Holm and Hills take 40th Anniversary Victories
The South Africa Formula Vee 40th Anniversary event, run in conjunction with the Altech Grand Prix Masters and Altech Formula One 2 seater event, at Kyalami, attracted an entry of forty four cars, of which forty one where on the grid, for the start of the first heat.
Starting from pole position, for the Saturday race, newly crowned 2005 National Champion Alan Holm (JBS Lasersprint Rhema 2), led throughout the race, closely followed by team mate Jaco Schriks. The man who split them on the grid, Anthony Taylor (Rigidek Rhema 2), fluffed his start and lost a few places but by the end of the first lap, had worked his way up to third place and although he was never able to challenge the blue cars ahead of him, he held the position, through to the end of the race. The first visitor home, was ex German Champion Joachim Lutz (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), in sixteenth place, followed less than a second later, by another of the German drivers, Arno Sommer (JBS Lasersprint Rhema). The third placed visitor, Dirk Schubert, brought the Rhema 2, he was sharing with Dennis Johns, home in twentieth place. The second race produced a win for Peter Hills (Vacuform Rhema 2), ahead of Johns, and Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), after Holm and Schriks had been forced to start the race, from the back of the grid.
Once the formalities of the 40th Anniversary Parade where completed, the field was led away from the line by Holm, as Taylor selected neutral and had to put the car back into first gear again, to get it under way. The big mover on the first lap, was triple ex South African National Formula Vee Champion Gawie Gouws (Mini Maxi Armature Winders Mantis) and he crossed the line in twelfth place, after starting eighteenth. He then set about challenging the youngsters, less than half his age. They proved to be no match, for Gouws' wealth of talent and experience, as he continued his climb up through the field.
In the meantime Jannie Geyser (Vision) had tangled with Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema) and spun off, hitting something solid, which put an end to his weekend's racing, before he had even completed the first lap. Alan Kernick (Tasman) and Rory Wilson (Indigo) did not go much further and pulled off at Turn 3, to retire, followed by Tony Beecher (Laser TB1) and Kyle Bennett (Tata Rhema), the following lap. Three laps into the race, they where joined, by Andre Van Der Merwe Jnr (ACC Airconditioning Rhema 2) and Bradley Martin (Rhema 2), while Benny Phetla (Lotto Vision) and Paul Venter Jnr (F-One Removals Laser), both retired just before half distance and Trevor Bland (Kaleid-O-Print Rhema), just after half distance.
Positions continued to change up and down the field and just after half distance Manfred Benninger (Altech LG Rhema) slipped neatly past Reiner Badura (Vacuform Rhema 2), through Nashua Bend. By this time, Gouws had made his way up to seventh place and then disposed of teenage Karter Laurent Calkoen (Autoquip Mixtrade Vision), before the end of the race as well.
In the end, it was Holm, who took the first race victory, from Schriks, Taylor, James Leach (Prolantic Lantis), Cape Town's Doug Mac Donald (Fantastic Racing Rhema), Gouws, Calkoen, another Capetonian, Chris Danks (Fantastic Racing Rhema 2), Kevin Cartmell (Rand Brake Sting), Nico Blignaut Gilus SAP Rhema), Deon Brummer (Execu Stand Sting) and Bobby Nel (DK Office Furniture Lantis). After two days, of battling to sort out gearbox and clutch problems, which saw the car only complete a lap or two of practice and miss qualifying completely, the Bearing Man car, designed and built by the team of KwaZulu Natal engineering students, for their fourth year engineering project, not only made it's debut in the race but soldiered on to finish the race in thirty first place, despite further gear selection problems, for driver Claude Janisch.
After an infringement, during the race two qualifying session, Holm and Schriks where relegated to the back of the thirty seven car field, that lined up for Sunday's race. On pole position, was Hills and although he led the race initially, Johns slipped past, to lead the field through at the end of the fourth lap, before Hills regained the position, just after half distance. In the meantime, Schriks and Holm had been making rapid progress up through the field. By the end of the first lap, Schriks was already up to fifteenth place, with Holm in seventeenth place. The following lap, they where tenth and eleventh, then seventh and ninth. For a couple of laps, they where stuck in sixth and seventh places, behind Leach and Gouws, who had already swapped positions between themselves, a couple of times. Holm was the first to make the next move, not only getting past Schriks, but Gouws and Leach as well and taking Schriks with him. Fourth and fifth, where as high as they where going to get, although they would swap positions between themselves, a couple more times, before the end of the race.
Once again attrition was high in the early stages of the race, with Jaco Greyling and Cape Town's Romanie Smithdorf, failing to complete the first lap and Tony Beecher pulling in soon after that, to retire. Andre Van Der Merwe Jnr retired the following lap, to record his second DNF of the weekend, with Paul Venter Jnr, Martin and Wilson doing the same, before half distance, while Brummer also came to a stop, somewhere out on the circuit. Before the end of the race, Kernick and Phetla, would also pull in at Turn 3, to retire, while Gouws pulled off at the main pits. All three had however completed enough laps, to be classified as finishers.
Once Hills had retaken the lead, Johns hung on but was unable to mount another attack and Hills went on to win the second race of the weekend, from Johns, Grobler, Holm, Schriks, Leach, Bland, Francois Herbst (ACC Airconditioning Rhema 2), Calkoen, Danks, Pienaar and Bennett, after MacDonald had lost it coming out of Nashua Bend, with a couple of laps to go. He stopped centimeters away from the inside tyre wall, having worked his way back to tenth, after an incident during the second lap of the race, had dropped him from sixth place, back to sixteenth place! By the time he had the car facing the right way again, after the spin at Nashua, he rejoined in fifteenth place, behind Blignaut who had also started the second race, near the back of the field.
During the final lap of the race, Kevin Cartmell had gone missing, from eleventh place, promoting those behind and dropping him to twentieth place on the results, while the students car continued to improve and Janisch brought the car home in Sunday's race, in twenty sixth place.