Fun in the wet
Dezzi fans enjoy ‘red mist’ action at Ford and Friends Day
RAIN made for super slick racing at Dezzi Raceway at the weekend but did nothing to stop a large crowd from turning out.
The Ford and Friends race day honoured Willie Hepburn’s 54 years as a racing driver.
Hepburn (76) conquered the hearts of the fans, but victory was elusive against an on-form Mike McLoughlin in the Backdraft Cobra replica. The pair engaged in some scintillating cut-andthrust racing in the opening heat, with McLoughlin taking the chequered flag ahead of Hepburn and Darron Gudmanz third in a Ford Capri V8.
The track was dry for the second heat and the spectators were on the edge of their seats as the pair lined up on the starting line again. McLoughlin was fastest off the line but Hepburn took a gap in the second lap, to the delight of the spectators.
McLoughlin regained the lead and then Hepburn attempted to dive through on the inside going into the first corner, which was where the front left-wheel bearings on McLoughlin’s Cobra replica failed.
“As I went into the corner I could see he was trying to move to the right to give me racing room but his car suddenly turned left and we collided,” said Hepburn. “The damage was not extensive but the impact broke the steering rack on my car and gave Elton Fuchs dominated the KZN Road Racing Club’s Super Modified Class, where no quarter is given, nor asked. me a flat tyre.”
With both out, Gudmanz became a happy, if surprised, winner of the heat. McLoughlin had done enough to take overall honours for the day from Hepburn, Gudmanz and retro racer Colin Ellison in his mighty Ford Fairlane, with David Hoal (Ford Escort) fifth overall.
Super GT title
For Duncan dos Reis (Pirelli Porsche) it was a happy day as he clinched the 2018 Super GT title, winning the opening heat of the day from Willie de Beer (Porsche) and Jade Gutzeit (Mazda MX 5).
Mike McLoughlin failed to finish the first heat with mechanical issues, but came back strong in the second to take the Cobra replica to an overall win and a stunning 1:15,57 best lap (average speed of 118,8 km/h).
Dos Reis finished second and that secured the title, with Gutzeit third.
With just one round of two heats left in the 2018 series, Nikolai Conci finally put the 300 Class out of reach of his brother Jessie, although both Concis were beaten by Hein Etzel, having his first outing in the series this season.
The Etzel brothers each won a heat on their matching Husqvarna 450 machines, with Hein ahead on points and Karl confirmed in second place, and third overall for the season still to be decided.
300 Masters class
Gona Pillay wrapped up the 300 Masters class on his Kawasaki 300, although he was beaten on the day by a hard-riding Mark Jansen (Kawasaki 300) with Mark Desmond-Samuel, also Kawasaki, finishing third.
A large field entered the retro category. Franco Donadio’s immaculate Ford Escort won both heats with Louis Powell (Meissner Escort) finishing second overall.
Another Ford Escort in the hands of Meredith Willis finished third for the day, and was the first of the Retro Association cars home. Perhaps most spectacular was the monster Chev SS owned by Ollie Broome but driven on the day by Mike O’Sullivan. The beast shredding a tyre in the opening heat, throwing O’Sullivan off the track at one point with the Johannesburg driver needing all his skill to catch, tame and get the monster back on course.
Super Modified Class
Elton Fuchs (VW Golf) dominated the Super Modified Class with Ronald van Rensburg taking honours in Modifieds Class A despite a massive moment at turn five with Clinton Bezuidenhout in the opening heat.
Class B went the way of Rodney Potgieter with Quentin Lessing the victor in Class C.
KZN Road Racing Club honoured 54 years of racing by Willie Hepburn (76) with a Ford and Friends race day at Dezzi Raceway at the weekend.