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MAIN circuit motor racing action takes off this Sunday at the Toyota (Zimbabwe) Donnybrook Raceway in Harare with the staging of what promises to be an exciting Sables Grand Prix.

A large field of over 35 cars and 20 motorcycles is expected to provide keen racing in the first event counting towards the national championships.

A large number of newcomers are expected with numerous others getting ready to compete this year but not quite ready yet.

In Class A Sports Cars last year’s champion Barney Rogers is once again expected to take the honours in his Guard-Alert-sponsored rotary powered super 7.

Eric Heard will fight him all the way but will have to be wary of newcomer to the class, schoolboy Fanie Van Der Linde in a championship winning rotary 7 and ex-motorbike rider Gavin Randal in his Yamaha powered 7.

In class B sports cars, the racing should be close in a field of eight super 7’s battling it out.

Last year’s champion Brett Cameron will have his hands full in fighting off his father John Cameron who is always competitive and multiple champion Gary Kirk in his rebuilt super 7 and If Shaun Kerwin can keep his car running for the whole day he will be difficult to beat in his very fast 7.

Gary Bluett makes a welcome return whilst newcomers Conrad Van Reenan, Clive Naude and Walter De la Pria remain unknown qualities.

In Class A Saloons, there should be some very close racing at the front between last year’s champion Rowan Whyte in his TT Motor Cycles sponsored Subaru, Barney Rogers in his Guard-Alert sponsored Mitsuibishi rotary and Richard Robinson in the Shield sponsored turbo-charged Corolla.

Rogers and Robinson are new to the class and are expected to want to prove themselves from the first race whilst Whyte’s experience may give him the edge. Kevin Almak in his turbo Ford and Darryl Archibald in his Skyline are both very fast and will be waiting to pick up the points should the three at the front encounter any problems.

Christie Laing and Lorraine Randall are improving with each outing and will definitely be in contention in the main race of the day, The Sable Grand Prix which is a handicap event.

This year there is a new class B for cars with engines between 1600cc and 2000cc and is being led by experienced driver Ian Howden in a newly acquired Ford Focus 2000. As a new class the other drivers are all unknown qualities and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. Toyota Zimbabwe’s Hilton Harunavamwe in a Toyota Celica and come-back rally driver George Chitepo in a fast VW Golf 2 litre should feature prominently in this new class together with young Kevin Steenkamp and Bulawayo’s Julian Van Vuuren.

A lot of interest has been shown in the class C saloons with new vehicles arriving, modifications being carried out on others and cars changing hands.

Although there is not expected to be a large contingent from Bulawayo, racing among the Harare drivers will be fast and furious.

Modifications to Nick Berkau’s Corolla, Gary Flick’s MR2 and Steven Murton’s Corolla should ensure that they all lap a couple of seconds faster than last year and they will be keen to gather as many Championship points before the arrival of the much-vaunted Mini powered by a powerful 1600 Hiyabusa motor belonging to Arthur Browell. If Denzil Bhana and Darren Pradji make the journey from Bulawayo then these three will be hard pressed to stay at the front.

Mike Exton and Craig Green should once again dominate the handicap races with their consistent form.

In the Megelli Motorcycle Class multiple champion Shaun Whyte will have to fight hard to beat last year’s champion, the determined veteran Phil Archenoul with the rest of the field fighting closely in this one make series which is all down to rider ability.

The super Bike Class continues to grow and last year’s champion Archenoul has acquired a new 600cc machine that he may have to get used to. The talk at the track is Tiffany Fisher who is improving every time she gets on the bike and is expected to push Archenoul all the way.

Fast riders Uli Meiners and Bulawayo’s Ian Gutherless maybe out to prove a point together with a large contingent from Harare and a number of Bulawayo riders expected to make the journey.

Gates open at 8am on Sunday with racing starting at 11am. There is full bar and catering as well as children’s entertainment in the form of jumping castles.

Entrance is $5 per person and there is a full day’s racing calendar up to the last race at 4pm.

Source : The Herald