The summer heat is getting into full swing and this normally means that the sun is setting on motorsport for the year. This Rossi Tyres sponsored event being the last of the circuit racing to be held before the 3 Hour Endurance race in Bulawayo. Probably still buzzing from the end of the recent F1 title chase I decided to go see what action our local championship battles were providing; I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed at all.I arrived a little after noon so the action was already underway but far from over.
For those that have never been to a circuit event: the program usually consists of qualification in the morning, followed by two races/heats of 6-8 laps each that make up the national series and then the handicap races and the Grand Prix of the day which is 10 laps.
Racing is split up into classes to keep things competitive. The motorcycles classes consist of the 250cc bikes also known as the Megelli class.
The next step up from the Megelli is the superbike class for the larger displacement bikes.
Moving onto the four wheeled racers, we have the Sports Cars and this is mainly made up of Super 7 chassis cars, some of which regular drag racing fans may recognise. This championship is sub divided into Class A (Unlimited) and Class B(up to 1600cc). Class A creates possibly the most bonkers vehicles very lightweight and relatively high power means cars with incredible power to weight ratios that can carry a lot of speed through the corners. Class B is not as powerful but the ability to carry a lot of speed through the corners makes them a very competitive car with very enjoyable racing to watch.
The Saloon cars make up the largest contingent of racers. These are production car based racers and the ones you’d mostly likely recognise from your daily driving around the city (although without the lexan windows and rollcages. The sheer volume of cars on track at once makes these races a lot of fun to watch, i can only imagine what it’s like to race through the traffic.
Saloon cars are also split up into classes, Class C is for vehicles up to 1600cc, Class B is for vehicles up to vehicles up to 2000cc and the top tier being Class A that is unlimited. It’s amazing to watch all these machines on track, particularly because the classes allow for age not to be a factor. Watching a Ford Anglia from the 60’s racing door to with a Toyota Corolla from the 90’s. It’s not all fun and games though as some battles happen before the racers even get on the track.
Ian Howden’s Toyota Supra unfortunately suffered a catastrophic failure the day before racing and didn’t make it to the track on Sunday.
Uno motors had a sleepless night changing a clutch and headgasket as well as several other little issues on their Cortina.
That victory against mechanical gremlins was sadly short lived as Clayton Green only managed a few laps before the new headgasket gave in.
The track mishaps were few but they did come in like a summer rain, unpredictably and all at once.
First came Steve Murton’s off track excursion, which luckily didn’t affect his track position.
I had barely turned around when Farnie Van De Linde had an incident that ended with him on the side of the track and his rotary powered 7 with some front end damage.
Marshals and medics were soon on the scene thankfully and apart from disappointment in the crash he walked away unharmed. That was however the end of the racing for Farnie.
Dean Norman’s Lancer Evolution also had a trip on the back of the tow truck for some issue but managed to make it back out later in the day.
Richard Exton as seen in the picture below (#46) had been dealing with an engine issue but was able to drive through most of the day with it. Later in the afternoon though the little smoke stream under the car turned into full blown flames which put his Toyota out of any further participation for the day.
Rowan Whyte’s Subaru was the last of the retirements i witnessed that afternoon. Several laps into the race, the bright orange Subaru began to fall back through the field with a smokey tailpipe.
Hopefully all these vehicles will find there way back to the starting line for the 3 Hour race in December. If this past weekend’s racing was anything to go by the 3 Hour Enduro will certainly be a thriller. Enjoy the gallery of pictures from the racing below and if you can’t make the 3 Hour in December, do yourself a favour and make some time to attend the Sables Main Circuit racing during next years season. It’ll be worth the trip.