Kaye-Eddie Estates BMW E46 330i Production Car

Iconic scenes at the East London Grand Prix track, Fourie leads from Steyn

Years Raced: 2000 - 2005
Owner: Peter Kaye-Eddie
Built and prepared by: Evolution 2 Motorsport
Drivers: Reghard Roets, Steve Wyndham, Steven Morris, Johan Fourie, Robbi Smith

Enthusiasts look back to the golden years of local motorsport with favorable memories of the cars and their drivers that entertained them on our circuits. Crowds would pack grandstands to capacity on a Saturday afternoon to see the likes of Viana, Smith, Briggs, Lanz, Goddard, Joubert, Turner, Watson Smith, Mare and van der Linde take one another on in E30 BMW 325is Evo II’s and Opel Superbosses. These days many look upon these cars as being legends in their own right, if you own a road going version many will envy you, however show huge amounts of respect for what is parked in your driveway.

That was almost a decade ago, what cars could we attribute as replacements for the boxy cult warriors? Think a couple of years back when Production Car Racing possessed two of the most fiercely rivaled manufacturers in South African motorsport, Alfa Romeo and BMW. In the mix the likes of Mercedes Benz and Ford always threw a spanner in the works, however at the sharp end of the field the likes of Taylor, Steyn, Fourie, Roets and Groenewald all challenged for victory.

That was in 2004, before this breakthrough year of Production Car racing the Class A championship was dominated by the E46 BMW 330i. In successive years the likes of Shaun van der Linde, Etienne van der Linde and Anthony Taylor won the title for the factory backed BMW Motorsport team. There were mild challenges from privately run BMW entries, such as the Kaye Eddie Estates examples which were run by Evolution 2 Motorsport. Over the course of the season the works BMW’s prepared under the watchful eye of Hennie van der Linde always had the edge over the Evolution 2 Motorsport examples, reasons that can be attributed to this was budget and resources. This did not stop the likes of Reghard Roets and Steven Morris pushing their luck in causing many upsets during the years that passed, and in 2004 the works BMW pair of Taylor and Groenewald experienced their toughest and most challenging season since the inception of the E46 shape 3 series.

Evolution 2 Motorsport prepared and run BMW 330i in front of the factory Alfa Romeo and BMW teams

“Evolution 2 Motorsport began working on and developing the E46 3 series in the year 2000,” explains Alec Ceprnich. “We first began with the 328i, and in 2000 Reghard Roets won the championship for us, in 2001 BMW South Africa came into Production Car racing, from Touring Cars, and with this came a whole different ball game. Initially the plan was for all BMW run cars to be prepared out of their workshops outside Kyalami, the two cars that were built for Shaun van der Linde and Mike Briggs had chassis that came straight from Touring Cars. They also raced, a first for Production Cars, with a MoTeC Engine Management System. Relations between the two works cars and other three privately run cars turned sour, as they were main rivals and worst enemies”.

In 2002 the Kaye-Eddie Estates team were given two brand new chassis and 330i motors. The body shell was similar to that of the one’s van der Linde and Briggs used, in addition they moved over from using a standard engine management system to a PI data logger, the only problem was getting all this technology to work together with the engine. These issues hampered the team’s season, in 2003 things began to look up. Vic Maharaj was brought into the team to work with Alec Ceprnich, if there is anyone who knows how to dial the best out of an electronic control unit it is Vic. The two Kaye Eddie Estates BMW’s, with their striking livery, quickly became a thorn in the factory efforts side, a highlight of the year was when Reghard won the first heat of the last race of the season at Kyalami by more than seven seconds. He would have copied this feat had it not been for mechanical problems in the second race.

“We were all looking forward to 2004, the last race really motivated us to push for the title,” highlights Alec Ceprnich. “During the off season we completely rebuilt both cars, we adopted aggressive new methods to distribute weight in a legal way, however at the first shakedown run at Zwartkops the cars were very unreliable. Concerned that we may have pushed the envelope we attended the first race in damage limitation mode, Reghard experienced mechanical issues, while Steven Morris stuck to Taylor and Groenewald in the second race until his car also packed up”. 

