The 2016 South African Circuit racing season started on a high note at the Zwartkops Raceway near Pretoria on Saturday (January 30).The annual international historic Passion for Speed festival filled Zwartkops to the rafters, and provided the huge crowd with brilliant spectacle, close racing and fantastic nostalgia.
The day’s highlights were the races for Pre-1966 Legend Saloon Cars. Jonathan du Toit (Chev Bel-Air) led from start to finish but behind him, war was waged.
Sarel van der Merwe (Ford Galaxie), Hennie Groenewald (Plymouth Fury), Pauolo Cavalieri (Ford Galaxie) and Mark du Toit (Chev Biscayne) banged and bashed around Zwartkops side by side.
Cavalieri spun the Galaxie, got collected by Groenewald and both retired, while Jonathan du Toit broke out of the formula’s time bracket and was penalized.
Thus Van der Merwe won from Mark du Toit, ahead of Denzil Bhana (Ford Anglia), Michael Campagne (Ford Galaxie) and Frans van Maarschakwaard (Ford Mustang).
In race two, Cavalieri got ahead and sailed away, only to be penalized for a jump start.
Again Groenewald, Van der Merwe, Jonathan du Toit and Clive Densham (Alfa Guilia Sprint) diced furiously around Zwartkops, with the crowd on its feet.
In the end, Van der Merwe crossed the finish line five hundreths of a second ahead of Groenewald, to win and receive a standing ovation from 8 000 people.
Jonathan du Toit finished third, leading home Clive Densham and Denzil Bhana.
The Castrol South African Tourist Trophy race over 45 minutes went to the Du Toit brothers Mark and Jonathan in their Lola T70 Spyder, followed by Donald Duncan (McLaren MB), Steve Hart (Ford GT40) and giant-killer Dennis McBeath in his two-litre Mpiti Renault.
Franco Scribante won the next race, ahead of Roman de Beer, Jonathan du Toit, Peter Jenkins and Neil Lobb (Lola T70).
The 12-lap Champion of Champions Legends race went to Lee Thompson (Chev Camaro), leading home Thomas Falkiner (Ford Mustang), Michiel Campagne (Chev Grand Corvette), Jeffrey Kruger (Chev Nova) and Chris Wilson (Chev Camaro).
Jaki Scheckter won both the G&H Transport Extreme Supercar races in his Ferrari 430 GT3.
The first time around he was chased to the finish by Lee Thompson (BMW E92), Anton Cronje (Subaru WRX), Tato Carello (BMW MGT) and Dawie Olivier (Baby Beemer).
In race two Tato Carello , Nicky Dicks (Ferrari F430), Willem van der Westhuizen (Ferrari 430) and Charl Arrangies (Ferrari 360) took the runner-up places.
Veteran rider Noel Haarhoff (Suzuki GSXR) made a stunning return to competition, winning both the Isle of Man TT races ahead of Graeme van Breda (Suzuki GSXR).
British hero Ian Simpson (Suzuki XR69) and Gavin Ramsay (Suzuki GSXR) shared the third places, respectively.
Chad ten Doeschate (GSM Dart) won the opening race for Pre-1966 Little Giants Sports and Saloon cars, followed by Shaun Cabrita (Mini Marcos) and Andy Gossman (Datsun Sunny).
Ten Doeschate spun away the lead in race two, with the first three places going to Gossman, Caun Helen (Alfa Junior) and Cabrita.
Robbie Smith (Capri Perana V8) and Sweden’s Gregor Peterson (Chev Camaro) diced furiously in both races for Pre-1984 Historic saloons.
They ended up taking a victory each, with Claes Paullson (Chev Corvette) and Jannie van Rooyen (VW Scirocco) taking the third places, respectively.
Gregory Thornton (Lotus 22) won the first Formula Junior race from Christopher Drake (Elva 300) and Richard Smeeton (Wainer C3).
The next time out Smeeton won from Thornton and Drake, with both races providing brilliant, non-stop dicing.
Patrick Dunseith (Formula Ford), Marcus Mussa (Merlyn) and Stuart Thompson (Dulon) filled the podium after the first race for Pre-1974 Single-seaters.
Dunseith won again the next time, followed by Thompson and Chris Clarke (Titan).
Rob Gearing (Birkin 7) and Jeffrey Kruger (Lotus 7) shared the two Lotus Challenge victories, with Jeff Gable (Birkin 7), and James Forbes (Birkin 7) taking turns in the two third places, respectively.