Another Double Win for Johns The sixth round of the Pro Tour South African National Formula Vee Championship, at The Citizen Kyalami Pro Tour race meeting, produced another double win for Dennis Johns ...
Another Double Win for Johns
The sixth round of the Pro Tour South African National Formula Vee Championship, at The Citizen Kyalami Pro Tour race meeting, produced another double win for Dennis Johns (Geyser Attorneys Rhema 2) but he had to work very hard, for both of them. The man on fire, at Kyalami, was however Peter Hills (Vacuform Rhema 2). In Friday afternoon's qualifying session, he was visibly trying harder than anyone else on the circuit and claimed Pole Position, ahead of Johns, Trevor Bland (Rhema 2), Alan Holm (Laser Sprint Rhema 2), Jaco Schriks (Laser Sprint Rhema 2) and Johan Gouws (Computer Associates Mantis). Newcomer Azeem Boomberg, was still getting to know the car and qualified well down the field, while starting from the back on race day, would be sixteen year old development driver Courtney Steenveld (NLDTF Indy Oil Rhema 1) who had exams to write at school on Friday and could only fly up from Cape Town, to Gauteng, on Friday evening.
In the first heat, it was Hills who lead the field away from the line and he soon asserted his authority on the race, with a bunch of cars squabbling over second place behind him, including Bland, Holm, Schriks, Johns and Grobler, while Steenveld was already up to twelfth place by the end of the opening lap, bringing Boomberg with him. Alan Kernick (Randburg Distributor Services Tasman) was however way back, in twenty first place, having started eleventh and with three laps completed, he retired with a blown motor.
The second lap had produced a number of incidents, with Bobby Nel in the USN / Ayanda Solutions Mantis, going off the road and losing a number of laps before he could get going again. Gert Van Den Berg (Rhema 1) spun and had to wait for the marshals to push him back from the wall, before he could get going again and Nico Blignaut was also in trouble, in the Gilus IT SAP Rhema 1 but struggled on for five laps, before retiring from the race, along with Denver Pienaar (Vision) who suffered a rear suspension failure. By this time, Steenveld and Boomberg had made their way up to ninth and tenth place, behind Zaahir Essa (NLDTF Rhema 1).
Then with two laps to go and the race seemingly in the bag, Hills suffered a cut out switch failure and he was left stranded at the side of the circuit, as everyone streamed past. The battle for second place had suddenly became the battle for the lead and after a couple of hectic closing laps, it was Johns who took the first heat victory, 0.377 of a second ahead of log leader Holm, with Bland a further 0.289 of a second behind, in third place and they where followed across the line, by Grobler, Schriks, Gouws, Essa, Steenveld, Boomberg, James Leach (Auto Fair Rhema1), Jannie Geyser Jnr (Geyser Attorneys Rhema 2) and Bradley Martin (Rhema 2).
In the second heat, Johns made a break early on, leaving those behind, to battle it out for second place. That battle was extremely close, with Steenveld involved as well. Then Blignaut became the only retirement, of the second heat, when his rear suspension collapsed, two laps into the race, while Jannie Geyser (Geyser Attorneys Vision) survived a spin entering Nashua for the third time but escaped unscathed and was able to resume a little further back.
Hills was however the man on the move. Having started nineteenth, after his first heat retirement, he was already up to eight, by the end of the first lap. By the following lap, he was into the bunch, passing Steenveld and Schriks, then Bland and by the end of the fourth lap, he had disposed of Grobler and Holm as well. Trying to go with him, Bland went off the road, rejoining in seventeenth place and breaking up the bunch a bit. Then Gouws also had a moment, dropping from seventh to thirteenth place and by the end of the race, he would lose another position, with Bland re passing him, during the final lap of the race
Even by half distance, Johns still looked to be running away to a comfortable victory but that was not to be. Having already carved his way up through the field, Hills then set about closing the gap to Johns but eventually had to settle for second place, finishing 0.074 of a second behind Johns who secured his second victory of the day. Holm finished third and he was followed home, by Grobler, Schriks, Steenveld, Essa, Boomberg, Leach, Geyser Jnr, Martin and Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema 1).