Round 2 Thriller as Championship Fight Heats Up
The 2 nd round of the 2019 season of the Burly Pro Gti Challenge was yet another show stopping action packed festival
of fierce and raw racing by the Cape’s most wildly popular main circuit formula.
The 2 nd round was run in conjunction with the Campos600 endurance series and Wingfield Motors Power series at
the Killarney International Raceway.
In Class A it was a smokey start for the CHD chairman François “Trappies” van Tonder (Universal Healthcare Polo 6R)
as his gearbox let go in a spectacular fashion. With van Tonder only able to get in 2 laps during the session, the ex
clubmans champion had to settle for the back of the class grid with the pit crew in for brisk task to change the
gearbox and have the car ready for the 1 st heat.
The talk in pit lane was all about the current Polo Cup campaigner Jurie “Umpie” Swart who sported some new
signage on his Alpine Autohaus Polo 6R. It seems the signage was a dose of good luck as the youngster clinched pole
from a hard charging Nian “Race Muis” du Toit (Cheapercars/Allied Fibreglass Jetta III). On the 2 nd row was 2013 ex
overall champion Christopher Swart (Village Paint & Hardware Jetta II) alongside another Polo Cup Campaigner Jano
van der Westhuizen (Wingfield Motors/Kwikfix Polo Vivo). Just a smidge of the pace was Colin Nicholas Meder
(International Tube Technology Polo 6R) alongside Chris Roberts (Roberts Racing Jetta II) getting quicker with each
As the pack made their way to the grid, the tensions were amplified with drivers ready to do battle. The class was
brought under starts orders and the lights went. A blistering start from Race Muis saw the old warhorse get the
better of Umpie Swart to lead the pack going into turn 1. But Umpie was well aware of the pace of the old warhorse
and latched onto rear bumper of Race Muis.
But drama on the opening lap as young superstar Meder picked up braking issues going into the final corner and was
unable to stop to see the wonderkid veer off the circuit in a big cloud of dust. Luckily the thick sand managed to keep
young Meder out of the barrier, but at the cost of his race as the car was stuck and not going anywhere.
By the end of the second lap van der Westhuizen had managed to open up a cushion to ex champion Swart while
Roberts and van Tonder each promoted 1 position after the demise of Meder.
Decal and paint swopping was the theme at the front of the pack as an enthralling fight between Race Muis & Umpie
Swart developed. But with the 2 fighting so fiercely, neither noticed that 3 rd place man van der Westhuizen was
slowly catching up and would soon throw a big spanner in the works. By end of lap 4 Race Muis found himself having
to fend off Umpie Swart as there minor contact in turn 5 with Race Muis trying to close the door and Umpie Swart
having none of it. This incident brought van der Westhuizen into battle as the fight for race honours now became a 3
way affair with ex champ Swart just a smidge off the pack and ready to pick up the pieces should anything unfold
between the leaders.
Just behind the ex champ it was Roberts having a hungry van Tonder on his tail and looking to make up for his earlier
qualifying gremlins, but Roberts was having none of it and showed van Tonder that he meant business. But on lap 5
it Umpie finally managed to get the better of Race Muis and opened up a margin as Race Muis now fell into the
clutches of van der Westhuizen. But Race Muis and van der Westhuizen were not done yet and went for one last
But Umpie Swart was determined to stamp his authority on the pack and crossed line in a well deserved 1 st place
with Race Muis taking the runner up spot as van der Westhuizen completed the podium with the top 3 separated by
only second. Coming home in a lonely 4 th was Swart as Roberts kept van Tonder at bay for another top 5 finish and
valuable championship points.
With the second heat on the horizon, the teams gave their vehicles one final check with Meder back on the grid after
having doing a brake test during the break. With Meder failing to post a timed lap in the 1 st heat, the youngster was
relegated to the back of class for the 2 nd heat. A change in grid slots saw Race Muis come away with pole with van
der Westhuizen sharing the front row. 1 st heat winner Umpie Swart headed the 2 nd row joined by ex champ Swart
with van Tonder heading the 3 rd row alongside Roberts and Meder completing the line up.
The lights went out for the final time on the day as a determined Race Muis was looking to return back to the top
step. But Umpie Swart had tasted victory and was looking to make it a double on the day as the youngster wasted no
time in passing van der Westhuizen to now lauch an attack on the leader. But the top 3 now had a forth contender
as ex champ Swart was just off the front pack and looked poised for yet another strong result.
A case of déjà Vu for Meder as a carbon copy of his earlier off was repeated in the very same turn with braking issues
hampering the young superstars chance to fight for class honours. A frustrated and distraught Meder was forced to
abandoned his vehicle and become a spectator. A day to forget for the young Meder.
