National championship racing returns to the Highveld

National championship motor racing returns to the Highveld when a full Extreme Festival program unravels as the twisty and challenging Red Star Raceway near Delmas in Mpumalanga, half an hour east of Johannesburg on Saturday 2 July.

Topping the bill, it’s a matter of experience versus exuberance in the Global Touring Cars as Toyota Corolla duo, Chemical Logistics’ champion Robert Wolk and rookie Gazoo Racing young gun Saood Variawa arrive separated by all of four championship points. They will have two more Toyota men, Michael van Rooyen and Mandla Mdakane, Julian van der Watt’s Ford Focus, Andrew Rackstraw’s Audi, and Brad Liebenberg’s Volkswagen Golf 8 GTC to deal with too.

Even closer, SupaCup rookie Leyton Fourie may have won the two most recent reverse grid second heats in his Express Hire Polo, but he has a gang of highly experienced drivers on his case. They include Jeffrey Kruger’s Universal car and Perfect Circle’s Keagan Masters, brothers Keegan and Jason Campos and another Polo Cup graduate, Arnold Neveling. Expect double trouble in the Masters category of the all-VW Polo SupaCup. Veteran Iain Pepper returns to torment Nick Davidson, Paul Luti, Andre Bezuidenhout and old rival Rui Campos.

Highveld locals will want to avenge out of town rivals in the Compcare Polo Cup. Bullion IT log leader Jurie Swart is one of four Cape Town drivers in the top six. Compatriot Charl Visser’s Universal car sits second from Gqeberha lad Clinton Bezuidenhout’s Stu Davidson Polo, another Cape lad, Tate Bishop, leading Gauteng lad Dawie van der Merwe and Cape rookie Giordano Lupini. Nathi Msimanga, Dean Venter, rookies Jagger Robertson and Ethan Coetzee and hot rod lass Lonika Maartens are also keen to restore Gauteng honour.

Just one national championship point splits Investchem Formula 1600 leader Josh Le Roux’s Master Stairs car and Antwan Geldenhuys Abacus Divisions Mygale at the top of that log. Behind them, Gerard Geldenhuys will defend third from Alex Vos, Nicholas van Weely and Andrew Schofield. Add young guns Ewan Holtzhausen, Jason Coetzee, Siyabonga Mankonkwana, racing lass Taya Van Der Laan, Storm Lanfear and Shrien Naidoo. GTC guest stars Julian van der Watt and Andrew Rackstraw will stir up the Formula Ford Kent class action against Duncan Vos, Graham Hepburn, Ron van Weely and Steve Venter.

The thundering Mobil 1 V8 Supercars make a welcome Extreme Festival return at Red Star. Jaguar duo Franco di Matteo and Mackie Adlem once again find themselves involved in the fight for that championship lead. Terry Wilford sits third in his Ford Falcon with Julian Fameliaris’ Corvette next ahead of Warren Lombard, Richard Fuller and Sam Dahl. The monster old school V8s should prove spectacular as they lay rubber around twisty Red Star.

DOE Formula Vee also returns to the National Extreme Festival fold after a race or two at regional meetings. There are one or two names that old school motocross fans will recognise at the top of that championship log. ‘80s MX star Greg Wilson holds a four point advantage over Lushen Ramchander and another former motocross grandpa Peter Hills at the top of that title tussle. Also watch for Gert van den Berg, Lendl Jansen, Shaun van der Linde and son Brandon Hills there.

Getting back to the regular Extreme Festival classes, things are heating up in the Toyota Gazoo Media Cup. Motoring scribes Ashley Oldfield, Thomas Falkner, Mark Jones, Sean Nurse, Jeanette Kok-Kritzinger and Lerato Matebese are becoming increasingly competitive as they prepare to continue fighting it out in a pack of identical Toyota GR Yaris.

The hugely popular Kawasaki ZX10 Masters will provide Red Star race fans with their shot of motorcycle magic on Saturday. That’s where Highveld native Veteran class rider Graeme van Breda has another swarm of Cape rivals all over his back. Masters class man Trevor Westman, Jayson Lamb, David Enticott, Ronald Slamet, Rob Cragg and Extreme veteran leader Johan Le Roux are all men to keep an eye on. These motorcycle madalas are classified by wrinkles, baldness, grey hair and age, rather than by speed.

Red Star’s full National Extreme Festival raceday commences with practice on Friday and Polo Cup qualifying in the evening, before the rest of the classes qualify Saturday morning. Racing proper starts mid-morning with two spectacular heats per class. Red Star Raceway offers great spectating with the entire 13-turn circuit visible off the main grand stand, good catering and clean, modern facilities. Find Red Star just off exit 485 heading east, half an hour outside of Johannesburg on the N12 freeway. What better a way to spend a fine Highveld’s midwinter Saturday? See you at Red Star!