Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series – Round 05 – Red Star – 2020-11-14
At a time when a lot of talk is about blue states and red states, we will speak only of altered states here. All 33 of them, when the lights eventually go green, because at the time of writing that is how many will contest the last round of this year’s Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series at Red Star Raceway on November 14. With the overall championship chase on a knife edge, another much used term of late, all eyes will be on the battle at the top of the overall standings, but there is a great deal at stake in all 5 classes.
In Class A an old favourite returns from across the border. Darren Winterboer (Barons Motor Spares BMW E92 M3) makes the trip south from Zimbabwe, after sitting out the year as a result of travel restrictions. He is joined by another veteran Leon Loubser (BMW E92 335i) who raced in a Skyline R34 GTR in the old Class X before the series was instituted in its present form. Len-Henry Gobey (Lesavert BMW E86 Z4M) is the other big name in the class who hopes to see out the season on a high note. Sadly, neither Rick nor Paulo Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW F30 335i) will be present, the latter still to finish rebuilding his car which caught fire at Kyalami in early September. Rick has already clinched the class title. Adrian Dalton has also not entered, unhappy with his car’s performance at present.
In Class B, Andreas Meier (#TrainedAmateurs BMW E36 STC) leads the standings but trails in the overall classification and is aiming to win back to back titles in both. On the day, he will face stiff opposition from the usual suspects, namely Jan Eversteyn (African Surprise BMW E46 M3), Carlo Garbini (Kimbo Coffee BMW E46 330i Turbo), Oz Biagioni (Bio Pool Maintenance E46 M3) and Salvi Gualtieri (Sav Speed E36 328I), none of whom will make life easy for him.
Ian Kotwal (Retoria Motors BMW F22 235i) leads the charge in Class C, where social distancing will not be encouraged with the likes of Troy Cochran (Arrow Automotive BMW E36 M3), Renier Smith (#BELDIEPOLISIE BMW E36 M3), Dino Familiaris (BMW E46 325i Touring), Neil Reynolds (Valve Hospital BMW E36 M3), Rob Gearing (BMW E30 325i) all breathing down his neck. Lyle Ramsay made an impressive debut in the class at Red Star and is back in the Fuchs Lubricants BMW E36 328i. No masks here to block exhaust fumes.
Things will be no less fraught in Class D. Alan Hilligenn (C3 Shared Services BMW E36 M3) returned to the fold at Kyalami but consistency has eluded him. He would love to replicate the form which saw him crowned class champion a year ago, just to set a marker for the forthcoming season should he contest it. Varish Ganpath (Prodigy BMW E46 325ci) on the other hand, has put together a superb campaign with some classy drives and is in with a shout of the overall title too. Matthew Wadeley (#BELDIEPOLISIE BMW E36 M3) entered the fray this year after a long absence, but you wouldn’t have known it with a string of strong results which make him a favourite for Red Star. Bernard de Gouveia (de Gouveia Accountants BMW E36 328i), William Einkamerer (Liqui Moly E46 330i), Eugene Gouws (Master Mowers BMW E36 M3), Nicholas Herbst (Greenhouse Solar BMW E46 330i) and the evergreen Klippies Krige (BMW E36 M3) will swell the ranks further. Class D is looking rather inviting from a racer’s perspective.
Class E is where the current overall leader drives and it could deliver the new champion. Young Nicholas van Zyl (Luxury Fragrances for Rides BMW E87 128i) enjoys a slender 4-point lead over Andreas Meier and will have had his mind on Matric exams at the moment, but that should not deter him from applying his skills at taking charge of proceedings in Class E, a brace of wins on the day will not be easy, but that is the least the youngster needs to do against Meier, Eversteyn and Ganpath, all of whom have title aspirations of their own. As if that weren’t enough, he will also have to contend with fellow Class E warriors Manny Ribeiro (Bridgestone BMW E46 330i Touring), Carlos Gameiro (Lapace Racing BMW E30 325I), Bertie Rietveld (Bertie Rietveld Knives BMW E36 328i), Colin van Son (Bridgestone BMWE36 328i), Craig Herbst (Greenhouse Solar BMW E46 330i), and Nicholas Fischer (Inside Active Group BMW E36 328i).
Two rookies make their debut in the class and the series. Fabio Fedetto has done numerous track days and has converted his BMW M4 into a proper race worthy beast. Hein van der Merwe (Stigworx BMW E36 325i) entered the Kyalami track day in another car and has also joined the ranks. Shane Grobler returns in a new Mayfair Gearbox BMW E30 330i. Based on their qualifying times, they will be given a final class berth.
A huge field and positive note on which to end a difficult year should lift everyone’s spirits in anticipation of a bumper 2021. Both races will also be live streamed off the club Facebook page weather and connectivity permitting: BMW Car Club Gauteng
Current Championship Points:
1. Rick Loureiro – 50
2. Sav Gualtieri – 18
3. Elwyn Steenkamp – 16
1. Andreas Meier – 68
2. Jan Eversteyn – 62
3. Carlo Garbini – 48
1. Ian Kotwal – 59
2. Troy Cochran – 55
3. Renier Smith – 38
1. Varish Ganpath – 60
2. Matthew Wadeley – 45
3. Klippies Krige – 26
1. Nicholas Van Zyl – 72
2. Manny Ribeiro – 46
3. Colin van Son – 43
Story by Tony Alves
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