A gaggle of Backdraft Roadsters head to the Aldo Scribante circuit in Gqeberha this weekend for the second round of the South African Endurance Series.
Like the opening round at Red Star Raceway a month ago, the event is a four-hour race, kicking off at 3 pm on Saturday May 14 and ending in darkness. Last year’s Aldo event was a brace of three-hour races, both won by Steve Clark/Reghard Roets, who went on to win the championship overall.
The Roadsters have become the backbone of SAES and at least eight of these identical ‘spec’ racers have been entered.
Spearheading the field is the Titan Historic F1 entry of Greg Thornton and Colin Ellison, who drove a near-flawless race at Red Star to take a reasonably comfortable win despite a late unscheduled stop when their rear lights failed.
But they’re unlikely to have it their own way this time round. A number of teams were slowed by early-season niggles at the opening round and word has it that it has been a case of all hands on deck at workshops around the country.
Looking particularly competitive are the Morgenrood brothers, who finished a fighting second at RSR. The two have improved steadily over the last year, 20-year-old Chrisjan joining the series at the beginning of last year with only some oval track experience to his name.
Benjamin, who turned 22 in February, showed some impressive pace in V8 Supercars and both are starting to pair speed with the consistency needed in endurance racing.
They probably have no better tutor and their father is South African motorsport legend Ben Morgenrood, whose career dates back to the 1960s. As it turns out, Benjamin snr will join the driver line-up in the Ben Morgenrood Motors entry and the Randfontein-based team must surely be eyeing their first victory.
If proof was needed that steady driving gets results, it was the bronze medal position for Team Qhubani. Despite a lack of experience they seldom put a foot wrong around RSR, and preserved the car perfectly.
Both Bapi Rubuluza and Fikile Holisama have shown that they have decent pace on a clear track they now need to be more assertive when there is traffic around. But every outing builds that bank of experience that is so essential.
Keen to open their account will be father and son combo of Harm and Barend Pretorius, having finished second in one of the PE rounds last year.
Also keen on a big point haul will be Phillip Meyer and Dean Wolson, whose consistency saw them end the 2021 Roadster Challenge second overall. Joining the fray are father/son combo Manfred and Brett Schroder, Manfred being a former Ford factory driver in off-road racing
What has made the sub-category – class E of the South African Endurance Series to be precise – so exciting is the similarity of the cars.
“By limiting the choices of various key components we are striving to achieve two things,” says Brian Martin of Backdraft Racing. “on one hand we can keep costs down and also provide a support truck loaded with exchangeable components, and on the other hand we create a platform for close racing.”
In these tough economic times it is what racers are looking for, and the cars are fun to drive and spectacular at the limit and Aldo Scribante should show that once again. The good news is that there are cars available to hire or purchase outright, and anyone who thinks they have what it takes should get in touch with Backdraft Racing.
Words: Adrian Burford