The first round of the 2016 Inland Championship took place at the Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday 5 March, with close and competitive racing setting the tone for an exciting year ahead.
The tag line of ‘Real People, Real Racing’ rang true with the diverse field of categories catering to everyone’s taste.
The Big Boss Auto Super Saloons category brought out the rolling thunder with two exciting races. Series debutant Seef Fourie (Chev Lumina) grabbed pole position and comfortably led the first race until differential problems forced him to retire on lap six. Franco Di Matteo (Jaguar) went on to claim the victory ahead of Ben Morgenrood (Ford Mustang) and Willie Hepburn (Opel Rekord). Jody Vianna (Mazda RX8) took the GT3 category win with Chris Hoy (Renault Megane) taking the GT4 honours.
A drama filled second race saw the red flag come out on lap four when an electrical short caused a catastrophic fire in Hoy’s immaculate Renault. When the race restarted it was Mackie Adlem who took the lead ahead of Morgenrood and Terry Wilford (Ford Falcon). Adlem held on for the win ahead of Wilford with young Amos Cockerham Junior (Chev Corvette) grabbing third position. Hepburn claimed the GT2 honours yet again with Vianna taking the double in GT3. Adrian Dalton (VW Golf) picked up the win in GT4 with Jimmy Tsimenglou (BMW M3) taking the double in GT5.
The Bridgestone BMW Car Club series made their first appearance as a Regional category with two action packed races keeping the fans on their feet. Poleman Julian Fameliaris (E36 328i Turbo) grabbed the lead ahead of Carlo Garbini (E46 328i Turbo), Manny Ribeiro (E46 M3 GTR). Fameliaris held on for the overall and class A victory ahead of class B winner Ribeiro with Garbini in third. Mish-al Sing (E30 325i) took the class C honours with Craig Ball (E36 328i) taking class D.
An inverted grid by class for the second race set the cat amongst the pigeons. A hard charging Ribeiro took the overall and class B victory ahead of class A winner Dino Fameliaris (E46 M3 Turbo). Jimmy Tsimenglou (BMW M3) took the class C honours with Ball taking the double in class D.
The Inex Legends Championship had three enthralling races with non-stop action all the way. The first heat saw Divan Myburgh (Pro) fighting off Justin Robertson (Master), and Anro Stadler (Semi-Pro) to take the victory. Fifth placed Clinton Bezuidenhout took the Young Lions honours. Race two saw Myburgh take the overall honours ahead of Keagan Wessels (Pro) with Robertson claiming third. Fifth placed Lonika Maartens took the Semi-Pro class with Bezuidenhout taking another Young Lions win. Myburgh completed a perfect day by claiming the hat trick in the final race ahead of Seef Fourie (Pro) and Wessels. Robertson and Maartens claimed the triple crown in the Masters and Semi-Pro category as well.
The Yokohama MPC and SRA event produced two close races as well. Dirk Lawrence (Honda Ballade) took the overall and class A victory ahead of team mate Jeff Langeveldt (Honda CRX), while third placed Adrian Dalton (VW Golf) claimed the class B win. Kalyn Miller (Ford Icon) claimed the class C honours with Fritz Kleynhans (Shelby) taking the SRA class. The second race picked up where it left off with Lawrence taking the double ahead of Langeveldt and Dalton once again. Miller showed the men the way around the circuit to take the double in class C with Mario Nardini (Nardini SP308) turning the tables to take the win in the SRA class.
The Midvaal Historics / Trofeo Challenge saw some of the oldest cars on the day putting on a great display of competitive racing. Shawn Smidt (Datsun 160Y) dominated the first race to take the overall and class D win ahead of class E winner Brendan Parker Datsun GX Coupe). Third placed Warren Ewart (Alfa GTV 6) took the Trofeo Challenge honours with Jacques Mostert (Datsun GX Coupe) taking class F. Series newcomer Peder Jensen (Datsun Sedan) topped class H. The second race saw more of the same with Smidt once again taking the win ahead of Parker and Juan Gerber (Toyota Celica). Mostert claimed the double in class F with Paddy Venske (Toyota Corona) grabbing the win in class H. The Trofeo Challenge honours went to John Hendriks (Alfa Sud).
The AutObarn / Northern Bolt & Tool Superhatch brigade put on another one of their close quarter racing performances to thrill the crowds. The first race of the day saw Hilton van Nieuwenhuizen (Citroen C2) taking the overall and class A win ahead of Morne Human (Mini Cooper S) and Brett Garland (Honda Civic). Zane van Zyl (VW Golf) picked up the class B honours with Andre Dannhauser (Opel Corsa) taking class C. An exciting second race saw the tables turned on van Niewenhuizen when Human took a popular victory ahead of Garland and the first race winner. Nic Martin (Opel Kadet) took the class B honours with Tyler Scott (Opel Kadet) grabbing class C.
Formula Monoposto produced their own unique blend of exciting racing. Nicolas Zavalone (Speads RH08) was in unbeatable form and took an easy win ahead of Paul Schultz (Swift GTI) and class B winner Louis van der Merwe (Swift 92 GTI). Fifth placed John Maurien (Ray GTI) claimed the honours in class D. Zavalone proved that his first race victory was no fluke by dominating the second race as well. Van der Merwe took the double in class B while LJ Scholtz (Formula Vee) claimed the class D honours.
The 250 Superkarts were by far the fastest machines on the day with some competitive racing in both races. The first race was won by Bevan Williams with a best lap of 1:00.870. Kyle Lawrence took second position with Dewald Brummer taking third. Williams kept his good record with another victory in race two, with Brummer getting the better of Lawrence to claim second.
An extremely close race saw veteran driver Peter Hills (Rhema) claim first blood over Symm Grobler (Rhema) and Greg Wilson (Forza VW) in the Formula Vee category. Gert van den Berg came back strong in the second race to claim victory ahead of Hills and Wilson.
The Silver Cup category saw some good racing within its ranks. Marius Jacobs (Tigra Spaceframe) romped home to victory in the first race with Riaan Draper (Fiesta Spaceframe) and Kevin Paynter (Honda Ballade) in tow – Draper taking the class B honours and Paynter taking class C. Danie Deysel (Honda CRX) took the class D win. Emmanuel Athanassiou (VW Corrado Spaceframe) took the class A and overall win in the second race ahead of JP Bohlman (Tigra Spaceframe) and Paynter. Richard Berner (VW Golf) claimed class B honours with Deysel taking the double in class D.
The next round of the Inland Championship will visit the very popular Phakisa Freeway near Welkom on the 2nd of April.
For live updates on race days follow the series on Facebook: Facebook.com/InlandChampionship
For any enquiries, photographs or media reports on the Inland Championship feel free to contact Paul Blackburn on 082 900 6443 or firstname.lastname@example.org.