SAFV: WesBank round one summary

Formula Vee Produces Closest Finish of the Day The first round of the 2007 South African National Formula Vee Championship, produced two of the closest finishes of the day, at the first Pro-Tour race meeting of the year, run at the WesBank...

Formula Vee Produces Closest Finish of the Day

The first round of the 2007 South African National Formula Vee Championship, produced two of the closest finishes of the day, at the first Pro-Tour race meeting of the year, run at the WesBank Raceway in Germiston.

The first heat saw battles rage all the way down the field. The battle for the lead involved, Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), Peter Hills (Vacuform Rhema 2), Alan Holm (Lasersprint Rhema 2) and Dennis Johns (Geyser Attorneys Rhema 2) and was a real race of Champions, with all four of these veterans of South African Formula Vee racing, having won the National Formula Vee Title, during the course of their distinguished racing careers. Behind them Jaco Schriks (Lasersprint Rhema 2) and teenage ex Karter Andre Van Der Merwe Jnr (ACC Airconditioning Rhema 2), engaged in a race long duel, swapping positions on a regular basis, while Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema 1), Bradley Martin (Rhema 2), Kevin Cartmell (Rand Brake Sting), sixteen year old Cape Town debutant Courtney Steenveld (NLDTF Rhema 1), Jannie Geyser (Geyser Attorneys Vision), Johan Gouws (Mantis) and Gert Van Den Berg (Rhema1), where engaged in a multi car battle, a little further back. Martin then retired, with a mechanical problem, after seven laps and after gaining some positions, Geyser picked up a gear box problem, dropping him to the back of the field, to finish one lap down on the leaders. The rest continued the battle but into Turn One, for the tenth time, Pienaar out braked not only Cartmell and Steenveld but himself as well and spun. Steenveld clipped him with a back wheel, while Cartmell ran into Pienaar and of the three, only Cartmell would make it to the end of the race.

In the end, it was Holm who took victory, 0.180 of a second ahead of Grobler and they where followed across the line, by Johns and Hills. Best of the rest, was Van Der Merwe Jnr who took fifth place, after his race long battle with Schriks and they where followed home, by Trevor Bland (Rhema 2), Kyle Bennet (AIE Plastics Rhema1), sixteen year old debutant ex Karter Dean Lester (Rigidek Rhema 2), Van Den Berg, James Leach (Rhema1) and Gouws, competing in his first National Championship Formula Vee race. Just missing out, on a National Championship Point, was another of the new drivers, Durban's Zaahir Essa (Rhema 1).

Would the second heat be able to live up to the first. Down the field, the racing was not quite as close, although there where a number of positional changes, throughout the race. The battle for the lead was however just as intense, as the reigning Champion and the three ex Champions, fought it out for the lead. By the end there where only three, after Hills' car started miss-firing and he was swallowed by those behind. Then the motor cleared again and although he was able to work his way back up to fourth place and record the fastest and second fastest laps of the race, during the last two laps, he was no longer in a position to challenge for the win.

A little further back Pienaar and Cartmell where engaged in their own private race long duel, after Gouws had retired early in the race, with a mechanical problem.

Into the last lap, the leading trio where still as close as they had been all race. Through the Elbow for the last time, Holm led but Johns and Grobler where right on his tail. Holm ran a little wide on the exit and in a dramatic move, Johns seized the opportunity to slip inside Holm, on the banked final turn and he took the flag, as the three of them crossed the line within 0.160 of a second. Hills claimed fourth place and he was followed across the line, by Schriks, Van Der Merwe Jnr, Lester, Bennett, Bland, Van Der Berg, Cartmell and Essa, claimimg the point that eluded him in heat one. After the race, Johns was however penalized 0.100 of a second, by the Clerk of the Course, for crossing the white line that marks the pit entrance, during the course of his last lap passing maneuver and the victory went to Holm, with Johns having to settle for second place, in the official result.

-credit: safv

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