By the end of lap 3, the lightening quick Umpie Swart began to challenge for the lead as Race Muis had to defend at
every corner. But van der Westhuizen was alos on the hunt for victory as the series veteran had finally managed to
get the monkey off his back and looked to have his first trouble free run in as many heats. Ex champ Swart now
fancied his chances to fight with top brass in class and remained with the leading pack ready to pounce at the first
mistake. A repeat of the 1 st heat saw Roberts again ahead of van Tonder with Roberts having better pace early on to
see Roberts have a small buffer on the ex clubmans champion.
Back at the front the battle was red hot as on lap 4 the leaders were 3 abreast barrelling down the back main as van
der Westhuizen briefly took over the lead before hard on the brakes as Race Muis defended the inside line with
Umpie Swart slotting in behind the old warhorse and forcing van der Westhuizen to hug the outside. But on the exit
of turn 5, Race Muis put his left front wheel on the grass which saw the old warhorse pickup clutch issues as Umpie
Swart and van der Westhuizen stormed past the stricken leader. With Race Muis unable to go at full pace, ex champ
Swart soon passed the limping old warhouse to now find himself in contention for a podium. Umpie Swart then
attempted to make a break at the front but van der Westhuizen was in fine form and remained in close contention
for the rest of the heat not giving the leader an inch of breathing space.
But Umpie Swart produced another master class drive to make it 2 out of 2 on the day with van der Westhuizen
going one better to claim runner up and ex champ Swart with another podium to make it 2 podiums out of 4 starts.
Also benefitting from the limping Race Muis was Roberts with a fine 4 th position followed home by van Tonder as
Race Muis eventually crawled across the line.
This is just what Umpie Swart and van der Westhuizen required as the 2 now head to the 2 nd round of the Falken Polo
Cup series at Zwartkops raceway on 6 TH April.
As with class A, class B also had early controversy as Mr. Consistency Wayne Field withdrew from competition after
blowing a cylinder head on Friday practice.
2017 ex overall champion Marco Busi (Automan Playa) picked up where he left off in the 1 st round to clinch pole with
current overall champion Eden Thompson (Somerset Refrigeration/MAD Perfromance Golf I GTi) on the front row.
Heading the 3 rd row was a returning Gideon Serfontein (Goeiehoop Onderdele Golf II GTi) who was looking for some
much needed redemption alongside Mario Roux (Automar Jetta II). Heading the final row was series chairman Zaki
“Mr Worx” Hendricks (Wheelworx Mag Repair Centre Polo Classic) with rookie Mark Thompson (Somerset
Refrigeration Polo Classic) alongside. Unable to make qualifying was series sponsor Grant Cloete (Upstream Connect
Golf I GTi) who had personal matter to attend to. But fortunately Cloete managed to make it for the 1 st heat.
The pack made their way to the grid with the tensions high amongst the drivers. The lights went out as the field
stormed into action as Busi got the holeshot for turn 1 with Thompson slotting in behind as Serfontein and Roux
followed suit to make it a 4 way tussle for class honours. Lower down the order Cloete and Thompson senior was
involved in a battle of their own as the class rookie showing signs of improvement with every passing lap. Series
chairman Mr Morx got off to a slow start and was stuck having to fight his way through some lower class cars in
order to join in on the battle upfront.
Back at the front it class c champion Busi who had a minor cushion over Thompson with Serfontein now beginning to
challenge Thompson Jnr and setting his sights on victory. But Roux was on the money as he has tasted victory before
and fancied his chances to return to the top step. The action was intense upfront as none of the 4 front runners were
able to let down their guard as 1 mistake meant the fight for victory would vanish. Just further back a hard charging
Mr Worx began to work his way through the pack and slowly started closing in on the leaders. However the series
chairman was just a tad over eager and ran wide on the exit of lap 5, briefly losing ground to the leaders.
The battle at the front was closely matched with Busi still at a slight advantage as Thompson & Serfontein were side
by side and Roux just behind and Mr Worx now in proximity of the front pack. But it seemed that turn 5 was the
nemesis of Mr Worx as he yet again ran wide on the exit for laps 6 & 7. Fortunately the series chairman didn’t lose
too much ground and remained on the tail of the leading back. But lap 7 disaster struck for the leader Busi as his
engine began to lose power and ex overall champ began to drop off the pace. Rotten luck after leading for most of
The fight at the front was reduced to 3 but there was no sign comfort as a hungry Serfontein now knew that the
victory was insight and would be the perfect way to bounce back after missing the 1 st round. It came down to the
final corner on the final lap as Serfontein and Thompson were involved in a drag race to the finish line with
Serfontein taking victory by a mere 4 thousands of second as Roux took the final spot on the podium just 1 tenth off
the leader. Mr Worx recovered splendidly to come home in P4 as a limping Busi managed to hold on and take a top 5
finish. Just further back Cloete and Thompson senior were still at it as 2 crossed line with a difference of 0.042s with
Cloete just managing to get the better of the rookie.
