Hills And Essa Go Head To Head For The 2010 National Formula Vee Title
All eyes will be on the title battle, between the veteran ex National Champion Peter Hills (Renexcon Rhema 2) and development driver Zaahir Essa (NLDTF Reflex Solutions Rhema 2), at the final round of the 2010 Execuline SA National Formula Vee Championship, to be contested at the Execuline Historic Tour race meeting, at Zwartkops, on the 16th October 2010, an event not to be missed.
Five years ago, Essa had his introduction to Formula Vee racing, as a member of a team of University of Kwazulu Natal engineering students who embarked on a project, to design and build a Formula Vee racing car. The car was brought to Johannesburg, by the enthusiastic group of students and their professor, where it was to be raced at Kyalami, by an ex Vee driver based in Kwazulu Natal, at the South African Formula Vee 40th Anniversary event. With only a few laps of the campus car park, to its credit, the car needed a lot of sorting and the students burnt much midnight oil, particularly on the gearbox but in the end, it ran and the students and their professor went away with a great sense of accomplishment. For Essa, to race, had however become a burning passion and a year later, he made his debut as a driver, in the NLDTF Formula Vee development team.
Four years on, Essa goes into the final of the 2010 season, as a Championship contender. He does however have to overcome a seven point deficit, courtesy of a thirty second penalty, for overtaking under yellow in the second heat at Phakisa and missing the first event of the year, in East London. In motor racing, it is however, never over until the fat lady sings and two wins on the day, at Zwartkops, plus fastest lap, would give Essa the title, even if Hills where to finish both races, in second place. Zwartkops should therefore be, an all or nothing race, for both contenders.
Hills was one of a number of ex motocross competitors, including Tyrone Stevenson, Andre Vollenstee, Anthony Taylor Jaco Swanepoel, Daniel Swanepoel, Bruce Stewart and Symm Grobler who moved to Formula Vee in the early 1990s. Hills won his first SA Formula Vee National Title, in 1999 and since then, has finished the season in the top three on a number of occasions but until now, a second title has eluded him.
With all the attention focused on Hills and Essa, the rest of the field will be relegated to the roll of supporting cast, at Zwartkops. They can however still be counted on, to give of their very best on the day. Other drivers to watch out for, near the head of the field, include veteran ex Champion Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), Johan Gouws (Indwe Risk Services Menlyn Motor Services E-car Mantis), young guns, Nicholas Tennant (Tennant Life Benefits Rhema 2) and Keegan Campos (Campos Transport GP Energy Drink Rhema 2), along with Nico Blignaut (Gilus IT SAP Rhema 2) and Paul Venter (Nashua Mobile Rhema 1). Also in the Zwartkops line up, should be Greg Wilson (Reflex Solutions Rhema 2), Ben Pienaar (BJ Welding Rhema 2), Alan Eustice (Execuline Rhema 2), Henk Swanepoel (Renexcon Rhema 2), Jannie Geyser Snr (Vision), Hugo Wallendorf (BJ Pro Welding Laser), Shaun Van Der Linde (Len Schoen Estates Rhema 1), Mile Stewart (Direction Group Rhema 2), Andrei Overbeek (Rhema 1) and Hano Van Der Spy (Vision).
Hoping for better fortune at Zwartkops, will be Mariaan Brits (Nedbank Women in Motorsport Rhema 1), after being crippled with no fourth gear at the recent Kyalami event. Many would have thrown in the towel but Brit's persevered and still put in a full sixteen laps of racing, for her sponsor, in an uncompetitive situation! It remains to be seen, if the Lasersprint team, make their imminent return to the category, at the Zwartkops event, with regular drivers Alan Holm, Jaco Schriks and Gareth Jackson, which would certainly liven things up, even more, all the way down the field