Saturday 10 th March was the date set for the 2 nd round of the Burly Pro Gti Challenge in conjunction with the
Wingfield Motors Power Series at the Killarney International Raceway.
It was nothing short of spectacular driving and close racing, synonymous with the Burly Pro Gti Challenge, which
ultimately led to a few moments on track. The masses which made it out to the circuit were treated to undoubtedly
the finest calibre of main circuit action which the Western Cape had to offer.
For the first time in approximately 2 years, class A had an increase in numbers and front runners had the opportunity
to score full points.
It was returning veteran and ex Engen VW Cup campaigner Jano van der Westhuizen (Wingfield Motors/Kwikfix Polo
Vivo) who drew first blood from the torso as the superstar was in a class of his own. Van der Westhuizen was pedal
to the metal from the moment the young ace left pitlane. This awarded van der Westhuizen pole position, just the
start he was aiming for to kick off his 2018 season after missing the 1 st round.
Sharing the front row with van der Westhuizen, was returning driver Colin-Nicholas Meder (International Tube
Technology Polo 6R) who revelled in the handling of his new machine, albeit an almost identical vehicle to his regular
entry. “The car handles quite well and the grip is excellent which allows me to push slightly more through the
corners. I have a better feeling in this car” quoted Meder.
Placing his vehicle on the start of the 2 nd row was another ex VW Cup campaigner and series rookie, Paulus Franken
(Manitou Group Polo 6R). However, Franken’s car sounded quite rough coming into parc ferme and after the team
inspected the engine, decided to withdraw from the race. A minor setback for Franken who will be hoping for better
result in the next round.
A strong return for Chris Roberts (Roberts Racing Jetta II) who placed his vehicle in P4 after a long period of testing.
Roberts was quite pleased with the result as the he is still finding the limits. “The car is much better with the new
setup and I am still learning the limits of the vehicle. We are hoping to up the pace in the later rounds as I can feel
the car has much more potential” said Roberts after qualifying.
Starting in P4 was experienced and ex Engen Cup campaigner Francois “Trappies” van Tonder (Universal Healthcare
Polo 6R) who also put in a solid drive. Class rookie Jade Lynch (Tablebay Roadworthy Centre Polo Classic) had a good
run in qualifying but was unfortunately disqualified from the session for a vehicle weight infringement. Missing from
the timesheets was the always quick Jurie “Umpie”Swart (Alpine Autohaus Polo Classic) who failed to attach his
transponder and along with Lynch, was relegated to back of class for the start of heat 1.
The fiercely contested Class A lined up on the grid and looked ready to spring into action as each driver was itching
to get a good start. The lights went out and the pack roared into action with pole man van der Westhuizen getting
the holeshot and clearing off almost immediately into the distance. Slotting into a comfortable P2 was Meder
followed by van Tonder with Swart Jnr gaining a place over Lynch.
Swart Jnr was like a rocket launching into outer space as he was well aware of van der Westhuizen clearing off into
the distance. By the end of lap 2, Swart Jnr had managed to catch up to both Meder & van Tonder who were
involved in a tussle fpr 2 nd position. Swart Jnr wasted no time and executed a brilliantly planned out-braking
manoeuvre to overtake both Meder and van Tonder and gain 2 positions. Next on the list was leader van der
Westhuizen who also showed blistering pace from the drop of the flag. Swart Jnr did all he could but to no avail as
van der Westhuizen was unstoppable and crossed the line in P1 as the young gun lead from start to finish with Swart
Jnr in a strong 2 nd after a superb drive.
Meder was next to cross the line and take the final podium spot after a red hot battle with van Tonder in the 1 st half
of the heat. Completing the top 5 and final spot in class was Roberts after an incident free run. Lynch failed to cross
the line after having a big moment coming out of turn 3 on the penultimate lap of the heat which led to a broken left
rear wheel bearing & hub as well as a slightly bent rear axle. Fortunately the team was able to mend the damage and
have the vehicle ready for the 2 nd heat.
With the outstanding performance in the 1 st heat it was Swart Jnr who got pole for the 2 nd heat with 1 st heat winner
van der Westhuizen sharing the front row. P3 went to Meder with van Tonder in P4 sharing the 2 nd row with Meder.
Roberts was the next driver in P5 with Lynch in the final spot. Swart Jnr was looking to pull one back on the blistering
van der Westhuizen and keep the veteran at Bay.
