Epic East London Extreme Festival thrills at Grand Prix Circuit

Saturday’s East London Extreme Festival delivered action worthy of its name across the board as some prospective South African champions tightened their grip on their beckoning titles, while other championship chases tightened up with two more rounds left to race.

Robert Wolk overcame a qualifying scare to deliver a Global Touring Cars masterclass and set up a thrilling end of season by winning both races. Wolk set an early pole position in his Toyota Corolla before going off track to bring out the red flag and watch on as his rivals failed to better his time. His car sorted, Wolk then got the drop on title rival Saood Variawa’s similar car and held on, as Variawa damaged his car in too close pursuit and settled for second from Julian van der Watt’s BMW, Andrew Rackstraw’s Golf, and rookie Josh Le Roux’s Audi.

Le Roux led the reverse grid second race until succumbing to extreme pressure from Variawa, who in turn yielded to Wolk’s pressure. Once by, Wolk romped to a dominant double win from Variawa, as he halved his rival’s championship deficit. Behind them, van der Watt held off a Rackstraw challenge for third. They were followed by Michael van Rooyen’s Toyota in a distant fifth after Le Roux stopped.

Behind them, Volkswagen Motorsport driver Jonathan Mogotsi bounced back to take a maiden GTC SupaCup victory in the second race, as he beat race 1 winner Bradley Liebenberg to overall victory. Cape Town rookie Tate Bishop also delivered his best SupaCup result yet as he claimed third in both races ahead of experienced duo Arnold Neveling and championship leader Keegan Campos. Masters class winner Danie van Niekerk ended sixth on the day ahead of racing lass Karah Hill.

Charl Visser was unstoppable as he raced to another double CompCare Polo Cup victory to tighten his grip on the 2023 title. It was not easy, however. He had to deal with early leaders, Anthony Pretorius in race 1 and Dawie van der Merwe in the second heat. Pretorius and van der Merwe ended second and third in race 2 from an impressive Dean Venter, Jason Loosemore and Nathan Victor after Farhaan Basha was docked a few places from fourth for unruly contact. Visser beat van der Merwe, Basha, Pretorius, Venter, and Giordano Lupini in race 2 to head home with an even healthier championship lead with five races left to run.

Troy Dolinschek and Nicholas van Weely traded Investchem Formula 1600 race wins as Dolinschek laid one hand on the 2023 championship at the spiritual home of South African single seater racing. Dolinschek fought back to win in a last lap move on Siya Mankonkwana, who slipped off track to allow Jason Coetzee to take second from KC Ensor Smith, Alex Vos and Mankonkwana. Nicholas van Weely emerged from the pack to steal the lead and hold on to a 0.08 second race 2 win from Dolinschek, Ensor-Smith, Gerard Geldenhuys, Coetzee, and Antwan Geldenhuys, as Ian Schofield took a close double Formula Ford Kent win from Duncan Vos.

Charl Arangies put his Audi R8 on G+H Extreme Supercars pole position from Franco Scribante’s Porsche, Jono du Toit’s Lamborghini and Paul Hill’s Aston Martin. Scribante kept the best for the race to beat Arangies, du Toit and Hill, Class A winner Marius Jackson’s Audi and Sun Moodley’s AMG GT3. Joseph Ellerine’s Audi won class C. Du Toit took the dramatic race 2 after Arangies was penalised for bumping Scribante, who lost a wheel cap that caused Hill to stop! Scribante also stopped but returned to end third from Gianni Giannoccaro’s GT3 Nismo GT-R and Moodley. Ricky Giannoccaro’s Lamborghini won Class B and Ellerine C.

Local lad Jayson Lamb laid down the SunBet ZX10 Masters motorcycles gauntlet with pole position over Graeme van Breda, Travis Naude and Pieter de Vos. Lamb duly took an easy race 1 win from van Breda, Naude, de Vos, Hein Mc Mahon and Brian Bontekoning. But the local lad was made to fight for the second victory from Naude, de Vos, Johan Le Roux, Mc Mahon and David Veringa.

Karah Hill caused a little sensation by qualifying on Toyota Gazoo Yaris League pole position from Nikki Vostanis and championship leader Sa'aad Variawa. A delighted Hill went lights to flag to win the first race from Variawa as Bjorn Berthold came home a distant third from Vostanis and the duelling Taariq Adam and Ryan Naicker. Variawa gained revenge in race 2, with Berthold third again from Adam, Vostanis and Naicker, but Hill did enough to take the day from Variawa and Bertholdt.

Setshaba Masigo took his regular GR86 Media League pole position from Brendon Staniforth and Chad Luckhoff, but Staniforth grabbed the early advantage to clear off and win from Masigo, Denis Droppa, Mark Jones, Toyota suit Mario De Sousa and Luckhoff. Masigo struck back to win race 2 from overall winner Staniforth, Droppa, Luckhof, De Sousa and Jones.

The National Extreme Festival now takes a seven week break before heading to Killarney in Cape Town on Saturday 10 September. Sounds like a day not to be missed, so diarise it now!