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Spectacular EP Championships come to a head

Spectacular EP Championships come to a head

Three Eastern Province circuit racing championships came to a head at Port Elizabeth’s Aldo Scribante Racetrack Saturday, with the highlight of the day being the Eastern Province Saloon Car Championship coming to a thrilling climax. 74-year old Celso Scribante won a dramatic on track day to take the Class A championship, before announcing his retirement from racing, while Class C driver Gordon Nolan took the overall championship by a single point after chief rival, Class E man Neil Roos crashed in qualifying.

Son Aldo Scribante put his Audi S4 on pole position ahead of the similar cars of Nick Davidson and dad Celso Scribante, Bevan Schwartz’ Corvette, Cape visitor Shane du Toit’s rudely quick Golf and Class B leader Ian Riddle’s BMW. Davidson fell off on lap 1 leaving Aldo to lead Celso Scribante before the old man moved ahead to take the first race win with Schwartz third, before Celso beat Aldo Scribante and Davidson in race 2. Davidson took the final as Celso Scribante followed him home, knowing he’d still take the class title by two points with Aldo third.

In Class B, Ian Riddle beat Deon Slabbert’s Polo and Thys Geyser's (Golf) each time as Kevin Kelly’s (Mitsubishi) hit trouble to leave Riddle to clinch the class title from Slabbert and Kelly as Riddle secured a hard-fought second in the overall championship too.

There was high drama in Class C as James Mattison (BMW) twice beat Gordon Nolan (Polo) to leave Nolan tied in the overall title race lead with Class B man Riddle with one race left to run, but Nolan duly took that final win to clinch the overall and class titles. Mattison ended second in the class title fight from Anthony Bridgett (BMW).

Richard Rath (Nissan) made short work of Class D with three wins, twice over Jeff Guscott (Porsche 928S) and once ahead of Stephan Aucamp (Jetta), who got the better of Guscott in the final; but the absent George van Baalen had enough points in hand to fend Guscott off for the class title.

The hardest luck story of the day had to be overall title contender Neil Roos (Polo), who arrived in the overall championship lead, but suffered a qualifying crash and could only watch as Michael Hart (Golf) beat Derik Gouws (BMW) and Daniel Bright (Golf) to all three class wins, while Gordon Nolan and Ian Riddle pipped him to the overall championship win. Roos ended third overall in the end, but duly took the class title from Gouws and Bright.

Wickus Basson (BMW) beat Fanie Aucamp (Jetta) and Theo Scholtz (Polo) to the Class F win as Aucamp took the class title from Ryan Britton (Golf), who endured a tough day at the races.

So just one point separated 2018 EP Saloon Car Champion Gordon Nolan from Ian Riddle and Niel Roos at the end, as Riddle took second on a count back. Celso Scribante and Nick Davidson took fourth and fifth from Derik Gouws, James Mattison, Fanie Aucamp and Deon Slabbert as George van Baalen rounded out the title top ten.

In other racing, Tanya Watts (Shelby) beat Alwyn Kretzmann and Fred Ballinger’s Lotus 7s to Sports & GT honours as Cape Town teammates Francis Carruthers and Steve Humble took their glorious Aquila-Corvette to a race win apiece in the opening two heats from Kean Barnard (Lotus 7) and Watts each time. Watts took the final from Kretzmann and Ballinger after both Carruthers/Humble and Barnard failed to start.    

On two wheels, George visitor Ricardo Otto (Yamaha) won all thee of the quicker motorcycle races from 600 rival Regardt Koen (Yamaha) with Masters winner Roberto Jonker (BMW) third from Daryl Norton (Yamaha), Rudolf Kleinhans (Yamaha) and Ivor Vermaak (Kawasaki). Otto did the double when he rode to victory in the smaller bike race too, with two race wins to one over Jaco Scholtz and Paul Jansen (Kawasaki).

In the classes, Ricardo beat sister Zante Otto (Honda) to the 300 win; Scholtz took Historics and Jansen won the 650 Twin race; Chad Bilsbury (Honda) took 400 honours; Gerrie Havenga (Yamaha) won Masters B, Ray Wood (Honda) New Era Historics and Mark O'Keefe Breakfast Run.

Historics racer Johan Barnard (Kadett) beat Coastal Challenge men Rane Berry (Skyline) and Ian Thompson (Rekord) to the opening Club Saloons race, before holding Joel Steenekamp (Kadett) and Thompson for the second race win and then Steenekamp beat Berry  and Thompson to the final race win. Overall, Thompson took Class S from Steenekamp, Darryn Vice (Anglia) won Class X, Gordon Bennett (Rekord) beat Paul Griffin (Alfasud) to Class T, Angelique Griffin (Alfa) won Class U and Ronald Scott (Escort) took Class V, while Barnard took Historic honours from Ari Bezuidenhout (Alfa Romeo).

Francois Wium (BMW) took all three Street & Fine Car races, beating Riaan Van Huyssteen (Citi Golf) and Robin Venter (Conquest) to the opening victory, before defeating Venter and Tertius Wium (BMW) in the second race and then van Huyssteen bounced back with another second from Shaun Benn (BMW) in the final. Overall Francois Wium beat van Huyssteen, Venter, Tertius Wium, Fred Ballinger (Birkin 7), Andrew Greenland (Datsun), Benn and Gordon Nicolsan (GT-R).

There is still one more race meeting at Aldo Scribante on 17 November highlighted by the popular annual Midas 3 hour, which entry is already fully subscribed. Should be a cracker as always!

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