The Trofeo Challenge (formerly Alfa Trofeo Challenge) and Midvaal Historic categories joined forces at the Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday 5 March for the first round of the renewed and refreshed 2016 Inland Championship. An impressive 26 car field lined up on the grid for the first race of the day.
Pole man Shawn Smidt (Datsun 160Y) took an immediate lead ahead of Brendon Parker (Datsun GX Coupe) with Jacques Mostert (Datsun GX Coupe) and Peder Jensen (Datsun Sedan). John Hendriks (Alfa Sud), the first of the Trofeo Challenge competitors slotted into fifth position ahead of Shaun Lamprecht (Alfa 33), Anton Vos (Datsun 1200 GX) and Warren Ewart (Alfa GTV6).
Ewart was scything his way through the pack and was up to fourth position by the second lap. Lamprecht’s challenge was cut short when he pulled into the pits on the same lap. Sean Fandam (Fiat 124 Sport Coupe) didn’t last much longer either when he pulled into the pits a lap later as well. Johan van den Heever (Mini 1000) then retired down the back straight on lap four as well.
Smidt was still leading ahead of Parker at the half way stage of the race. Ewart had moved into third position ahead of Mostert with Jensen still trying to stay with them in fifth. Francois Jacobs (Datsun 1200) was playing catch up and passed Hendriks on lap five. Paddy Venske (Toyota Corona) was also on a late charge as he relegated Hendriks by another position to claim eighth position
Smidt held on for a comfortable win ahead of Parker and Ewart.
The second race of the day would pick up where the first race left off. Schmidt once again grabbed the lead ahead of Parker and Mostert. Jensen slotted into fourth position with Venske and Hendriks in tow. After retiring from the first race on the warm up lap, a repaired Juan Gerber (Toyota Celica) was scything his way through the field from the back of the grid.
He was up to fourth position by lap three when he dived up the inside of Jensen through turn eight. Lamprecht was also trying to fight back after suffering a DNF in the first race. He passed Ralph Kernes (Alfa Alfetta) to claim eighth position on lap five. Gerber continued his charge as he passed Mostert to claim third position. Venske was clearly inspired as he then challenged Jensen for fifth position with the pair running side by side through turn four. He made the move stick and claimed the position with only a lap to go.
Smidt was in fine form as he romped home to a convincing victory ahead of Parker and Gerber.
The next round will be at the Phakisa Freeway outside Welkom in the Free State on 2 April 2016.
For any enquiries, photographs or media reports on the Trofeo Challenge feel free to contact Paul Blackburn on 082 900 6443 or firstname.lastname@example.org.