HEATED DEBATE: The Bold Marine GTi Challenge will be racing around Killarney on August 6. Image: Reynard Gelderblom
Cape Town - There’s a general path of succession we follow in life - motorsport is no different. You start at the bottom, in the lower classes and work your way up. But are we seeing a new path being followed now? In the Bold Marine GTi Challenge this certainly seems to be the case.
Class C is commonly known as the brat pack. Competitors in this class run with the lowest engine capacity in mainly Volkswagen Golfs. This is also the breeding ground for new talent. In many ways this class reminds seasoned motorsport fans of Class E in the days of Stannic Group N racing.
Not just powerful cars
Some competitors would progress up to Class B or Class A, but to stay ahead of the game you’ll need more than a car that’s simply powerful enough - not taking anything away from Class C. During the past two seasons the overall GTi Challenge champion has come from this class. In fact, currently the two series front runners are also competing in Class C.
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During Round 5 competition got a little fiercer in Class C. Former Class A competitor Marco Busi has stepped in with a brand new VW Polo and immediately showed what he is made of. Round 6 will see another former Class A charger joining the brat pack: Christopher Swart. Swart, or SpongeBob as he is commonly known, recently acquired the VW Golf of reigning champion Paul Simon and will be keen to mark his territory in the ultra-competitive class.
Not that the new migrants will be in for an easy time of things. The battle between Bryan Morgan and Ebrahim Levy has delivered some of the best on-track action during the first half of the season. Only nine points separate the two experienced VW Golf drivers. Both come with an impressive track record at the highest levels of South African motorsport and both are hungry for the title. Behind them the likes of Gideon Serfontein and Jarred Simpson will also be bringing youthful ambition to the table.
Tight competition, small points difference
This doesn’t mean Class A is becoming a boring affair by any stretch of the imagination. Nian du Toit in his VW Jetta has a reputation for putting the power to great use and being absolutely relentless in any battle, but Jano van der Westhuizen has recently shown that Du Toit can be beaten. Busi and Swart not being in this equation anymore won’t weaken the class at all – in fact at the front of the pack, fans will now be treated to a virtual “Last man standing” battle.
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With Classes A and C promising such action, one can easily forget about the Class B action. That would be a dire mistake. Eden Thompson is currently leading the standings in this class, but with the action as close as the current points-standings this could change at any moment. Only six points separate Thompson, Jacques Geldenhuys, Peet van der Walt and Scott Hayes. Behind them Damien Lopez is back on a mission as well and given the nature of competition in this class he could very well find himself within the striking distance of the leading quartet.
One thing is for certain, when the next instalment of the Wingfield Motors Power Series starts at the Killarney International Raceway on Saturday, August 6 - the Bold Marine GTi Challenge promises to deliver two action-packed, fast-paced heats. Class and overall honours are up for grabs for those who want it the most with a host of names ready to emerge victorious at the end of the day.
Bold Marine GTi Challenge 2016 Points Standings after Round 5
1 Bryan Morgan - Class C VW Golf - 64 Pts
2 Ebrahim Levy - Class C VW Golf - 55
3 Eden Thompson - Class B VW Golf - 51
4 Peet van der Walt - Class B VW Polo - 48
5 Jano van der Westhuizen - Class A VW Polo - 48
6 Jacques Geldenhuys - Class B VW Golf - 46
7 Scott Hayes - Class B VW Jetta - 45
8 Nian du Toit - Class A VW Jetta - 40
9 Gideon Serfontein - Class C VW Golf - 38
10 Marco Busi - Class C VW Polo - 37