SAFV: East London round three preview

East London to Host Formula Vee Round Three The historic East London Grand Prix Circuit hosts the third round of the 2007 South African National Formula Vee Championship, on the 19th May. The event is also the third round of the new Pro...

East London to Host Formula Vee Round Three

The historic East London Grand Prix Circuit hosts the third round of the 2007 South African National Formula Vee Championship, on the 19th May. The event is also the third round of the new Pro Tour Series and includes races for Hollard Shellby Can Am, Investchem Formula Ford Zetec, Altech Porsche Unlimited, Altech Porsche 924, Altech Kawasaki ZX10R Masters Cup and Goldwagen VW Challenge, as well as Regional Eastern Cape Saloons. The second heat, for Hollard Shellby Can Am and Altech Porsche Unlimited, will again be a combined race, a format which produced a stunning race at the Kyalami event.

Having played host to the South African Grand Prix and legends of Grand Prix racing, like Sterling Moss, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Bruce MacLaren, Jackie Stewart and Joachim Rindt, in the early 1960s, the East London Grand Prix Circuit offers a special challenge. A modern South African 1400cc Volkswagen Citi Golf powered Formula Vee, posts lap times that are only about five seconds slower than the top 1500cc V8 powered Grand Prix Cars, at the end of that era and the high speed Potters Pass Bend, is the one that really sorts the men from the boys. The ultimate challenge, in South African Formula Vee racing, is to keep your foot flat on the throttle through Potters. Such is the level of skill and trust in one another's ability, that the leading contenders are not only capable of doing that but doing it side by side on occasions as well. A prime out braking point will be at Cocabana, at the end of the straight, where the cars will be braking from approximately 230 KM per hour. The complex past the Kart Circuit is tricky and requires precise positioning, for maximum speed through that area, before presenting the drivers with a spectacular sea view, as they head toward The Sweep. The final bend, Beacon Bend, is also a crucial out braking area, particularly on the final lap, when it is not only crucial to make the pass but also to get the power back on at the correct moment and not run wide on the exit, to avoid being out dragged and losing your hard won position again, before the finish line,

If the first two races of the season are anything to go by, the battle for the lead in East London should be another close fought battle of Champions. Heading the entry list, is the current Champion Alan Holm (No1 Lasersprint Rhema 2) and he will once again have to deal with the likes of the 1999 Champion and last years runner up, Peter Hills (No2 Vacuform Rhema 2), the 2004 Champion, Symm Grobler (No5 Auto Mecca Rhema 2) and the 2000 Champion, Dennis Johns (No8 Geyser Attorneys Rhema 2). Holm's teammate, Jaco Schriks (No3 Lasersprint Rhema 2), has produced some of his best results at the East London Grand Prix Circuit and will be hoping to repeat that form and make his presence felt in the lead bunch as well.

Not far behind and inseparable so far this season, should be Trevor Bland (No6 Rhema 2) and Kyle Bennett (No89 AIE Plastics Rhema 1). They could however be faced with another challenge from sixteen year old ex Karter Dean Lester (No69 Rigidek Rhema 2). Other drivers worth watching out for include sixteen year old development driver Courtney Steenveld of Cape Town, in the No23 NLDTF Rhema1 and Zaahir Essa, a University of KwaZulu Natal Engineering Student who was part of the team of students that designed and built a Formula Vee racing car, in 2005. In East London, Essa will be behind the wheel of the No71 NLDTF supported Rhema 1, which he purchased at the beginning of the year.

Gareth Jackson's new Lasersprint Rhema 2 should finally make it's debut at East London, while other drivers expected to be in the field, include Jannie Geyser (No 7 Geyser Attorneys Vision) who has been battling with a down on power motor so far this year, Andre Van Der Merwe (No21 Atlas Dry Cleaners Lantis), Secunda's Gert Van Den Berg (No40 Rhema 1), James Leach (No52 Rhema1) and Gyani's John Lerm (No55 Racing for Wildlife Sting). Making his Formula Vee racing debut at the East London race, should be Lucky Thomaides in a Rhema 2, while there is still a possibility that Ben Pienaar No101 BJ Pro Welding Rhema 1 and Denver Pienaar No 50 Vision could be in the final line up as well.

-credit: safv

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Jackie Stewart , Jim Clark , Jack Brabham , Peter Hill , Graham Hill