The lights went out and Swart Jnr got an amazing start to put some daylight between him and van der Westhuizen
before the 1 st corner. However the advantage was short lived as pile up between 5 class B & C cars brought out the
red flag and the race stopped. The remaining cars all return to the starting grid to await the restart. Due to the
extent of the debris and the cleanup time, the 2 nd heat was reduced to just 6 laps. The field then proceeded with
another with another warm up lap and due to time constraints, switched to quick start proceedings.
The drivers lined up again with Swart Jnr & van der Westhuizen determined to get the holeshot. The lights went out
for the restart and both front row starters got off to a lighting start. It was again advantage van der Westhuizen as
the veteran waisted no time in opening up a margin on a chasing Swart Jnr who now also had to contend with a
lightening quick Meder who also made an excellent start.
With Swart Jnr now having to fend off Meder, this allowed van der Westhuizen to increase the margin at the front as
the young gun was flatbox down the straights. If Swart Jnr wanted victory, he would have to take it from the leader.
Swart Jnr got the hammer down and slowly began to decrease the deficit but it was just not enough as van der
Westhuizen was too far down the road. Van der Westhuizen made it 2 out 2 and returned with a dream start to his
2018 championship pursuit. Swart Jnr once again had to settle for runner up spot as Meder also made it 2 out 2
podiums first time out in the new vehicle.
Another strong 4 th position for the experienced van Tonder with Lynch bouncing back fantastically to finish 5 th in class
after his heat 1 woes and Roberts completing the class line up and unable to repeat his earlier performance. “The car
felt a little weaker in the 2 nd heat which was due to the long cleanup time between starts. I was unable to switch my
car off as we were experiencing starter problems. This caused the car to run much hotter as I was forced to keep the
car idling until the restart” quoted Roberts.
In Class B it was no surprise to see current class champion Eden Thompson (Somerset Refrigeration/MAD
Performance Golf I GTi) who topped the time sheets and achieved pole for the start of heat 1. With another strong
performance class rookie Gideon Serfontein (Goeiehoop Onderdele Golf II GTi) was 2 nd fastest, just beating out Mario
Roux (Automar Jetta II) in P3. 4 th on the grid in class went to returning 2017 rookie sensation and returning driver
Divan Lazarus (Cheapercars.co.za Jetta II) who sported a new vehicle for this season. Completing the top 5 was
Clubmans refugee Jean-Michel Masue (Provence Welding Polo Classic) followed by Wayne Field (Coetzee’s Auto
Coachworks Golf II GTi), Grant Cloete (Upstream Connect Golf I GTi) & Earl Josephs (Silvermoon Roofing Polo Classic).
With all drivers successfully through qualifying, the pack came onto the grid in pursuit of the victory and ready to
throw down. The lights went out and it was champion Thompson who got off to a great start with Roux gaining a
position and Serfontein slotting behind Roux after not getting a good start. But then it went a little south from there
for the class champ as Thompson had a big moment coming out of turn 3 and narrowly missed the inside wall of and
spun out. This incident handed Roux the lead with Serfontien in hot pursuit and Thompson dropping down the order
as the rest of the field flashed by.
But Roux was a man on a mission and managed to latch onto the lower order class A cars and catch a tow to open up
a large margin on the rest of the class B pack. Serfontien then got mixed up in a battle with another class A back
marker and was unable to close the gap on Roux who just kept crawling away while class champion Thompson began
to work his way up through the order. Roux was unstoppable and put on a faultless performance to clinch his first
victory for the season, making the class B title fight a 3 way affair. Serfontein kept his nose clean and followed Roux
home for another P2 and 3 rd consecutive podium finish with 2017 rookie sensation Lazarus completing the podium to
take his maiden podium in the class. Just missing out on the podium by a mere 0.1s was class champion Thompson in
P4 after recovering from the opening lap incident with Masue completing the top 5.
Coming home in a respectable 6 th , 7 th & 8 th in class were Field, Josephs and 2017 rookie Cloete.
For the 2 nd heat it was yet again Roux who remained at the top of the timesheets and acquired pole. Thompson’s
spectacular recovery was good enough to earn the class champion a front row start in class with wonder kid Lazarus
and 2016 rookie of the Josephs sharing the second row in class. Class rookie Serfontein could only manage 5 th on the
grid sharing the 3 rd row with Field. Completing the class grid was Masue & Cloete in 7 th & 8 th .
