BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series

New leaders, shake-ups as BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series marks 2024 midpoint at Zwartkops

Round 5 of the 2024 BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series saw Nicholas Herbst emerge as the new points leader, following four action-packed races that headlined the weekend’s (7-8 June) Dunlop Winter Extreme Festival at Zwartkops Raceway.

Ryan Naicker

Classes D & E started the programme for the series on the weekend, while Classes A, B & C competed separately. This saw the slower group of the two utilise the morning’s cooler conditions for their qualifying session. Class D’s Cobus Bohmer took his maiden ATS Motorsport Pole Position, with George Economides in second place. Son Nicholas headed up Father Craig on an all-Herbst second row, while Roland Hopkins completed the top five.

Eddie Rodrigues’ BMW E46 330i suffered a transmission failure early in Friday’s practice sessions, but he was back in contention on Saturday morning. However, the driver who made a victorious debut at the circuit in Round 2, this time broke out of Class E. This saw Johan Miller head up the class from late entrant and series debutant Michael Grobler. Former class points leader Zaheer Seedat headed Tihan van Rooyen in the second row, with Matthew Wadeley in fifth.

Next up was the Class A, B & C field. The Class A competitors were all dealt a blow when Bob Neill had to withdraw his BMW E92 M3 Turbo on Friday morning, effectively making this a three-car entry list and, therefore, not eligible to score a full amount of points. Ryan Naicker took his second-consecutive Dunlop Pole Position from Fabio Fedetto while defending Series, and Class A champion Leon Loubser did not record a lap.

Renier Smith headed up Class B, from defending class champion Nek Makris, Andreas Meier and Oz Biagioni shared the second row, with Jaco Storm Snr in fifth place.

Jaco Storm Jnr headed up Class C, with Devin Robertson for company on the front row. Nishal Singh and Lenard Archer followed, ahead of reigning Class D champion Reinhardt Miller.

George Economides
George Economides leads Cobus Bohmer

The same order followed for the day’s races, and Economides took an early lead from Bohmer, but the latter hounded him to the finish line. Economides, however, continued his winning streak. Behind this pair, Nicholas Herbst had a relatively easy time securing the final podium spot. Craig Herbst claimed fourth, following an early tussle with Hopkins, but when the latter dropped back on Lap 8 and Rodrigues on the final lap, he had fourth place wrapped up. Claudio Jardim, who occupied fifth place in the early stages, made up places again to finish the race in fifth.

Johan Miller
Johan Miller leads the Class E pack

Miller took a lights-to-flag win, while Van Rooyen slotted into an early second place. However, after dropping to fourth place, Grobler returned to second place on the final lap. Zeedat finished fourth, ahead of Wadeley, following a fiercely contested five-car battle.

The first race for Classes A, B & C was brought to an early halt with an incident halfway through the opening lap, where Singh, Archer, fellow Class C competitor Andre van Vuuren, and Class B’s Storm Snr were eliminated.

From the restart, Naicker took an early lead, a position he held in both his previous two Class A rounds. This time, he also had reliability on his side and took his maiden win in the class. Loubser passed Fedetto early to claim the runner-up spot.

Smith led Makris to the line in a cat-and-mouse Class B battle. Meier held onto an early third place, but just after the halfway mark, his BMW E36 320iT STC stopped, which handed the position to Biagioni.

With the Class C field looking very different at the restart, Robertson took his first win of 2024, comfortably ahead of the battle between Jan Eversteyn and Reinhardt Miller. Further back, Hein van der Merwe took fourth place, with Nick Naidoo taking fifth.

The reverse-grid second Class D & E Bohmer held an early lead, but the Class D win slipped away when Economides passed him on Lap 6 to rack up his fourth-consecutive win. Nicholas Herbst also passed Bohmer to finish as runner-up. Hopkins, Shane Grobler, and Rodrigues concluded this six-car battle up front,

Wadeley piloted the BMW Car Club Gauteng Track Taxi, which formed part of the Dunlop Tyres fan activations and ran with a passenger seat fitted on the day. Nevertheless, he won the Class E win, his first of the season. Miller fended off Van Rooyen for second place, with Grobler and Seedat in tow.

In the final Class A, B, and C race, Naicker won his second race of the day, but his hands were full, and Loubser was eager to take his place. Fedetto completed the podium.

Nek Makris
Nek Makris

Makris took his first win of the season in Class B, with Smith in tow and Biagioni further back, completing the podium. What proved to be a torrid day for Meier finished before the race started when he had to withdraw from the race.

Devin Robertson won Class C in both heats
Devin Robertson won Class C in both heats

Robertson held off Miller to make it a double win in Class C, with Van der Merwe, Naidoo and Gary Martins completing the top five.

Naicker beat Loubser and Fedetto in the overall Class A results for the weekend, while Loubser retained the points lead heading into the mid-season break. Makris and Smith finished the weekend equal on 18 points, but Makris’ had the faster-accumulated race time to give him the Class B win, with Biagioni third. With Meier’s double DNF, Markis also took the class lead on the points table. Robertson’s full house of points saw him take Class C, earning him the ITOO Driver of the Day award. Miller finished second, with Van der Merwe third. While Martins also had his fair share of troubles on the weekend, he retained the class lead.

Economides took the Class D honours from Bohmer and Nicholas Herbst, with the latter 14-point tie settled in Bohmer’s favour due to his superior accumulated time. Herbst, however, retained the class lead. Miller also retained his Class E lead after beating Wadeley and Grobler in the weekend’s results.

Nicholas Herbst
Nicholas Herbst leads the championship standings after the fifth round

On the Series points table, Nicholas Herbst now holds the lead, a position shared or held outright by Meier from the start of the season. Makris now occupies second place, with Meier making it two Class B competitors in the top three. Miller and Loubser complete the top five.

Following a two-month winter break, the battle will recommence when the second half of the season starts on 9-10 August at Killarney International Raceway. This will mark the BMW ///M Performance Parts Race Series’ second coastal appearance and first in Cape Town.

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