Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series – Round 03 – Kyalami – 2020-09-05
Kyalami has lain forlorn this year given the Covid-19 pandemic, but on Saturday 5th September it opened its doors for a day’s racing, albeit without spectators, and the Bridgestone BMW Club Racing Series grabbed the opportunity with both hands. On a clear and balmy early spring day the 35 entrants relished the chance to drive on such hallowed ground and without exception everyone enjoyed the experience.
After two practice sessions in the morning, qualifying delivered some unexpected results. Paulo Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW F30 335i) was an unfortunate early retirement from the day’s events when his car caught fire out of Cheetah Corner, thankfully without major damage or injury to him, after swift reaction from marshals in attendance. In his absence his brother Rick Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW F30 335i) flew the team’s flag by putting his identical machine in pole position with a time of 1:49.758. Elwyn Steenkamp (Jeys Logistics BMW E46 M3), lined up alongside him, with Adrian Dalton (Xtra Clothing and Shoes BMW E46 M3) in third spot.
In Class B Andreas Meier (#TrainedAmateur BMW E36 STC) broke out of the class time and Salvi Gualtieri (Sav Speeds/Eataly Foods BMW E36 328i) did likewise in Class C, and for their sins the pair were then relegated to the back of the whole grid, rather than being bumped up to Class A and B respectively. That left Carlo Garbini (Kimbo Coffee BMW E46 330 turbo) at the head of Class B and in a good position to drive a solid race later. Ian Kotwal (Retoria Motors BMW F22 235i) was fastest in Class C, with Matthew Wadeley (#BeldiePolisie BMW E36 M3) heading the Class D runners. Youngster Nicholas van Zyl (Luxury Fragrances for Rides BMW E87 130i) led the Class E contingent.
Bernard de Gouveia (de Gouveia Accountants BMW E36 328i) was another non-starter with a broken accelerator cable, with Alan Hilligenn also having to put his return to action on hold, his BMW E36 M3 side-lined with electrical problems. Last but not least, Citizen Motoring’s Mark Jones’ raceday ended prematurely because of an engine problem in his SavSpeed BMW E90 335i.
At the start of heat 1 Loureiro jumped into an immediate lead closely followed by Steenkamp and Dalton. Garbini was holding station at the head of Class B with Len Henry Gobey (Lesavert BMW E86 Z4 M) and Jan Eversteyn (African Surprise/Big Boss Auto BMW E46 M3) in close attendance. With Meier battling his way from the back, the title chase in class B was in focus. Oz Biagioni (Bio Pool Maintenance BMW E46 M3) was trying his best to hang on, fending off the pursuing Class C mob led by Kotwal, with Dino Fameliaris (BMW E46 Touring 330 Turbo), David Coetzee (ELKSA Competition BMW E36 M3 Turbo) and Jonathan Matos (Matos Sport BMW E36 328i Turbo) all within spitting distance of each other.
Matthew Wadeley was stamping his authority in Class D with Varish Ganpath (Prodigy BMW E46 325CI) keeping him in his sights. In Class E van Zyl and Manny Ribeiro (Bridgestone BMW Club E46 330i Touring) were waging a fierce battle and getting in amongst faster machinery ahead of them, with Rupert Giessing (Bridgestone BMW Club E36 328i) also joining the party.
At the front Steenkamp then passed Loureiro and led for a couple of laps, the pair enjoying a good scrap, although Loureiro then retook the overall lead with an audacious move at the end of the straight, and he was not to lose it until the end of the 8 laps. Dalton trailed in third over the line.
In Class B Carlo Garbini drove a gritty race to win from Andreas Meier who in turn had scythed his way through field passing all his championship rivals bar one. Ian Kotwal duly won Class C, finishing ahead of Dino Fameliaris and Troy Cochran (Arrow Automotive BMW E36 M3).
In Class D Matthew Wadeley lost a certain win when he retired after 5 laps with fuel surge problems. Varish Ganpath had no such issues and claimed maximum points, with Eugene Gouws (Master Mowers BMW E36 M3) in second place and William Einkamerer (Liqui Moly BMW E46 330i) finishing in third. In Class E young Nicholas van Zyl took the laurels, with Manny Ribeiro right on his tail, and Giessing a little further back.
