2009 Titles to Holm and Venter
The final Formula Vee race, of the 2009 season, saw Alan Holm (Lasersprint Office Direct Rema 2) emerge as the 2009 South African National Formula Vee Champion, while the Formula Vee Association, Club Competition title, went to Paul Venter (Nashua Mobile Laser). Holm now brings his tally of National titles, to four and becomes the first driver to achieve that feat, in the forty four year history of the category in South Africa. Holm started the day, in a fairly comfortable position and held on to take the tile, despite two traumatic races, both won by his main rival, fifteen year old rookie Chad Van Beurden. Venter on the other hand, came from behind and in the end took the title fairly comfortably, after his main rival and points leader going into the event, Gareth Jackson (Lasersprint Rhema 2), broke a throttle linkage in the second heat and failed to finish the race.
The first heat, saw Van Beurden and wingman Zaahir Essa (NLDTF Rhema 1) get the jump on Holm who had started from pole position and they where both ahead of Holm through Turn Six, on the first lap, with Peter Hills (BJ Pro Welding Rhema 2), Jaco Schriks (Lasersprint Rhema 2), Trevor Bland (Rhema 2) and Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), all breathing down Holm's neck. Into Turn One, for the second time, Holm had a go at Essa but it did not come off and he spun. It could have all ended in tears, for Holm, right there and then but he was lucky to escape unscathed, as his team mate Schriks, slammed into the back of Hills behind him, putting both of them out of the race. Holm then benefited, from further good fortune, when the Safety Car came out for a lap to clear the cars of Hills and Schriks and the field, which had been spread out by the incident, where able to bunch up again.
From the restart, Van Beurden and Essa took off like a couple of scalded cats, followed by Bland, Johan Gouws (Mantis), Holm and Grobler and although Holm was able to re pass, both Gouws and Bland, that would be as far as he would get. Venter on the other hand, had come out of the incident ahead of Alan Eustice (Execuline Rhema 2) and now had an additional buffer, between himself and Jackson, as he locked onto the back of Jannie Geyser Jnr (Geyser Racing Rhema 2). Eventually Venter passed Geyser Jnr as well and it was obvious Geyser Jnr had a problem, retiring a couple of laps later, with a loose wheel. Another battle worth mentioning, was the one involving Henk Swanepoel (Rent A Renovator Rhema 1), Nico Blignaut (Gilus IT SAP Rhema 2), Greg Wilson (Reflex Solutions Rhema 2) and Hugo Wallendorf (BJ Pro Welding Lantis). Wilson eventually worked his way to the front of the bunch, while Swanepoel was obviously struggling a bit and was picked off one by one, before falling off the back of the bunch, into the clutches of Jannie Geyser Snr (Geyser Racing Vision) who was also battling a bit, with a gear selection problem.
Lap after lap, Holm continued to hound Essa but there was just no way past Essa who set the fastest lap of the day, in the final lap of the heat and they followed Van Beurden across the line, the three of them separated by eight tenths of a second, at the finish. Bland came home fourth, to clinch third place on the National Championship log and he was followed home, by Grobler, Gouws, Venter, Eustice, Jackson, Wilson, Blignaut, and Wallendorf.
The start of the second heat, saw Holm push for the front as the field surged toward Turn Two for the first time but Essa and Van Beurden where on the inside and held him off, with Van Beurden's other wingman, Grobler, sticking right on Van Beurden's tail and Holm was forced to take the outside line, all the way around the corner. By the following lap, Van Beurden had slipped past Essa and this time Holm made his run up the inside of Grobler into Turn Two but lost his nose cone and a place to Gouws, as Van Beurden, Essa and Grobler swept across, to take their line into the corner. Hills also passed Holm, at one stage but Holm was now driving for the points and although he retook the position and eventually past Gouws as well, he was just looking to finish without any further incident, safe in the knowledge he would still have enough points, to secure the title.
The second heat proved to be one of attrition and no less than six cars succumbed to mechanical failure. Swanepoel retired, on the warm up lap, with a motor only running on three cylinders, while Jackson retired without completing a lap, due to a broken throttle linkage and Bland did not last much longer, retiring during the third lap, having run the bearings of his motor, A couple of laps, further into the race, Geyser Snr was out with a recurring gear selection problem, along with Chandre Kruger (Sting) who had lost power, due to a turned emulsion tube. The last to go, was Grobler who came to a standstill out on the circuit, when his throttle linkage came apart.
By then, Van Beurden and Essa had a comfortable gap, at the head of the field, while a little further back Eustice had spun at Turn Five and now had Wilson glued to his tail, the rookie not only learning valuable lessons, on race lines and braking points but even forcing Eustice to run wide, at the same corner and relieving him of his position, in the process. So the race ran it's course, with Van Beurden claiming his second victory of the day, ahead of Essa who was followed home, by Holm, Gouws and Hills, the three of them crossing the line, within eight tenths of a second and they in turn, where followed home by Geyser Jnr, Venter, Wilson, Eustice, Blignaut and Wallendorf.