For the 2 nd heat a list shakeup was on the cards as series chairman Mr Worx found himself on pole and well rewarded
for his effort in the 1 st heat as podium finisher Roux lost out on pole by 5 thousands of a second. 1 st heat winner
Serfontein headed the 2 nd row with Busi alongside. The 3 rd row was an all family affair with current champion
Thompson in p5 with dad alongside and series sponsor Cloete completing the class line up.
The lights went out for the final time as the pack shot into action with the class c champ Busi getting off to a flyer
and using the grass to get by some of the slower cars. However disaster struck early in the heat as on lap 2 Mr Worx,
Serfontein & Roux were involved in the battle for 2 nd place. Mr Worx took a wide line on the entry into turn 2 when
Serfontein braked later and dived to the inside line, but what the 1 st heat winner did not see was that Roux also went
for a late dive. Serfontein and Roux made contact which would see both cars have to retire from the heat with
damage. Series chairman Mr Worx was fortunate enough to escape injury and kept his 2 nd place as pack leader Busi
already opened up a margin and overall champion Thompson still working his way to the front.
By the end of lap 3 it was Busi on an impressive run as the ex overall champ had lightening pace and was a man on a
mission to stamp his authority on the rest of the class. Mr Worx held station in second but had to keep a close watch
as in his rear view the current overall champ was slowly creeping closer with each corner.
However on lap 6 it was a case of déjà vu for Busi as his amazing run of form was hampered yet again by engine
troubles as he surrended his lead to series chairman and Thompson, and now beginning to fall into the clutches of
series sponsor Cloete who was in a lonely P4. Cloete was having another good run as he managed to open up a
sizeable margin on Thompson snr as the class rookie was unable to repeat the magic of the first heat. Little did the
rookie know that his calm and collective drive would offer a significant reward by the end of the heat.
On lap 6 it all went wrong for the well performing Cloete as halfway through the final corner the series sponsor
slowed right down to a crawl when his gearbox was reduced to a box full of “neutral” gears. It was real lady luck as
Cloete looked poised for a podium finish as a result of a limping Busi. With Cloete now out of contention and Busi
hampered with power issues, class rookie Thompson snr looked set for podium contention as he edged ever closer
to the class C champ.
But back at the front the fierce pace of current overall champ paid off as Thompson Jnr was now right on the rear
bumper leader Mr Worx and looking for the top step. But the series chairman wanted victory and defended his lead,
making his car as wide as possible and forcing the champ to go around the outside. But it all came down to the last
lap as Thompson got superb drive coming out of the final corner to pull alongside the series chairman in a mad dash
for the finish line. It was almost a carbon copy of the 1 st heat for the current champ with series chairman now the
one trying to snatch the victory, but Thompson Jnr kept his foot down to cross the line a mere 6 thousands of second
ahead of Mr Worx. The current champ final clinching his first victory of the season as it was cause for champagne in
the Thompson pit as dad Thompson snr just managed to pass the limping Busi to take the final podium spot in only
his second outing. Completing the class line up was a frustrated Busi to clinch some valuable championship with a 4 th
C is for “controversy” and was highly applicable for this round. It was a “shaky” start for the class log leader, Vega
University Bcomm student & Franschhoek resident, Giordano Lupini (SA Accelerate/CIR Construction/LaVie de Luc
Golf I GTi) as the ex karter binned his car on the Friday practice. It was a frantic rush for the team who managed to
acquire a vehicle from ex female competitor Nadia Nair. This vehicle is in fact the ex Monroe sponsored car which
Lupini campaigned in 2016, so the 1 st Bcomm student was not totally unfamiliar with his vehicle change. But could
the ex karter “rekindle” the flame of an old lover...
The answer was a definite “yes” as Lupini clinched pole position in fine style. Alongside the ex karter was yet another
young ex karter Jason Coetzee (Automan Golf I GTi) as the class rookie is proving to be a force to be reckoned with.
On the second row it was returning driver Jarred Simpson (Greenz Plumbing Golf I GTi) with another suprising
performance from Alfie van Zyl (CD Motorsport/GT Graphics Golf I GTi) who makes his 1 st appearance of the season.
