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Big 4 Series

Broadcast date : 22nd October 2006


The FutureFin Big 4 race-series arrived at rustic Midvaal Raceway in Meyerton for a day of high-horsepower action from both supercars and superbikes.

The unique format of the Futurefin event enabled motorheads, both young and old, to enjoy a day’s racing in a relaxed atmosphere.

The event’s profile follows a concept initiated by the late Jose Graca, who ran an event called Lap of the South some years ago.

The Big 4 circus had spent the previous two days at Phakisa Raceway in Welkom and Wesbank Raceweay near Germiston.

Both the Porsche/Ferrari brigade and the two-wheeler boys were keen to get down to business at Midvaal, which dishes up a unique challenge with its mix of tight bends, fast sweeps, a narrow bumpy track surface and a super-long back-straight.

The event was run to full Motorsport South Africa rules, despite the amateur status of the competitors.

It’s the reality of these events that appeals, as street-legal machines take to the track. 

The quick guys included the usual suspects, like Andre Bezuidenhout’s RSR-spec GT2 Porsche, Jaime Vilela in his Merc DTM, as well as the Nobles, with the odd Audi RS4 mixed in.

The presence of Andrea Taurino’s Ferrari 360 Challenge added menace in the pit lane, although the Nobles turned out to be very quick track cars in this company.

The big Lumina belonging to KwaZulu-Natal enthusiast Des Gutzeit was a real turn-up for the books.

It runs a six-litre Chev V8 with a supercharger and massive rubber, and a rear-wing to provide a modicum of traction.

Even after decades of track work, Brian felt his driving benefited from instruction at a French racing school.

Paraplegic Jaime Vilela was spectacular in his Merc DTM despite driving only with hand controls, while the bikers were enjoying this unique chance to share the weekend with exotic four-wheel-machinery.

In terms of power-to-weight ratio, bikes like the BMW 1200 and the Honda CBR are light years ahead of any of the supercars, including Andre Bezuidenhout’s 500-plus kilowatt Porsche.

For instance, the K1200 delivers over 120 kiloWatts and weighs a little over 200 kilograms. Acceleration is mind-blowing, with 0-100 coming up in around 2,5 seconds.

The Honda is just as quick, if not quicker around the track. But overall the cars blow the bikes away, simply because they have four wheels and more rubber on the road.

At each round of the Futurefin Big 4 the competitors were given a 15 minute familiarisation session, two warm-up laps and five timed laps. Each and every timed lap counted towards the overall results, so the emphasis was on consistency.

You couldn’t put in a scorcher and fall off the track because that would ruin not just your session, but your entire race weekend.

Of course hot cars and hot girls go together like beer and peanuts, and there was no shortage of beautiful babes at the track. Just look at even organiser Carmen Pretorius and her bevy of beauties!

Clerk of the Course Tony Taylor says the driving standards improved with every outing.

Ande Bezuidenhouts Porsche GT2
Andrea Taurino’s Ferrari 360 Challenge
Noble M400
Jaime Vilela's Mercedes-Benz AMG DTM
Dez Gutzeit's Chev Lumina V8
Maralize Diepraam's Nissan 350Z Roadster
BMW K1200
Honda CBR
Event Organiser Carmen Pretorius
Maralize Diepraam was running in her husband’s Nissan 350Z Roadster and really started to turn it on.

The 350Z Roadster may look elegant, but it’s no pussycat, with over 200 KiloWatts on tap, which suited Maralize’s "undercover operation".

Another pleasing aspect of eventing motorsport is that the rules are kept to a minimum. If your car’s street legal and it has at least some performance credentials, you’re in – as long as you come up with the entry fee. It’s like a step back in time, before commercialism hi-jacked the sport.

Futurefin Big 4 overall results

Cars:

1. Andre Bezuidenhout – Porsche GT2 
2. Brian White – Porsche Cup 911
3. Mathew Becker – Lotus Exige S

Bikes:

1. Marius Jardinha – Suzuki GSXR
2. Mark Rex Honda – CBR 1000
3. Mike Hatton-Jones – Suzuki GSXR

After a long weekend’s worth of sawing at the wheel, it was Andre Bezuidenhout that ran-out the winner, ahead of Brian White for a Porsche err –whitewash.

A surprising third overall was UK Lotus Exige test driver Mathew Bekker, who hadn’t even seen these tracks before.

And on the bikes, it was a popular Suzuki victory for Marius Jardinha.

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