7 March 2022: Team Perfect Circle made their intentions clear at the opening round of the 2022 Extreme Festival. The two-car GTC SupaCup squad had uneventful practice sessions last Friday ahead of the season-opening race at Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town on March 5.
It was new recruit Keagan Masters who prevailed over the 16-car field when the flag fell at the end of qualifying on Saturday morning. The Johannesburger claimed pole position for the opening heat of the 2022 season. His teammate, and team principal, Andre Bezuidenhout was still dusting off the cobwebs and found himself at the other end of the field. In race one Masters was a fraction slow in reacting at the rolling start. Regular series frontrunner Jeffrey Kruger, who started alongside, pulled into the lead, chased by Masters. A nasty crash at the back of the field involving Bezuidenhout and father-son pairing of Sam and Nathan Hammond brought out a red flag on lap two. Thankfully all involved were okay. Race control concluded that it was a racing incident with no need for further action.
Masters was quicker to react at the restart and got the jump on Kruger. From that point on the multiple SA champ put in a commanding, unchallenged performance that saw him claim the heat one win by a comfortable margin. Team leader Bezuidenhout did not make the restart due to the lap two incident.
A partially reversed starting grid meant that Masters started heat two in sixth position. The 21-year-old ended up in a tightly fought contest in which seven drivers were challenging for the win. Masters dropped to seventh at one point but managed to fight his way back to the front.
When the chequered flag dropped the top three cars were covered by 0,16 of a second. Kruger triumphed over Leyton Fourie with Masters grabbing third. His sizeable lead in the earlier race meant that he was classified first overall for the day’s racing, based on aggregate times.
Masters commented at the end of the day: “It was really great to be back racing again. Team Perfect Circle provided me with a fast racecar that ran faultlessly all weekend. The reward is an overall win for the day. I’d like to thank the team for all their hard work and I can’t wait for the next weekend of racing.”
Team leader Bezuidenhout had a weekend he’d rather forget.
The racing advocate had a coming together with youngster David Franco at the very start of the second heat. Both racers went for the same gap at the rolling start resulting in a collision. Franco retired immediately but Bezuidenhout managed to continue.
In the laps that followed, he had a close fought battle with fellow Capetonian Dawie Joubert, but ultimately the damage incurred to car 22 during the first incident caused a driveshaft failure in turn one which meant the end of the race for both Bezuidenhout and Joubert.
Bezuidenhout was philosophical after the race, despite the incidents: “It is a great start for the team with Keagan’s victory. Our new corporate supporters, Amka Products and Playboy Deodorant are ecstatic about the win. It was not an easy outing for me. I am glad that Nathan Hammond was not seriously injured. It is assuring to see the integrity of the VW SupaCup car considering that incidents can happen at any time. (Lead technician) Graeme Nathan and his team did a great job to ensure that I was back on the grid in the second heat. I am looking forward to the event at Zwartkops.”
Issued by Double Apex on behalf of Team Perfect Circle. Images courtesy of Eric Buijs