The BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series returns to Zwartkops Raceway on 11 June as part of the Regional Extreme Festival, where a full programme on the day should banish the winter blues from most fans’ minds.
The Series’ first visit to the Pretoria West venue since the season opener on 29 January sees Nicholas Fischer leading the standings ahead of Andreas Meier and Carlo Garbini. In the four rounds contested thus far, a lot of racing has delivered thrilling performances across all five classes.
In Class A, William Einkamerer (BTAS BMW E92 335i) has overcome reliability issues to score points consistently. An outright win could well be in the cards. Fabio Fedetto (BMW F82 M4) continues to improve, while newcomer Arri van der Berg learns the ropes as best he can in the BMW E36 M3 Turbo. Raaziegh Harris will join the trio while making his debut in the series. Harris, residing in Cape Town, will be competing in a BMW E46 328i Turbo.
In Class B, Andreas Meier (BMW E36 STC) has had to deal with persistent gearbox problems but has three wins on the board and has finished every race so far. He shares the class lead with Carlo Garbini (Kimbo Coffee BMW E46 328i Turbo), who has taken four wins out of eight starts. These two seasoned warriors are also in joint second place in the overall standings and have their eyes firmly on the big prize. Behind them, young Jagger Robertson has split his commitment to the BMW Series with the Polo Cup and gives the latter preference in date clashes but has nevertheless made an impression in the Viking/Big Boss Auto/LiquiMoly BMW E46 M3. Thomas Potgieter has come to grips with his monster Stone Hill Properties BMW F82 M4 and will be a growing threat going forward. Youngster Nicholas van Zyl (BlackJack Pawn & Bargain BMW E36 328i Turbo) improves with every outing despite mechanical issues thwarting his progress. Oz Biagioni (Design Lab and VR Fuels BMW E46 M3) is another veteran who can mix it with the best. Alan Hilligenn has also struggled somewhat in his immaculate C3 Shared Services BMW E46 328i Turbo but is always up for the fight. Motoring journalist Mark Jones is no stranger to the ranks and comes back in the Savspeed Racing BMW E90 335i. Lyle Ramsay (Fuchs Lubricants/Rich Racing BMW E36 330i) is a newcomer to Class B, having broken out of Class C for a second time in Round 4. Two names will be warmly welcomed back into the fold. Rick Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW E30 325is) returns after last racing at Kyalami in Round 2, and Rob Gearing has finally rebuilt his BMW E30 335is and will be as keen to put it through its paces, as we will be to see him do it.
In Class C, stellar performances across the board have made this the most hotly contested battleground in the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series. Mish-al Sing (TuneTech BMW E30 325is) served notice of intent early on at Kyalami, but since then, Hein van der Merwe (Stigworx BMW 328i Turbo), Renier Smith (BMW E36 M3 Turbo) and Trevor Long (Roof Surgeon BMW E36 M3) have all posted strong results with the leader board reflecting a scant 15 points between leader Sing and the rest of the top-five. Troy Cochran (Arrow Automotive/ATE BMW E36 M3) is also lurking in the fight for honours, not far behind the leaders. Vigen Naidu (SA Autotech BMW E36 M3 Turbo) is learning from his peers and should be amongst them soon. Nek Makris (BMW E46 328i Turbo) will also be looking to contend for good points.
In Class D, Shane Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox BMW E30 330i) has taken two wins from eight starts and has scored in every round on his way to the class lead at present. Manny Ribeiro (BMW Car Club Gauteng BMW E46 330i Touring) has been no less inconspicuous with a brace of his own. Father and son duo Craig Herbst (Victron Energy BMW E46 330i) and Nicholas Herbst (Greenhouse BMW E90 330i) are next up in the log and have also posted strong results, although mechanical retirements have hindered them somewhat. Arri van Heerden will line up in the V-Tech BMW E30 325i while Round 4 debutant Dewit Oosthuizen will pilot his Share Tracking, Spanjaard, Jonnesway BMW E92 M3. A driver who missed the previous round and will be looking to impress at Zwartkops Raceway, is Series co-sponsor Dawie Olivier (International Race Supplies BMW E30 M3).
Class E is led by Nicholas Fischer (Inside Active Group BMW E36 328i), who also happens to be leading the overall standings. Much like Shane Grobler, Fischer has gone about his business quietly to claim an impressive four wins from eight starts, finishing as runner-up on three further occasions. Bernard de Gouveia gave his new De Gouveia Accountants BMW E46 330cs a good start at Red Star Raceway with a win in Race 1, although teething problems also cut his efforts short in the afternoon’s second race. He was nevertheless encouraged and looks forward to better things. There is nothing like a club chairman with a sunny disposition. Mike Grobler (Grobler Motorsport BMW E46 328ci) has also put in solid performances and can snatch a win at any time, which he did last time out at Red Star Raceway in Race 2. Dave Rehse (D&K Racing BMW E36 328i) will be making his debut, while Shaun Dodd’s (MSW Motorsport BMW E90 328i) is a relative newcomers who have shown good form. Spiro Makris (BMW E36 328i) will also be in aiming to get closer to the front of the Class E battle. Javelin Ramsamy is set to make his debut in his BMW E36 328i.
On a sad note, Stigworx’s Adrian Burford, a much respected and loved motoring scribe and driving coach of long-standing, passed away recently, and his untimely death has shocked all who knew him. He will be dearly missed and on everyone’s mind.
A packed programme awaits enthusiasts on a short winter’s day and the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series will share the stage with G&H Transport Extreme Supercars, Pabar VW Challenge, Car Care Clinic 111/GT Sports & Saloons, Car Care Clinic SuperHatch, Lotus Challenge, INEX Legends, On Track Clubmans Racing, Silver Cup 2.0 and the Kia Picanto Cup. That’s a lot of bang for anyone’s buck. Racing starts at 07.15 for those who want to grit their teeth and brave the early morning frost.
The live stream for the event will be available on the BMW Car Club Gauteng Facebook page (https://tinyurl.com/3eaf2jvh)
Story by Tony Alves
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