Upon arrival in Cape Town it is always customary to visit Good Hope Fm and our good friend and official Killarney navigator, Guy MacDonald. Arguably one of the best breakfast DJ’s in the mother city and a good friend of both Williams Hunt and the Chevrolet racing team. So Thursday morning it was off to studio for a quick catch up and preview of the week ends racing.
Once we were finished at the radio station, the team then headed to get things set up in our pit at Killarney. The team was very confident and some more progress had been made leading up to the 7th round of the MSA Super Series and now it was merely just time to put it into practice.
After the first session on track the team were happy with 2nd, knowing Michael could find more. And more he did in session 2 where he finished quickest. The third session is always the decider and would show who had been sand bagging and who was going to scrub new tyres and get them ready for qualifying on Saturday morning. There were a few of these chancers and when the flag came out, van Rooyen was down in 4th and a bit despondent, he knew the car was good so we would have to wait and see what Saturday morning would bring.
Saturday dawned and there was a bit of rain expected and in some very tricky conditions, the class T field rolled out onto a damp circuit. Graeme Nathan had put his car onto pole, only just ahead of the Chevrolet Cruze. So race one would see the Williams Hunt Cruze move back into a championship fight again.
As the field dropped the clutches and headed into famous Hoal’s Hook some mid pack sorting out, saw Charl Smalberger get a great start, heading into turn one he tagged the back of the Chevrolet, sending van Rooyen into “catch and save” mode. As Smalberger wasn’t affected by the touch he drove by. Unfortunately for van Rooyen as he managed to bring the car back into control he was hit hard by Lee Thompson, who in his defense had no where to go. This hit cost both drivers their ability to complete the race with Thompson, stranded in the kitty litter on the exit of turn one and van Rooyen limping back to pit lane.
He was able to get back to pit lane and this saw both the Williams Hunt Racing team and the rest of the VMR pit crew climb onto the damaged Chev and do whatever they could to get van Rooyen back onto the track. Being a 7 lap sprint race it was a valiant effort to get the car back on and this happened with 3 laps to go. Michael had the unenvious task of circulating for as many points as possible and would eventually finish in 6th place.
Race One Result:
1. Graeme Nathan
2. Gary Formato
3. Charl Smalberger
4. Shaun Duminy
5. Mandla Mdakane
6. Michael van Rooyen – Chevrolet Cruze
After some frantic cosmetic surgery to the Chevrolet Cruze, the battle scarred machine rolled out to take up its position on the inverted grid just ahead of the championship rivals: Formato and Nathan. Thompson was not along side van Rooyen and was still in pit lane doing final adjustments.
The customary rolling start saw pole man Mandla Mdakane lead into turn one and the field all getting through this time behind him. Formato made little time of getting past van Rooyen who was still making sure the car was all good after the repair work. Duminy, Formato’s team mate did not hold him back any more than necessary and Formato moved into third easily by the time the T bunch headed to turn three. Van Rooyen was battling with the Chev but double points were up for grabs as always in the second race and so he would try to nurse the car home.
Mdakane had lost the lead to Smalberger as his team mate came “speeding” out of pit lane. The reason for the inverted commas was on purpose because the race officials would black flag Lee Thompson for “speeding” in pit lane despite the fact that they had no radar gun and assumed he was speeding, when the actual data on the car stated differently. Thompson was out as quickly as he had entered. Van Rooyen joined him shortly afterwards with a broken CV joint and suspension linkage. Mdakane was the third car to end up not finishing as he overheated and came into pit lane not to return either, so this left Duminy fending off the attack from behind of Nathan for 3rd and 4th and Formato doing the same to race leader Smalberger.
DNF: Michael van Rooyen and Mandla Mdakane
DQ: Lee Thompson
See you at the races on the 1 November at Zwartkops Raceway, Pretoria.
Provisional Championship Points Standings:
1. Graeme Nathan 186
2. Gary Formato 141
3. Michael van Rooyen 113
4. Lee Thompson 82
5. Shaun Duminy 79
6. Charl Smalberger 70
7. Ryan Rhode 32
5. Mandla Mdakane 23