SAFV: WesBank round nine summary

Holm Stumbles Alan Holm (JBS Lasersprint Rhema 2) retains the National Championship points lead but with a vastly reduced margin, over reigning Champion Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2). Two weeks before the WesBank event, there ...

Holm Stumbles

Alan Holm (JBS Lasersprint Rhema 2) retains the National Championship points lead but with a vastly reduced margin, over reigning Champion Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2). Two weeks before the WesBank event, there was the possibility that Holm may not have been able to race at all but a lot of hard work and sacrifice, saw him take the grid and finish third, in heat one and fifth, in heat two. Then, in yet another twist to this intriguing season, Holm was excluded from the results of the first heat. A stone had pierced one of his radiators, during the race and after the cars and drivers had been weighed, after the first heat, Holm had been found to be under weight. This has reduced his Championship lead to a mere four points, over Grobler who had bounced back from his Kyalami slump, to win the first heat at the Wesbank Raceway and then, he went on to finish third, in the second heat.

Pole position, for both heats, had gone to Holm's JBS Lasersprint team mate Jaco Schriks and he led the field away from the line, at the start of the first heat, in a mad dash down to Turn One. Starting seventh, Laurent Calkoen (Autoquip Mail & Guardian Vision) out braked four cars into bend, without hitting anyone but then lost places, running wide on the exit of the bend. As Schriks, led Grobler and Calkoen through Turn One, Holm and Andre Van Der Merwe (ACC Airconditioning Rhema 2) where side by side behind them, while Anthony Taylor (Rigidek Rhema 2) was inside of them, with two wheels on the dirt. Somehow they all got away with it. Not so lucky, where those behind, as Devan Moonsammy (Lotto Rhema) slammed into the back of Trevor Bland (AC DC Dynamics Rhema), spinning him around in the middle of the bend and forcing Jannie Geyser (Vision), to take the long way around, in the dirt.

The following lap, it was Grobler who led Schriks into Turn One, with Taylor sliding into the bend sideways and all crossed up behind them. As the rest of the field streamed through, Kyle Bennett (Tata Rhema) pulled off, to retire with a damaged motor, while Bland and Moonsammy had both limped back to the pits, to retire as well. After that, things settled down a bit, although positions up front where changing on a regular basis and Alan Kernick (Tasman) and Nico Blignaut (Gilus IT SAP Rhema), where engaged in a feverish battle, a little further down the field. Then Kernick had a big moment, exiting the Elbow, after which Blignaut engaged in a brief skirmish, with the BJ Pro Welding Rhema of Ben Pienaar but then Blignaut retired shortly before the end of the race, when he ran the bearings of his motor.

There where no such problems for Grobler, who went on to win the first heat, ahead of Taylor, Holm, Schriks, Peter Hills (Vacuform Rhema 2), Van Der Merwe, Dennis Johns (Rhema 2), Calkoen, Gareth Jackson (JBS Lasersprint Rhema), Geyser, Bobby Nel (DK Office Furniture Lantis), Pienaar and Kernick. After Holm's exclusion, all those behind him moved up one position, and Nel had done enough, to secure the 2005 Formula Vee Association Competition, with Jackson finishing as runner-up, in the Competition.

The second heat produced another good close battle, at the head of the field, as Schriks led the field through the Elbow for the first time, followed by Grobler, Hills, Taylor, Holm, Van Der Merwe, Bland, Calkoen and Johns, with Jackson having already lost his nose cone, after hitting the back of Geyser's car, at Turn One. At times, the lead bunch consisted of up to seven cars, while behind them, Bland and Calkoen where fighting a torrid battle, swapping places up to three times a lap. Then Moonsammy blew an oil seal, coating Jaco Greyling (Rhema) and those behind in oil and Moonsammy pulled off to retire. Pienaar lost time, somewhere along the line and ended up stuck behind Kernick, for the rest of the race, while once again, newcomer Jack Valadas (Racing for Jesus Rhema) kept his nose clean, despite being lapped by the lead bunch, through the Elbow, with just over a lap to go.

During the course of the race, Schriks, Grobler and Hills, had all led at one stage or another but in the end, it was Schriks who won the race 0.454 of a second, ahead of Hills and they where followed home by Grobler, Taylor, Holm, Johns, Van Der Merwe, Bland, Calkoen, Bennett, Geyser and Jackson. Despite his first heat exclusion, Holm had done enough to secure the 2005 MSA Northern Regions Championship, a mere two points ahead of runner up Grobler, with teenage Karter Van Der Merwe finishing third, in the Championship, in his first full year of Formula Vee Racing.

-safv-

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