The lights went out to restart the 2 nd heat and it was class champion Thompson who got the jump Roux as both
drivers immediately got the hammer down and opened up a margin to the rest of the field. Serfontein was just
slightly further back in a lonely P3 as Lazarus, Masue & Josephs were involved in a tussle of their own just lower
It the front it business as usual as class champion Thompson had a score to settle of his 1 st round mishap and with
Roux having the taste of victory, the veteran was hungry for me. Roux was glued to the rear bumper of Thompson
and gave class champion a real race. With the 2 nd heat reduced to just 6 laps, Roux knew that race distance was
running out and kept piling on the pressure to the race leader. But Thompson made his car as wide as possible and
was determined to come out with win as he did all he could to keep Roux at bay. Roux fought hard and looked for
any opportunity to pass, but his efforts were to no avail as Thompson crossed the line in fine style to clinch the 2 nd
heat with Roux following suit in P2 and Serfontein completing the podium. Serfontien’s amazing form is definitely a
force to be reckoned with as the class rookie has not yet finished off the podium.
Just behind the rookie was a closely contested fight for 4 th position as Lazarus, Masue & Josephs chopped and
changed positions with each passing lap. Masue briefly held P4 on lap 3, however young Lazarus did not hang around
and immediately regained his position on the following lap with Josephs hot the heels of the 2 in front, ready to
pounce should anything happen. Young Lazarus kept his foot buried and opened up a slight cushion on Masue &
Josephs to finish in a well deserved 4 th position with Masue just pipping Josephs to the line for 5 th & 6 th respectively.
Cloete and Field were also having a battle of their own at the tail end but the 2017 sensation, Mr Consistency, put in
a great drive and passed Cloete in the closing stages of the heat to come home in 7 th with Cloete rounding out the
In Class C it was yet another round of exhilarating racing as the “wolfpack” were yet again at each other’s thoughts in
pursuit of class honours. Ex overall champion Jacques Geldenhuys (Ferroli/G&A Motorsport Golf GTi) was the first to
show his hand by getting pole from Christopher Swart (Jacks Paint & Hardware Edgemead Golf I GTi). Current overall
champion Marco Busi (Automan Golf I GTi) was next on the grid with Dillon Joubert (TAC Steel/Powder Coating
World Golf I GTi) in a strong 4 th in class & 2017 rookie young Dario Busi (Automan Golf I GTI) completing the top 5.
The class pack pulled onto the grid with Geldenhuys & Swart hungry for victory. The lights went out and it was
Geldenhuys who launched off line to immediately open up a lead on Swart & Busi and seeking his first victory for the
season. But the surprise sensation was inaugural overall champion Brett Roach (Cheapercars.co.za Golf I GTi) who
blasted through the pack from back of the grid to lead the class by the end of the 2 nd lap. Roach & Geldenhuys
maintained the pace at the front as Busi was eager to get pass Swart and prevent Roach & Geldenhuys from running
away with the race. However Swart also had amazing pace and drove defensively to keep the current champion at
bay. However Busi remained latched on Swart and waited patiently for his opportunity to pass. On lap 5 Busi
eventually got his opportunity and passed Swart in pursuit of the front runners. But lap 5 disaster struck for Roach as
the left side cv joint broke handing Geldenhuys the lead on a silver platter.
But Geldenhuys was not out of the woods yet as a hard charging Marco was slowly beginning to close the gap and is
no stranger to close knit battles. Marco got the hammer down and on the penultimate lap of heat was on
Geldenhuys’tail as the 2 had opened up a gap to the rest of the class. But Geldenhuys’ remained calm and defended
his lead from a fierce Marco. Geldenhuys’ superb drive was enough to see him through to victory in an amazing drag
race to the line as Marco just ran out of distance. Taking the final podium was Swart in a lonely P3. The perfect
comeback after a disastrous opening round for the ex overall champion.
