Champions all round as Regional Festival wraps up in style

The 2022 Gauteng Regional Festival racing season came to a thrilling climax as changeable conditions and a slippery Zwartkops Raceway made for some surprise winners and changeable results through the day on Saturday.

The Mobil 1 V8 Supercars earned top billing on the day and they certainly did not disappoint, delivering three winners in their three races. Thomas Reib’s Lumina raced to a dry opening race win from Terry Wilford’s Mustang, Franco di Matteo’s Jaguar, Warren Lombard, Rudi Barnard and champion Mackie Adlem.

Wilford then slithered to an easy victory from Lombard, Julian Fameliaris’ Corvette, Adlem, Reib and JP Nortje in the damp second heat. But Fameliaris stole the headlines he when took a splendid final heat victory on a dry rack again, to nick the championship runner-up slot. Lombard ended second from di Matteo Reib, Barnard and JP Nortje.

The Pabar VW Challenge was another class to reward fans who braved changeable conditions with a most entertaining day of racing. It proved the day of the Masters, as Bevin led brother Wayne Masters home to win both those VW races. Champion Rory Atkinson fought back to third in the wet opening heat, while Mike Barbaglia completed the dry second race podium.

Behind them, Pierluigi Muzzulini and Yotti Nousias shared the Class C wins with champion Ian Walker second both times. 20-car Class B raced on its own as Stiaan Kriel returned to do the double. He beat youngsters Bevan Williams and Anthony Pretorius in race 1, before fighting Ryan Tholet’s experimental 1-litre turbo Polo and Ross Butt off in heat 2.

Zwartkops favourite, Peter Hills wrapped up his national challenge DOE Formula V championship with a fine opening race victory over Jaco Schriks and sons Brandon and Vaughn Hills, Gert van den Berg and MD Bester. Van den Berg took revenge over Peter and Brandon Hills in race 2, with Bester, Lendl Jansen, and Theodore Vermaak in chase.

Thomas Falkiner wrapped up the 2022 Lotus Challenge championship with a fine come from behind first heat win over title rival Jeffrey Kruger, Mackie Adlem and Andre Human. Falkiner then did the double with the second race win over Adlem, and Kruger and Rudi Barnard. Sean Hepburn meanwhile did the Locost class double, over Andrew Fulton and Miles Downard on race 1, and from Andre du Plessis and Fulton in heat 2.

William Einkamerer trotted to the first BMW M Performance Parts race win over Thomas Potgieter. Top Class B trio, Lorenzo Gualtieri, Andreas Meier and Lyle Ramsay followed, while Renier Smith took Class C from Hein van der Merwe. Leon Loubser then put one over William Einkamerer to dominate race 2, as Carlo Garbini took Class B from Gualtieri and Ramsay, and Dewit Oosthuizen beat van der Merwe to Class C.

BMW Classes D, E and F raced on their own. Nicholas Herbst took a wet opening heat from Eugene Gouws and Shane Grobler, while Anthony Pretorius took a surprise Class E win from Shaun Dodd and Dave Rehse. It had dried by race 2, where Neil Pillay put one over Manny Ribeiro and Gouws, as Dodd beat Arri van Heerden and Nicholas Fischer to the E win.

Karel Stolts’ Etios led Louis Scholtz’s Ballade and Andre Dannhauser’s Corsa to the same podium in both races of the always exciting Car Care Clinic Superhatch finale. Lenard Archer and Seten Naidoo shared out the fourth places. Nick Martin made Class B his own with a double win over Jonathan du Toit’s Civic in heat 1 and Melanie Spurr’s Polo in race 2, while Devon Piazza-Musso’s Polo beat Francis Aldrich to both Class C wins.

Louis Scholtz mastered a damp first race to take the Opening Car Care Clinic 111 GT and saloon race win in his Ballade, from Phillip Meyer’s Porsche, Bob Neill’s Focus and Mark du Toit‘s Civic. Class A two Mark Harvey and Andre de Lange followed. Mike O'Sullivan’s Ballade won Class X, Roland Hopkins Class B and Yorick Smith D. Scholtz beat Meyer in the dry in race 2, with JP van der Walt third from Class A winner Adrian Dalton’s Golf. Hopkins, O’Sullivan, and Smith all scored class double victories.

Class A men Andre de Lange, Paul van Niekerk and Karel Stolts took opening race Silver Cup honours from Class A+ man Giulio Airaga and Class B duo Freek Blignaut’s Mazda 323 and Wayne Pereira’s Golf. Chris Cronje won Class B+, Kenny Darroch C and Chantelle Bakkes took Class D. It was all change in a wet race 2 as Class B men Pereira won from Blignaut, with van Niekerk and Stolts in chase. Neo van der Walt won Class C, Cronje B+, Airaga A+ and Chantelle Bakkes won Class D to wrap up the 2022 Silver Cup championship.

Jagger Robertson mastered a wet opening INEX Legends race to beat Uncle Devin, Sebastian Lanzetti, Kyle Lawrence, Charl and Gerhard Roux. But Devin Robertson gained revenge over Jagger in the dry second race with WB van Niekerk third from Lanzetti, Charl Roux and Rian van Niekerk. Devin then took the final to take the day, with Jagger second in that race from van Niekerk Lawrence, Lanzetti and Charl Roux.

Class C driver Dirk Lawrence took advantage of the wet to win the first On Track Magazine Clubmans and Sportscar race from sportscar duo Brad Beningfield and Gerald Wright, Class D winner Tjaart Visser, and C man Mark Harvey and Kobus Brits. Sportscar men Beningfield and Wright made no mistakes in the dry second race to beat Lawrence, Class D man
Wayne Pereira, Visser and Class E winner Anton Bitzer home.

That ended a splendid season of Northern Regions Festival racing around Gauteng and the free State. It all starts again at the end of January, when several of the Regional Festival classes commence their 2023 race seasons at Zwartkops’ spectacular Passion for Speed weekend. Be there!