Grobler and Essa Secure Victory At Zwartkops After a week of incessant rain, race day produced a warm, dry, sunny, day, perfect weather for racing and the two Execuline Motor Insurance Formula Vee races did not disappoint, with good, ...
Grobler and Essa Secure Victory At Zwartkops
After a week of incessant rain, race day produced a warm, dry, sunny, day, perfect weather for racing and the two Execuline Motor Insurance Formula Vee races did not disappoint, with good, close, action packed racing, throughout both twelve lap heats. Pole position for Heat One went to development driver Zaahir Essa (NLDTF Reflex Solutions Rhema 2) but before the end of the session, the motor blew. A decision was made to switch to the Rhema 1 but the car had to be fetched from the other side of Pretoria, along with two gearboxes, for Johan Gouws (Indwe Risk Services Mantis) and Henk Swanepoel (Renexcon Rhema 2). Gouws was destined, not to make the first race but with a lot of help, Swanepoel made it into the pre race paddock, with less than a minute to spare. Not so lucky, was Essa. Once the car had arrived at the circuit, it still had to be prepared for the race and the field where already into the second lap of the race, before Essa exited the pit lane.
At the head of the field, where the two veteran ex Champions, Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2) and Peter Hills (Renexcon Rhema 2), followed by Trevor Bland, deputizing for Mark Stewart in the Direction Group Rhema 2 and Jannie Geyser Snr (Vision). Behind them, there was a mighty squabble among the new young guns, with Hugo Wallendorf (BJ Pro Welding Lantis) losing his nose cone when Greg Wilson (Reflex Solutions Rhema 2) closed the door on him. The following lap, Nicholas Tennant (Tennant Life Benefits Rhema 2) lost his nose cone as well, in an incident with Jannie Geyser Jnr (Rhema 2)..
Out front, Hills pushed Grobler all the way to the checkered flag but could not find a way past, with Grobler's car having a slight advantage, accelerating out of the tighter bends. Bland kept station behind them, until a misfire dropped him into the clutches of those behind. Victory would however go to Grobler 0.184 of a second, ahead of Hills, Geyser Snr came home third, closely followed by Tennant, Bland and Paul Venter (Laser), the four of them crossing the line, in a fraction over a second. Geyser Jnr had earlier run wide, filling the side pods with grass, causing the motor to overheat dropping him out of the bunch and he retired with a lap to go. Keegan Campos (Campos Transport Carrera Sunglasses Rhema 2) who had also been running with the bunch and Alan Eustice (Execuline Rhema 2) who had moved up through the field, to tag onto the back of the bunch, then had a moment, dropping them behind a race long duel, between Swanepoel and Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema 2), with Eustice recovering to split the two of them, at the flag and Campos finishing right on Pienaar's tail, as the four of them crossed the line, nose to tail. Wilson and Nico Blignaut (Gilus IT SAP Rhema 2) completed the top twelve finishers.
There was also some good close racing, further down the field as well, involving Andrei Overbeek (Rhema 1) and Mile Stewart ( Direction Group Rhema 1) and saw the two of them swap positions a few times, before Overbeek spun and the battle was finally resolved, in favor of Stewart. Newcomer Shaun Van Der Linde (Len Schoen Estates Rhema 1), finished his first race one lap down, while both Wallendorf and Huno Van Der Spy (Vision) failed to qualify as finishers, after both of them had retired, before two thirds distance.
In the second heat, Stewart dropped out early on, while Tennant lost a lot of time, after he touched wheels with Bland, spun and beached the car on the inside curb, at Turn Two. Moments earlier, Hills had come down the inside of Grobler, to take the lead, while Essa was carving his way up through the field, after starting from the back of the grid. Soon, there was a four car train at the head of the field, with Hills leading, from Essa, Grobler and Bland but then the late afternoon sun caught Hills out. Momentarily blinded by the sun, he ran wide on the exit of Turn One and careered across the grass, still flat out but then got the car sideways, while trying to ease it back toward the circuit and ended up facing the wrong way, on the curb, at the entrance to Turn Two, as Essa swept past, to take the lead. Then with a couple of laps to go, Blignaut and Campos, touched wheels, entering Turn Four. Blignaut's car was launched into the air, spun around and landed backwards, bending the rear suspension. Blignaut retired on the spot but still qualified as a finisher, behind Gouws and Van Der Linde. Having made his way though more than half the field, after starting from the back of the grid, