A second invitation to form part of the 2013 MSA Super Series was well received by the drivers of the BMW Club Racing Series- apparently the fans were even more delighted by the opportunity. What a relieving and promising sight to see fans not quite filling, but at least occupying most of the grandstands of the Kyalami Circuit. The elated cheers of spectators, the many handshakes in the pit lane on a job well done and the thrill of drivers being recognised for their efforts leaves us feeling we played a significant part of what could be a return to form for National Motorsport.
The story to follow was the three-way battle for the overall title between motoring scribe Mark Jones, student Dino Fameliaris and transport manager Gianni Giannoccaro. Each had a mathematical chance of taking the overall honours on the day, making for the type of spectacle motorsport enthusiasts crave, particularly when everything is still to play for in the last race. The fact that the top 3 were separated by just 8 points once all was said and done, and that all are from 3 different classes speaks volumes of the quality of racing this series has to offer. The future certainly looks bright...
At roughly 16:35 on Saturday afternoon, Mark Jones crossed the line pumping fists inside his car which could only mean his quick sums matched the official result- CHAMPION! It’s been a long year for Mark, having his unrivalled pace throughout the season prodded and poked hoping to find some sort of ‘secret ingredient’ that would explain how he could almost entirely dominate his class. Mark puts much of it down to a car that has been outstandingly built by Sav Gualtieri of Savspeed, a well known and successful merchant of fast BMWs. Let’s not forget that Mark tests high performance cars under extreme conditions for a living so while the equipment may be highly capable, the driver has the talent and race craft to match. Mark will also tell you that he would not be able to achieve what he has this year without the unwavering support of his friends and family, in particular long time friend and racer, Mike Salt. We should hardly be surprised by any of this; how many evergreen motorsport stories start and end with a successful package of driver, technical crew and support base. Mark had the best package in 2013 and has shown a positive example for those that want to follow in his footsteps in the future.
Mention must be made of our runner’s up, too. Dino gave us all a scare during Friday practice when he parked his car coming out of the bowl, unable to start and unable to figure out the cause of the problem. On Friday night, we were not sure if he would be a starter on race day. No need for alarm, Dino once again dominated his class and consolidated a full-points weekend- the best result he could have hoped for in his hunt for the title. Gianni on the other hand was once again faultless. The Silver Grey M3 CSL is still one of the most beautiful cars on the grid and boasts a clean sheet as far as reliability issues go. He was unfortunately no match for the more powerful V8 powered M3 of Kris Budnik but still drove his heart out in defence of his title and the Number 1 plate. It wasn’t to be but in a show of outstanding sportsmanship and camaraderie of which we are so proud, Gianni’s first motion once back in the pits was to congratulate Mark on a well deserved title. In fact, all weekend the two drivers who were in the best position for the title treated each other with the type of respect and recognition we all want to see. That, more than anything else, has brought with it high praise for the BMW Car Club and indeed BMW in the best way possible. We look forward to more of the same in 2014.
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