Holm Takes Command
Kyalami proved to be a happy hunting ground, for Alan Holm (JBS Lasersprint Rhema 2) and he ended the day, with a win, a second place and the new Kyalami Formula Vee lap record, of 1min 57,281secs. Both races, produced close no holds barred racing, at the head of the field and the second heat victory, went to the new Vacuform Rhema 2, of ex Champion Peter Hills. With his performance, at Kyalami, Holm has strengthened his claim to the 2005 South African National Formula Vee Championship, opening the gap over reigning National Champion Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), to twenty one points. By his own admission, Grobler had a bad day at the office, finishing both heats in seventh place.
At the start of the first heat, Jaco Schriks (JBS Lasersprint Rhema 2) made a demon start, from third place on the grid, to take the lead but then he threw away the advantage again, when he ran wide exiting Nashua. Hills was quick to take advantage and by the end of the lap, he had a comfortable gap over the rest of the field but as he led across the line, for the second time, the red flag came out and the race was stopped. JP Nortje (Sting) had suffered a rear suspension failure, at the second of the Esses and gone off into the gravel trap, ripping off the aluminum under tray, both radiators and shedding most of the body work in the process. He escaped unscathed but the car would take no further part in the day's proceedings.
Another two, of the original twenty six starters, would fail to make the restart as well, with Jaco Greyling (Rhema) retiring to the pits, with an overheating motor and Cape Town's Chris Danks (Stalcor Rhema 2), being pushed off the grid, due to a leaking water pipe. From the restart, Hills took the lead, from Holm, Schriks, Andre Van Der Merwe (ACC Air- conditioning Rhema 2), Kyle Bennett (Tata Rhema), Symm Grobler and Trevor Bland (AC DC Dynamics Rhema). The battle for the lead, was as intense as any of the many battles raging, all the way down the field, as Hills, Holm and Schriks, remained locked together, throughout the race.
Then on the last lap, Holm seized the advantage, as Hills came up to lap newcomer Jack Valodas (Racing for Jesus Rhema). Holm took the tighter line, exiting the Bowl and got his nose up alongside Hills, trapping him behind the back marker, on the run to the Chicane, where he took the lead and held on to the flag, to finish 0,159 of a second ahead of Hills, with Schriks, a further 0,207 of a second behind Hills. Van Der Merwe was next, followed by Bennett and Bland, 0,962 of a second ahead of Grobler. Having started at the back of the field, Dennis Johns (Goldco Midas Rhema 2) had made his way up to eighth place and could perhaps have done even better than that, where it not for a leaking rear main seal, causing the clutch to start slipping and he was followed across the line, by Cape Town's Doug MacDonald (Rhema), development driver Devan Moonsammy (Lotto Rhema), James Leach (Prolantic Lantis) and Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema).
Jannie Geyser (Vision) had retired early in the race, with a clutch problem, while Kevin Cartmell (Rand Brake Sting) had dropped out, just after half distance, when the car cut out, due to an electrical problem. Laurent Calkoen (Autoquip Mail & Guardian Vision) lost a number of places, with a spin in the Chicane, on the last lap and Bobby Nel (DK Office Furniture Lantis) had been losing ground throughout the race, due to a miss fire, finishing up in an unaccustomed nineteenth place.
The second heat, proved to be a real humdinger, with a six car train at the head of the field, swapping positions on a regular basis and other good, close battles raging further down the field as well. Initially, it was Schriks who led, from Holm, Hills, Van Der Merwe, Bennett and Johns who was making rapid progress, picking them off one by one. By half distance, he had taken the lead but in the closing stages of the race, the oil seal problem returned and with the clutch starting to slip again, he would be unable to hold off the pack, snapping at his heels. Having dropped as low as fourth, at one stage, Hills had worked his way back to the front, with a couple of laps to go and the chase was on for the line.
The final lap saw the top three finishers, post their fastest lap of the race, including Holm's new lap record but even that was not good enough to prevent Hills, from becoming the sixth race winner of the year, 0,102 of a second ahead of Holm, with Schriks having to be content with third place. In the meantime, Bennett had got the better of Van Der Merwe and beat him to the line, by 0.299 of a second and they where followed home by Johns, 0,355 of a second further back, Grobler, Leach, Moonsammy, Pienaar, Geyser and Danks.
Still suffering from electrical problems, Kevin Cartmell had retired in the opening lap, with MacDonald retiring soon after, when the gear selector came loose, at the back of the gearbox. Also plagued by gear selection problems, was Bland. His gear lever had come loose and although he had only completed the first lap, in nineteenth place, he got the hang of it and was soon carving his way back up through the field, getting as high as eleventh, before the gear lever parted company from the shaft and he was forced into retirement as well.