Fun in the wet

Dezzi fans en­joy ‘red mist’ ac­tion at Ford and Friends Day

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING - COLIN WINDELL

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.

300 Class

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.

Retro cars

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.

PHO­TOS: COLIN WINDELL

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.

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