Race 1 Results per Class:
1. Rick Loureiro – 01:49.223
2. Elwyn Steenkamp – 01:49.483
3. Adrian Dalton – 01:52.525
1. Carlo Garbini – 01:59.260
2. Andreas Meier – 01:57.475
3. Jan Eversteyn – 02:00.810
1. Ian Kotwal – 02:02.205
2. Dino Fameliaris – 02:04.052
3. Troy Cochran – 02:05.088
1. Varish Ganpath – 02:07.801
2. Eugene Gouws – 02:15.654
3. William Einkamerer – 02:10.200
1. Nicholas Van Zyl – 02:13.135
2. Manny Ribeiro – 02:13.501
3. Rupert Giessing – 02:13.582
Fastest Lap: Rick Loureiro – 01:49.223 in Lap 2
Heat 2 started in late afternoon sunshine with all the classes inverting their respective grids. As they barrelled into turn 1 at the end of the long straight, Rick Loureiro again took the lead from 4th spot on the grid, and was not challenged again. Elwyn Steenkamp duly slotted in behind him, with Dalton in third place. Behind them Garbini was leading Class B with Meier again on a charge albeit from just the back end of the Class B grid this time.
In Class C Ian Kotwal was also demonic off the start line from his inverted grid position and he was soon on Dino Fameliaris’ case. Varish Ganpath was the leading runner in Class D with Wadeley not far behind, and fending off Hilligenn who managed to finally get his season going, after missing the morning’s 8 lapper. In Class E van Zyl, Ribeiro and Giessing were soon enjoying another terrific tussle, with Nicholas Herbst in his Class D Greenhouse Solar BMW E46 330i falling into their clutches.
Drama then struck when Garbini’s car slowed, seemingly with a broken gear box. Meier duly passed him for the Class B lead, while Kotwal was again in dominant form in Class C ahead of second placed man Troy Cochran (Arrow Automotive BMW E36 M3) with Renier Smith (#BeldiePolisie BMW E36 M3) taking a satisfying third after gremlins hindered his chances in the first heat.
Matthew Wadeley slowly reeled in Ganpath, to take charge in Class D. As the race petered out, Loureiro made no mistakes and got his brace for the day. Class E was another pulsating affair, with van Zyl keeping a perfect score of poles and wins so far this season and doing his overall title aspirations no harm at all. Manny Ribeiro enjoyed a thrilling day’s racing with the Edenvale High School teenager, finishing runner up to him again, but just as in heat 1, by a hair’s breadth. Rupert Giessing again completed the Class E podium.
Race 2 Results per Class:
1. Rick Loureiro – 01:50.144
2. Elwyn Steenkamp – 01:49.354
3. Adrian Dalton – 01:52.001
1. Andreas Meier – 01:57.765
2. Jan Eversteyn – 02:01.472
3. Oz Biagioni – 02:01.583
1. Ian Kotwal – 02:02.045
2. Troy Cochran – 02:05.049
3. Renier Smith – 02:05.706
1. Matthew Wadeley – 02:07.228
2. Varish Ganpath – 02:07.715
3. William Einkamerer – 02:10.175
1. Nicholas Van Zyl – 02:13.970
2. Manny Ribeiro – 02:14.192
3. Rupert Giessing – 02:13.642
Fastest Lap: Elwyn Steenkamp – 01:49.354 in Lap 2
Not surprisingly, van Zyl also took home the coveted Driver of the Day Award.
In the overall championship classification, after 3 rounds young Nicholas leads from Ian Kotwal, Andreas Meier and Carlo Garbini.
The circus now moves on to the Red Star Raceway outside Delmas, a totally different proposition to Kyalami, where battle will resume two weeks hence on the 19th of this month.
A huge 57 car entry in the Bridgestone Time Trials saw Leon Loubser record the fastest time of 1:52.243 in a BMW E92 335i, followed by Peter Zeelie with a time of 1:53.011 set in his Speeds entry, and Glenton Rebello in third place with a best time of 1:53.819 in his Birkin S3. The fastest time of the day however belonged to Rick Loureiro in his Combined Racing BMW F30 335i with a 01:48.973 in the second practice session. Johan De Bruyn in the Porsche GT3 Cup claimed the fastest Porsche time of 01:56.193. The time trials also saw Jaki Scheckter from the Pablo Clark/ iToo stable decimate his personal best with a 02:00.551 in the ex-Tony Viana BMW E23 745i Modified, a 35-year-old car.
Story by Tony Alves.
Report and Event Photographs: www.RacePics.co.za
Media requests can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
BMW Car Club Gauteng
Facebook: BMW Car Club Gauteng