Swart, Lupini on form in wild East London

Bullion IT Racing returned from a fast, rough, tough, and crunching CompCare Polo Cup encounter at the Border Region East London Grand Prix Circuit with silverware all round to celebrate a positive outcome. Both team cars may not have emerged unscathed from the action, but Jurie Swart ended third on the day to remain in a tight fight for the overall championship, while Giordano Lupini remains unbeaten among turbo Cup rookies with a grinding drive from behind to sixth overall.

Swart arrived at East London hoping for a strong weekend in the blue Bullion IT Racing Polo. But he had to work for it. “My pace was not as strong as expected on Friday and despite an aggressive strategy, I only just scraped into the Superpole shootout. “Superpole went better, and I put it third on the grid. “Then I was lucky to draw second out of the hat for race 2. “It was clear though that we were only fighting for second looking, at Dawie van der Merwe’s pole pace with a fresh engine.

“The races went as well as they could. “I had to fight a combative Charl Visser off in race 1 and ended third behind Dawie and my closest championship rival Clinton Bezuidenhout. “I could do nothing to stop Dawie powering past me early in race 2, but I found a way past Tate Bishop, who had drawn pole position after two laps. “Clinton had great pace later in the race and he managed to pass me.

“That gives Clinton the championship advantage by one point, but it’s our home race next and we should be strong there. “Dawie’s ominous pace could be an issue for us there and he has become a serious championship rival too. “That said, we are still in a strong position with two rounds and four races still to run. “Thanks to Gozzi, Hein and my dad and to Bullion IT Racing for another great weekend. “Now for Killarney on 17 September.”

Junior team driver Giordano Lupini endured a quite literally crunching day at the races in his red Bullion IT Polo. “We took an alternative strategy knowing that East London would be to be a tough nut to crack. “So, we decided to rather concentrate on race pace and leave our best resources for the last few races of the season,” Gio explained. “That meant our Friday pace was a little compromised and I qualified ninth for both heats.

“I had to avoid contact in the Complex on lap 1 of Race 1 and that dropped me way down to 13th, but I was back to 11th by the time we crossed the line and I just put my head down from there and picked them off one by one, passing Nathi Msimanga for seventh on the final lap. “It was a tough run and there was a fair bit of rubbing, but it paid off in the end. “Looking at the car after the race, my dad and I pondered how we should repair the scuffed doors and decided to make a call after the second race…

“I made a great getaway in race 2 and was up to seventh by the end of lap 1, when Nathi lost it in Beacon, Dean Venter lifted to avoid him, and I had nowhere to go. “I was bracing for a small impact with Dean, when Ethan Coetzee slammed into my side sandwiching me hard between Dean and him. “Despite all that, the car felt OK afterwards, these Polo Cups really are strong! “The safety car was then deployed to clean up the glass from my smashed right front and rear left windows and the rest of the debris.

“I was back in 12th after all that when the Safety Car went back in, so I put my head down again and just went for it. “The missing glass slowed me a little down the straights and the steering was a tad off centre, but the car was still good, and I made up several places. “I was chasing Jason Loosemore down for sixth when the race was stopped two laps early. “We now have no option but to change all four doors on the car! “I was delighted to make up eleven places through the weekend to end up sixth overall despite some major challenges. “Special thanks to Nian, my dad and Bullion IT Racing for all the effort and support.

“Unfortunately, race 2 was stopped early after Ethan Coetzee suffered a frightening accident after our shunt earlier in the race. “Ethan was rushed to hospital and is now in ICU awaiting delicate spinal surgery. “On behalf of us all at Bullion IT Racing, our thoughts and prayers are with you, Ethan.

“That accident also highlights major concerns about the East London Grand Prix Circuit. “An historic, challenging, and superfast racetrack, it remains the highlight of our racing year. “But driver safety is paramount, and that part of the track is scary dangerous. “Ethan is also by no means the first major incident there. “Something must be done to prevent what happened to Ethan again.”

“It may have been a challenging weekend, but both our drivers were great once again in East London,” Bullion IT CEO Clive Strover concluded. “Huge well done to both Jurie and Giordano and the whole team on a very good job. “Now we can look forward to the lads’ home race on 17 September. “None of us at Bullion IT can wait for that one!”