When strong winds covered the Phakisa tarmac with a layer of slippery sand on Saturday, conditions for racing became treacherous - not that stars Anthony Taylor or Hudson Kennaugh seemed to mind.

When strong winds covered the Phakisa tarmac with a layer of slippery sand on Saturday, conditions for racing became treacherous - not that stars Anthony Taylor or Hudson Kennaugh seemed to mind.


Tough conditions took their toll and various pre-event favourites were beaten at the Free State circuit. In Class A, slippery conditions suited the rear-wheel drive BMW 330i runners, but presented problems for the front-wheel drive Alfa Romeo 147 GTA challengers.


Castrol BMW 330i driver Anthony Taylor won both Rounds 15 and 16 to claim the lead of the championship. In the opening race, Taylor was followed to the flag by Johan Fourie (Kaye-Eddie BMW 330i), Martin Steyn (LG Alfa Romeo 147 GTA), Steven Morris (Kaye-Eddie BMW 330i), Leeroy Poulter (Champion Mercedes C320) and Morne Jurgens (LG Alfa Romeo 147 GTA).


Hennie Groenewald - initially placed third in his Castrol BMW 330i – dropped from the leading order after incurring a 30-second penalty for jumping the start. But in the second heat, Groenewald made no mistakes, finishing second behind Taylor and ahead of Fourie, Poulter, Steyn, Jurgens and Morris.


The normally-dominant Mini Cooper S brigade struggled in Round 15. Shaun van der Linde’s works Castrol Mini suffered a puncture while Craig Nicholson’s Sabat example broke a ball joint.

That left Clint Weston to win in his Furman Glass Ford Focus ST170, ahead of Mark Allison (Vaal Mac Mercedes-Benz C270 CDI) and Phillip Kekana (Sasol Toyota RunX RSi).


The normal status quo was restored in Round 16, though, with Van der Linde winning ahead of Nicholson, Kekana and Allison.


Veteran Mike O’Sullivan (Mosport Fiat Palio) won the first Class C race, narrowly ahead of Carlos Nobre (VW CitiGolf 1,6i), Dawie Brough (Mosport Fiat Palio) and Dave Compton (Toyota Tazz 1600). In the second race O’Sullivan gave up his seat to the Fiat team’s youngster, Theunis Eloff, whose Palio suffered electrical maladies while fighting for the lead in Round 15.


Eloff led Round 16, only to be punted off the track on the third lap. That left Dave Compton to win with his Toyota, narrowly ahead of Fanie de Bruin (Makita Ford Ikon 1600i), Wayne Masters (VW CitiGolf), Carlos Nobre and Steve Wyndham (M&R Ford Ikon 1600i).


Eloff’s efforts did not go entirely unrewarded – he was chosen as the CAR Magazine Rookie of the Day.


Meanwhile, a fullscale Free State sandstorm forced organisers cancelled Saturday morning’s Official Qualifying session for the 2004 Radiator SA Superbike Championship.


The starting grid was drawn up according to riders’ current

Championship point standings, but conditions were no better when the time came for the first race.


A howling gale blew sand over the circuit, severely restricting riders’ vision and turned the track surface into something akin to a huge skating ring… Various riders deemed the conditions unacceptably dangerous, and quit the race after the warm-up lap.


However, 2004 Radiator SA Champion Hudson Kennaugh did not share their view and blasted his Cell C Suzuki into an unassailable lead in Round 15. Second – following an impressive display of sheer guts on his older Imtech Suzuki – was privateer Noel Haarhoff.


Behind Kennaugh and Haarhoff, First Technology Honda’s Shaun Whyte, Sheridan Morias and Arushen Moodley fought a race-long battle through the dust with Trevor Crookes (Cell C Suzuki) and Robert Cragg (Cedar Vadec Kawasaki).


Crookes finally led over the finish line, followed by Morias, Whyte, Cragg and Moodley.


Conditions were better for the second race, though the track was still extremely slippery.Gavin Ramsay (Kreepy Krauly Bioguard Yamaha) fell in the first corner, emulated three laps later by his team mate Graeme van Breda and Greg Dreyer (Autopage Cellular Yamaha).


Kennaugh repeated his showing at the front, again leading from flag to flag. Morias, Crookes, Whyte, Moodley and Haarhoff, whose efforts could not make up for his machine’s power disadvantage in the clearer conditions, followed the champion to the finish.