Thrills and spills mark BMW Series races at the Regional Extreme Festival

BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series – Round 05 – Zwartkops Raceway – 2022-06-11

A congested programme in Saturday’s Regional Extreme Festival necessitated that all the practice and qualifying sessions took place on Friday. The BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series duly complied and relative newcomer Arrie van der Berg put his A&A Dealings BMW E36 M3 turbo in pole position with Fabio Fedetto (BMW F82 M4) in second spot. Another Class A regular, and the first victim of the weekend was William Einkamerer whose BTAS BMW E92 335i suffered a blown engine and forced to retire for the weekend.

Teenager Jagger Robertson (Viking/Big Boss Auto/LiquiMoly BMW E46 M3) led the Class B field ahead of The German Andreas Meier (#TrainedAmateurs BMW E36 STC) and Rick Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW E30 325is). Nek Makris, making a comeback after fitting a new engine to his BMW E46 328i Turbo, was in fourth spot. Championship hopeful Carlo Garbini did not post a time after his Kimbo Coffee BMW E46 328i Turbo experienced overheating problems and he stopped before any damage could be done.

In Class C Rob Gearing was also making a comeback after a two-year absence during which time he rebuilt his BMW E30 335is. He took pole position ahead of Dewit Oosthuizen (Share Tracking, Spanjaard/ Jonnesway Tools BMW E92 M3).

Dawie Olivier (International Race Supplies BMW E30 M3) was also back for the first time since Red Star in March and held the top spot in Class D on the grid, with Nicholas Herbst (Greenhouse BMW E90 330i) in second spot and Shane Grobler (Mayfair Gearbox BMW E30 330i) right behind him.

Shaun Dodd (MSW Motorsport BMW E90 328i) pipped Bernard de Gouveia (de Gouveia Accountants BMW E46 330cs) and Nicholas Fischer (Inside Active Group BMW E36 328i) to the fastest time in Class E.

Field: Round 05 of the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series at the on 11 June


Race 1:

In beautiful winter weather the 37-car field came under starter’s orders shortly before midday. Arrie van der Berg jumped into the lead and by turn 2 he had young Robertson and Meier on his tail, the pair having relieved Fedetto of his 2nd spot overall. As the field then sorted itself out in the first couple of laps it soon became apparent that because of their huge number, the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series was going to deliver something special. Furiously contested dices were brewing in every class.

Meier took over the chase of race leader van der Berg having passed teenager Robertson. Nek Makris (BMW E46 328i Turbo) was making good use of his new engine hanging on to Rick Loureiro in 3rd place in Class B. Lyle Ramsay (Fuchs Lubricants/Rich Racing BMW E36 330i), newcomer Razzleigh Harris (BMW E46 328i Turbo) and Nicholas van Zyl (BlackJack Pawn & Bargain BMW E36 328i Turbo) were dicing mightily behind them.

Rob Gearing led Class C giving his beautiful newly rebuilt machine its best possible debut. He was on his own with Hein van der Merwe (Stigworx BMW 328i Turbo) some way behind him. Renier Smith (BMW E36 M3), Mish-al Sing (TuneTech BMW E30 325is), George Economides (BMW E36 M3), Troy Cochran (Arrow Automotive/ATE/NGK BMW E36 M3) and Dawie Olivier were waging war lower down the order.

In Class D Shane Grobler had things under control ahead of Nicholas and Craig Herbst (Victron Energy BMW E46 330i) who were running strongly themselves. Shaun Dodd, Nicholas Fischer, and Bernard de Gouveia were no less aggressive in contesting the lead in Class E, running nose to tail lap after lap. 

After 10 exhilarating laps Arrie van der Berg in the slick shod Class A entry won from Andreas Meier and Robertson both in Class B. Rob Gearing was unchallenged in Class C, with Shane Grobler also dominant in Class D. Class E was won by Shaun Dodd, with Fischer beating de Gouveia to the runner up spot. A notable retirement was that of Carlo Garbini whose problems in qualifying extended to race day, cutting his weekend short and dealing his championship hopes a big blow.

