Round 4 of the Bold Marine Gti Challenge wrapped up and now a chapter in the history books, the series now heads to the halfway mark with round 5 set to give the crowd a thrilling spectacle come race day.
Amongst the excitement which is expected from the drivers, another pair of wildcard entries is scheduled for Saturday as series sponsor Bold Marine father & son duo, Arthur C (The Russian) and Chris Roberts will be campaigning a pair of Bold Marine/Garden Master Jetta II’s in Class A.
The team last competed in the 2015 season and are more than eager to get back behind the wheel and attack the Killarney International Raceway circuit. After a year and half sabbatical from racing, Arthur C returns from Singapore and is set to stamp his authority in Class A as he looks to return to the heat of the battle.
Chris will also be looking to leave his mark come race day as the ace has been testing his vehicle and familiarising himself with the behaviour of the new machine. Team Bold Marine/Garden Master was last out in a pair of Polo Classics, so switching to the Jetta II will be another learning curve.
But if round 4 was anything to bet on, round 5 will by no means be a walk in the park for the Bold Marine team. Last time out it was a 3 way tussle for class honours with the drivers almost swopping decals.
It was Jano van der Westhuizen (Wingfield Motors/Kwikfix Polo Vivo) who emerged victorious in Class A. The youngster delivered a sheer champion drive to claim the top step followed by the lighting quick Jurie Swart Jnr (Alpine Autohaus Polo Classic) with Shane Du Toit (KSD/Skilpadvlei Wine Farm Jetta II) completing the podium.
Van der Westhuizen had a proper fight with Swart Jnr & Du Toit as the top 3 put on some superb driving antics which gave the crowd their money’s worth. The current Engen VW cup campaigner could not rest for a single second as Swart Jnr was glued to the rear bumper of van der Westhuizen’s vehicle. Du Toit remaining close and ready to pounce should the leaders have made any mistakes.
On Saturday Swart Jnr will be looking to take revenge on van der Westhuizen with du Toit also spicing up the pot as all 3 fight for that all elusive victory and bragging rights.
The battle in Class B will be another show stopper as current class champion Eden Thompson (Somerset Refrigeration/MAD Performance Golf I GTi) will be looking to pull 1 back from ex-champion Jacques Geldenhuys (Ferroli/G&A Motorsport Golf II GTi).
It was pretty much a 2 way battle in the 1st heat as Thompson again put the pressure on Geldenhuys throughout the race but was unable to get the better of the ex-champ. The 2nd heat was even hotter as Mario Roux (Automar Jetta II) joined the battle up front after picking up issues in the 1st heat. Thompson fought furiously with Geldenhuys once again and showed his nose a few times but the ex-champ was unfazed and had just enough to claim the 2nd victory from Thompson & Roux.
On race day we can expect nothing short of a great contest between the 3 front runners as each competitor will be looking to claim class honours.
Coming from another great result is 2016 rookie of the year Earl Josephs (Silvermoon Roofing Golf I GTi). Josephs managed to get P4 in both heats as the 2016 rookie performed faultlessly. The rookie will be looking to go 1 better this round as he aims to finish on the podium with the front runners.
Another possible podium contender is the always improving Wayne Field (Coetzee’s Auto Coachworks Golf II GTi). Field managed to claim a 3rd in the 1st heat after the demise Roux. With Field finishing on the rostrum in secession will it be 3rd time lucky?
Not too far off the pack is father to Earl, Norman Josephs (Silvermoon Roofing Polo Classic). Josephs Snr managed to negotiate safely around the circuit to finish 5th overall for the day.
In Class C it was a day of Domination by the infamous Busi brothers with Marco taking a double pole and a double victory on the day to extend his lead in the overall championship. Marco currently holds a 12-point advantage over 2nd & 3rd place, but the ex WP karting champion is also aware that the rest of the Class C brigade will be fighting to reduce this advantage.
After last round Marco now faces even more competition in the form of his younger sibling Dario (Automan Polo Playa). The young gun continued with his impressive form to follow big brother home in P2 for both heats. Although just marginally slower than Marco, the ex WP karting champion could soon finding himself in a head-to-head tussle with his younger sibling.
It certainly was a round to forget for the current & overall champion Bryan Morgan (Greatsoft Payroll Golf I GTi) as the champ was plagued with a spell of bad luck which lead to an early retirement and unable to challenge for class honours. With the title fight still well in reach, Morgan will be seeking to slash the deficit to Marco in a bid to retain the title.
The fight for class honours is certainly a tremendous task in Class C as more threats come in the form Christopher Swart (Jacks Paint & Hardware Edgemead Golf I GTi) as the ex-champ is eligible to steal the victory from the rest. With Swart missing the 1st heat after tyre issue, the ex-champ managed to get a P5 after starting from the back of the grid. With a good grid position Swart could also be a threat to the victory.
A threat also best describes Jaco Lambert (BGA Auto/Paint Chemistry Golf I GTi) as the stalwart is eagerly waiting in anticipation for his maiden victory. With Lambert now frequenting the podium, the taste of victory could soon be on the cards.
Gideon Serfontien (Goeiehoop Onderdele Golf I GTi) is another contender for the podium as the whip comes from a podium finish in which he won a battle with current champion Morgan. Serfontien will be looking to capitalise on his run of excellent form.
Also seeking his 1st victory for the 2017 season is another lighting quick rival Jarred Simpson in the 2nd Greatsoft Payroll Golf I GTi who could create havoc amongst the front runners. With Simpson missing the previous round he will be looking forward to a strong return as the latter has resolved all the pending issues with his vehicle.
Another competitor who missed the previous round was ex-supercar champion Brad Wadeley (Charl Electrical Engineering Golf I GTi). With a refreshed machine, the ace will be looking for a good result come race day. More to watch out for will be surprise star driver, Ian Kapp (Hydracor Hydraulics Golf I GTi) who stunned the pack by having a top 4 pace. With Kapp showing significant improvement with each passing round, the pack leaders could soon face another spanner in the works.
Rounding out the class will be Dillion Joubert (TAC Steel/Powder Coating World Golf I GTi) and making his Gti Challenge debut is Divan Lazarus (Cheapercars Golf I GTi). Lazarus in no slouch to racing as the youngster (16 years old) makes the transition from stock cars to main circuit. Although his father Herman Lazarus campaigned the vehicle in class B last season, Divan will be starting out in class C to familiarise himself with the series.
It’s all to play for as the halfway mark beckons upon the drivers. With championship standings still closely matched together each driver will be fighting for maximum points.
Be sure not to miss the 5th round of the Bold Marine Gti Challenge which takes place at the Killarney International Raceway on Saturday 3rd June. Qualifying kicks off bright and early at 8:30 am with heat 1 scheduled at 10:55am and heat 2 to commence @ 15:05pm.
It’s a fight to the flag! This is Gti Challenge!
Written By: Byron Wanza