Heading the third row was Ian Kapp (Hydracor Hydaulics Golf I GTi) joined by Paul Winter (Shorty Smalls Racing Golf I
GTi). The forth row was occupied Kyle Whiltshire (Flatline Racing Golf I GTi) & another returning driver Steven
Vermaak (Rays Towing Golf I GTi) with the final row having series vice chairman Gert du Plessis (Cheapercars Golf I
GTi) and rookie Daniel Munna (ISE Group Golf I GTi).
With a fully loaded wolfpack ready to tear apart the tarmac, the drivers lined up in the grid slots and prepared to get
underway. The lights went out as the field stormed into action with pole man Lupini getting the holeshot. But a flying
start from Simpson saw the returning wildkid right on the bumper of the leader as Coetzee was just a tad off the 2 in
front. Just further back was an interesting mid pack battle between Kapp, Winter, van Zyl & du Plessis who also
made a spectacular start. The 4 were so intense that Winter found himself having to take the “grass” route at the
end of the 2 nd lap. The back of the pack was also not to be overlooked as Munna, Vermaak & Wiltshire were locked
together in a fight of their own.
On lap 4 Lupini managed to open a slight margin over Simpson with Coetzee making superb head way to now be in
contention with the fight at the front. Meanwhile just further back Winter had recovered brilliantly to now lead the
train with du Plessis and Kapp side by side and van Zyl ready to pounce should any issues arise ahead. At the tail end
it was still Munna, Vermaak & Wiltshire chopping and changing positions at each and every corner to resemble a
fight for the lead.
At the front it remained unchanged as Lupini put in another splendid effort to clinch victory with Sampson following
suit and Coetzee taking the final podium spot. Just further back the intensity of the mid pack battle boiled over as
contact was made between Winter & Kapp in turn 1 to give du Plessis 4 th place and van Zyl a top 5 finish on his
return. Kapp managed to get the better of Winter, with Munna edging Wiltshire to the flag and Vermaak completing
the line. But lady luck hit Vermaak as during the 2 nd half of the heat, the fuel cap dislodged from the vehicle causing
some of the fuel to spray out on circuit. This unfortunate incident would result in Vermaak getting disqualified from
the heat as his car was underweight due to the amount of fuel loss.
For the 2 nd the top 4 starting positions remained unchanged as the 3 rd row had a swop of positions with Winter
getting the better of Kapp, as Munna, Wiltshire and Vermaak completed the class lineup.
The lights went out for the final time as the pack roared into action as young Lupini made the best of his starting
position to immediately open a cushion over Coetzee who better his start to keep Simpson at bay as van Zyl also got
a dream start to be right in the hunt with the leading pack. The mid pack saw Kapp making outstanding ground to l
lead from du Plessis, but a fierce Wiltshire made superb ground to slot in behind the vice chairman with Winter slow
off the line costing him some places. At the tail end Vermaak also improved his start to open a significant cushion
At the halfway mark a determined Coetzee fancied his chance at victory and managed to catch up the leader but was
not out of the woods yet as Simpson remained in close proximity and was ready to pick up the pieces should the 2 in
front run into any issues. Van Zyl could also not be counted out as the 2016 rookie was in an excellent 4 th place with
Kapp still all alone in 5 th . The mid pack saw a change as Winter got the hammer down to pass Wiltshire and begin to
hassle du Plessis. At the end of lap six Wiltshire was having none of it and fought back to lead the mid pack from
Winter as du Plessis the biggest loser at the back of the pack.
Back at the front Coetzee was latched onto the bumper of Lupini with Simpson unable to influence the fight and van
Zyl to still holding on in 4 th . At the end of the penultimate lap the mid pack fight yet again resembled a fight for the
lead as du Plessis found himself at the front with Wiltshire keeping Winter at bay.
The chequered flag beckoned as Lupini and Coetzee were side by side as Lupini managed to keep his unbeaten
streak alive to get the advantage over Coetee by a mere tenth of a second as Simpson completed the podium. Van
Zyl delivered another magnificent performance to take 4 th while Kapp had an undisturbed run to take another top 5
finish. Vice chairman du Plessis managed to win the mid pack battle ahead of Winter & Wiltshire with Vermaak
finishing ahead of Munna.
With 2 rounds in the bag, the season is far from decided. Be sure not to miss the 3 rd instalment of the almighty Burly
Pro Gti Challenge which is set to take place at Killarney International Raceway on Saturday 13 th April.
- Written By: Byron Wanza