At Killarney the Kaye-Eddie Estates team turned up with newly liveried cars, a third driver in the form of experienced campaigner Robbi Smith, however down the pit lane Alfa Romeo launched the new 147 GTA to its competitors. The cars were to be prepared by legendary Alfa Romeo tuner Dawie De Villiers, while their lead driver was Martin Steyn. These cars would not be able to race until Kyalami due to technical issues that they had that were not in compliance with the rules. The three BMW’s of Roets, Smith and Morris all put in consistent race results, however no race wins. At Kyalami the Kaye Eddie team was without lead driver Roets as he had broken his leg in a motorcycle incident, Smith and Morris pushed hard but could only manage podium finishes. 

Reghard Roets doing what he does best in the BMW 328i

“After the first three race meetings we were all down and realized we may have blown our chances of championship victory, it was hard enough beating the two factory BMW’s, however our challenge was made even more difficult when the Alfa of Steyn started to come on song,” describes Alec Ceprnich. “For Port Elizabeth we arrived with new enthusiasm and hope when multiple South African champion Johan Fourie joined the team in replace of the injured Roets. From the word go he was on the pace, putting the car on pole position for the first race, his presence motivated Morris to push harder and he was right up there to. Johan unfortunately missed a gear at the start and feel back to third, however in the second heat our two cars dominated with a fantastic one two finish, with Fourie beating Steven Morris to the flag”.

These performances carried on for the remainder of the year, Roets unfortunately last his drive as Johan Fourie slowly became a sure title challenger, further winning more races and adding frustration to Taylor and Steyn. At the awesome East London Grand Prix circuit one of the most memorable races took place. Many supporters of the Kaye Eddie Estates team attended the race, the Alf Romeo had the upper hand down the fast straights, however through the complex section the 330i BMW’s came into their own. On lap three Fourie managed to out brake Steyn into the last corner and take the lead, the crowd went absolutely mad. The battle further continued for the next few laps, a straight fight between the privately run BMW and factory Alfa Romeo. Disaster struck with two tours remaining, working his way through back markers Fourie collected a Ford driver who was engrossed with his own class battle, he was sent one way into the scenery along Rifle Range, while Johan limped back to the pits with a flat tyre.

“We were all devastated, the race win was handed to Steyn, who further strengthened is championship challenge, while Johan scored no points and lost ground to leader Taylor,” points out Taylor. “In the second race Johan had to work his way from the back of the Class A field, he made more contact and this time damaged the suspension forcing him to retire. What was a promising weekend turned into a disappointing one, here I feel we lost all momentum in fighting for the title. The car was sublime and Johan was in top form, if he went onto win those two races we all feel he could have gone onto win the title”. 

The colourful BMW 330i campaigned by Reghard Roets

For the Kaye-Eddie Estates team it was not to be, Johan and Steven went onto win further races, with Johan taking third in the title challenge. The battle between Taylor and Steyn went to the last race, Steyn experienced the same problem as Fourie did at East London by tagging a back marker, his result was far more dramatic as the Alfa Romeo was thrown into the air, when landing the back suspension collapsed under the force, thus handing the title to Taylor.

Looking back the E46 3 series won a total of six straight Class A championships, although it was replaced in the middle of the 2005 season by the new E90 3 series, it many respects it was far ahead of the competition that was put against it. To date there most probably will never be another racer to achieve such success and win as many races, in the years to come it will definitely, along with the Alfa Romeo 147 GTA, be seen as a legend of South African motorsport, however the BMW will still have the pedigree as it took championship laurels from the Italian brand.

These days the remaining examples of the E46 3 series race cars are still existence, while one 147 GTA does duty in Alfa’s club events. Funnily enough the two BMW’s that remain true to their existence, livery and heritage could be accounted for being the best of the lot, Taylor’s championship winning car now belongs to keen racer Neil Botha, while the Fourie car drove, at times features at BMW Club events driven by Robbi Smith and Graeme Nathan and is still able to do 1.58 lap times around Kyalami on old tyres.

The other Kaye-Eddie Estates car was campaigned by Darren Winterboer in Zimbabwe in their national championship [Note: In January 2013 Evolution 2 Motorsport did an engine transplant for Darren, installing a S54 E46 M3 Engine. The previous engine (built by Alec) had not been opened since 2004. Unfortunately Darren was involved in an accident in July 2013 in Zimbabwe. A '2013' BMW E46 was built for Darren but sadly the car was stolen in December 2013. A very sad day indeed].

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