Class A: Arrie Van Der Berg (A&A Dealings BMW E36 M3 turbo)


Race 1 Results per Class:

Class A:

1. Arrie van der Berg – 01:06.904

2. Fabio Fedetto – 01:07.255

3. Raazleigh Harris – 01:08.344

Class B:

1. Andreas Meier – 01:06.982

2. Jagger Robertson – 01:07.296        

3. Rick Loureiro – 01:07.370

Class C:

1. Rob Gearing – 01:09.834

2. Hein Van der Merwe – 01:10.062   

3. George Economides – 01:11.668

Class D:

1. Shane Grobler – 01:12.810

2. Nicholas Herbst – 01:12.973

3. Craig Herbst – 01:13.382

Class E:

1. Shaun Dodd – 01:15.090

2. Nicholas Fischer – 01:15.666

3. Bernard de Gouveia – 01:15.825

Fastest Lap: Arrie Van Der Berg – 01:06.904 in Lap 9

Class B: Rick Loureiro (Combined Racing BMW E30 325is)


Race 2:

If race 1 was to be remembered for its competitiveness and sheer exhilaration race 2 will be remembered for totally different reasons. After a lengthy break, the 37-strong field was scheduled to start the second race at 16.45. With sunset fast approaching, out they came, and as if to antagonise Murphy and his law, things soon went wrong. Very wrong.

The safety car did two warm up laps because Spiro Markis was stranded at turn 4 and a lot of cars passed the SC before its lights had gone out because an extra formation lap was needed to remove the stricken car. After a total stop on the grid, a third warm up lap was then completed before the field could be released.

Debutante Razzleigh Harris from Cape Town led them away under the partially inverted grid format. He was then tagged by Thomas Potgieter but kept his lead. Before the elbows could come out and the fancied names could start making up the places forfeited under the inverted grid, Harris spun at turn 2. After re-joining in mid pack, the hapless Cape Town newcomer then dropped off the track at turn 1 on the next tour and exited his stricken machine, but a small fire called for an extinguisher and a safety car yet again.

As the field ran down the lap counter the no. 66 car was eventually extricated from its precarious spot by which time a red flag was brought out a second time.  The remainder of the race would consist of a 5-lap sprint after yet another complete stop on the grid. In fast fading light, off they went to complete the remaining laps when Oz Biagioni then spun off at turn 1 to bring out yellow flags one more time.

Race leader Thomas Potgieter who had broken out of Class B into Class A after race 1 and Arrie van der Berg had also clashed at turn 5. The race was then declared over. In all the confusion a few drivers were then penalised for passing under yellows, which inevitably delayed results, but eventually some hours after the chequered flag were waved a finishing order emerged. 

The two halves of the race were combined with Thomas Potgieter winning overall. Arrie van der Berg finished second to complete a good day, nevertheless. Lorenzo Gualtieri finished 3rd and first in Class B. Renier Smith won Class C and Craig Herbst took a brilliant win in Class D. The evergreen Mike Grobler won Class E. There were some big losers in all the chaos, because the normal race order was never really established, and the championship picture is a little more muddied going into the next round.

Class C: Rob Gearing (BMW E30 335is)


Race 2 Results per Class:

Class A:

1. Thomas Potgieter – 01:06.904

2. Arrie van der Berg – 01:07.255

3. Fabio Fedetto – 01:08.344

Class B:

1. Lorenzo Gualtieri – 01:09.501

2. Rick Loureiro – 01:09.304   

3. Oz Biagioni – 01:10.473

Class C:

1. Renier Smith – 01:13.503

2. Troy Cochran – 01:12.283  

3. Dewit Oosthuizen – 01:12.688

Class D:

1. Craig Herbst – 01:15.746

2. Manny Ribeiro – 01:16.754

3. Shane Grobler – 01:16.682

Class E:

1. Mike Grobler – 01:17.292

2. Nicholas Fischer – 01:17.982

3. Bernard de Gouveia – 01:18.011

Fastest Lap: Thomas Potgieter – 01:06.904 in Lap 3

Class D: Craig Herbst (Victron Energy BMW E46 330i)


The coveted Driver of the Day Award was won by Rob Gearing for his convincing win in Class C in race 1.

The next round of the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series is scheduled to take place at Phakisa in July, subject to a track inspection at the Goldfields venue. More information will be communicated in due course.

Class E: Nicholas Fischer (Inside Active Group BMW E36 328i)


Story by Tony Alves.

Report and Event Photographs:

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