Finishing 4 th in class was returning driver Ebrahim Levy (Armin Levy Motorsport Golf I GTi) who last competed in
2016 and completing the top 5 was Matriculant Giordano Lupini (CIR Construction/La Vie de Luc Golf I GTi) who just
beat Joubert to the line. The 1 st heat proved to be a real unlucky heat for most of the grid as 2016 overall champion
Bryan Morgan (Greatsoft Payroll Golf I GTi) retired on lap 2 with a broken hub. Round 1 double podium finisher
Shane Williams (EBC Brake Golf I GTi) lost drive and pulled off to the side. Young Dario had a real case of lady luck as
the accelerator cable hooked out from the pedal and would see the 2017 rookie of the year out of the race. Ian Kapp
(Hydracor Hydraulics Golf I GTi) pulled into pitlane at the end of the 2 nd lap with gearbox issues.
The break between heats had the teams frantically busy in the pits as they hustled to make the start of the 2 nd heat.
For the 2 nd race of the day it was current champion Marco who came away with pole and Roach sharing the front
row of the class grid. Swart was next on the grid in P3 with 1 st heat winner Geldenhuys sharing the 2 nd row. Rounding
out the top 5 was young Lupini who was looking to repeat his opening round performance and seeking a podium
The lights went out and it was ex champion Roach who made a strong start to overtake current champion Marco and
get the holeshot for turn 1. But the front of class descended into anarchy as Marco & Roach which sent Roach
sideways and the cars behind them scambling in all directions to avoid a pile up. As the 2 then untangled, young
Lupini tried to take the inside line and clipped the front of Marco’s car which sent the rear end airborne damaging
the right rear hub and bending the axle to see Lupini out. Joubert was the next casualty he was left with nowhere to
go and drove straight into the chaos, causing severe front end damage, leaving Joubert unable to continue. This
incident brought out the red flag and the race was stopped to restore order.
Marco was then forced to pull to the side at the entry of turn 2 as his vehicle was drivable and force the current
champion to his first DNS since joining the class in 2017. The pack then reassembled on the startline where a
concerned Roach climbed out of his car to assess the damage. The race officials then approached the vehicle and
after inspection deemed the vehicle unsafe for race conditions which would see Roach pull off to the side of the
circuit and record a DNS. Williams also didn’t make the restart after coming into contact with a class B car and
narrowly avoiding driving into the pile up.
Once the chaos was resolved and the track cleared, the race was now reduced to 6 laps and almost half the field
unable to restart. The pack then proceeded with another warm up lap and settled onto the grid to await the restart.
The lights went out and it was Geldenhuys who benefitted to get the holeshot with Morgan making a blistering start
off the line from the back of the pack and slot into 2 nd position behind Geldenhuys. Slotting into P3 was Levy followed
closely by Swart in P4 with Dario & Kapp in 5 th & 6 th position. Morgan was the man on the move as the ex champ was
seeking redemption for his 1 st heat woes. With each passing lap, Morgan reduced the gap to Geldenhuys as it
became a 2 way fight for the top step. Levy settled into a comfortable P3 as just further back young Dario then put in
a challenge for 4 th spot on lap 3 as both Swart & Dario came barrelling down the main straight side by side.
On lap 4 Morgan closed onto the rear bumper of Geldenhuys and could now see himself aiming for victory as Young
Dario successfully passed Swart and began to hunt down Levy for a potential podium finish. On the very next lap
Morgan made an attempt to challenge for the lead coming out of turn 5 but Geldenhuys defended his position as
Morgan was now showing his hand. Morgan then took his chance at the beginning of the final lap and snatched the
lead from Geldenhuys in a beautifully timed late brake manoeuvre. But Geldenhuys was not done and refused to
hand the lead over after having lead from the start. The ex overall champ then got amazing drive coming out of the
last corner and in a spectacular side-by- side dash to the line regained the lead to crossed the line a mere 0.118s to
make it a double victory with Morgan having to settle for the runner up spot after another master class
The final podium spot went to returning driver Levy after Dario began to experience a drop in power and slowly
dropped back. Swart took advantage of a struggling Dario and retook 4 th position with Kapp also capitalizing on the
youngster’s misfortune to complete the top 5. Rounding up the class pack was young Dario who limped across the
line for some vital championship points.
With only the second round of the 2018 season packed with so much drama, thrills and spills, the season is poised to
become yet another nail biting contest. With so many potential title contenders, the fight is only just beginning.
The series now heads into a lengthy break and returns to action on 19 th May for round 3 of the Wingfield Motors
Power Series. Be sure to diarise the date and avoid missing another exhilarating round of the Burly Pro Gti Challenge.
- Witten By: Byron Wanza