Horse shoe” corner for third position. O’Sullivan held on for the win with Leyshon and Nel rounding out the top three.
The start of the second race saw Leyshon grab the lead ahead of O’Sullivan and Willis. Drama struck early with Willis and Dewald Nel (Datsun P510) touching heading onto the back straight sending both of them into big spins and ending Nel’s race almost immediately. O’Sullivan had grabbed the lead on the same lap only to retire through turn five a lap later. A repaired Lotter was on a charge as he took the lead on lap two with Leyshon and Lindenberg in tow. Willem Vorster (Ford Escort MK2) slotted into fourth with Rey Cornelissen (TVR Vixen S3) and Willem Slabbert (BMW 2002ti) in hot pursuit. A recovered Willis was fighting his way back through the field and slotted into fourth position by lap six. Lotter held on for an unchallenged victory ahead of Leyshon and Lindenberg.
The Sabat Lotus Challenge brigade was by far the biggest category on the day and produced great racing throughout the classes. Pole man Anton Muller (Birkin 7) went on to take a comfortable Overall win ahead of Jeffrey Kruger (Birkin 7) and Rob Gearing (Birkin 7). Muller took the class T honours as well with Kruger doing the same for class B. Fifth placed Chris Woolley (Birkin 7) took class X with fourteenth placed Mark Futcher (Birkin 7) taking class C. Sixteenth placed Johan Powell took a narrow victory ahead of Gerdus Smit (Locost Rocam) in class L. The second race saw Muller break away in an early lead ahead of Kruger and Gearing going on to take an easy win in the process. Jeff Gable (Birkin 7) was credited with second position and first in class B after Kruger was excluded on a technical infringement. Muller took the double in class T with Futcher and Powell doing the same in classes C and L respectively.
Good handicapping in both Historic Handicap Racing Series races saw two close finishes. With the nominated break out times being applied after the first race it was Jose Vasques (Mercedes Benz 280) who claimed the victory ahead of Kola de Klerk (Nissan 300ZX) and Frederick Marais (Mercedes Benz 350SE). Vasques and Marais took the top two places in the Marque Cars class with Rey Cornelissen (TVR Vixen S3) taking third. De Klerk took the honours in the Trophy Cars class with Stan Stacey (Alfa GTV 2.5) and Nick van Wyk (Porsche 924) taking second and third respectively. Cornelissen came through to take the Overall win in the second race with Rob van Aarle (Ford Escort 1300 Super) and de Klerk in second and third places respectively.
Two action packed Investchem Formula Ford races saw some great racing throughout the field. Dean Venter (Swift) picked up where he left off at the previous round by taking the first race victory ahead of championship leader Andrew Horne (Royale RP31) with Jeff Gable (Van Diemen) taking a respectable third. Venter didn’t quite have it all his own way in the second race and had to work hard to take a hard fought victory ahead of Horne once again. Veteran racer Allen Meyer (Van Diemen RF94) showed that he had lost none of his skill claiming an impressive third.
The GeaserWorx Endurance race kicked off to a frantic start with Peter Jenkins (Chevron B19) taking an early lead in front of Alex Gillespie only to pit a few laps later with a broken sideshaft. Gillespie took the lead and never looked back to take the overall victory. Barry & Dewald Nel (Datsun 1600J) finished in second and Dave Leyshon (VW Scirocco) rounding out the top 3 in the Saloon Car class.
Jeff Gable (Lotus Birkin 7) took the victory in the Lotus class ahead of John Oliver in second and Carel Schaap finishing third.
The next round of the Historic Tour will head back to the Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria on 8 October.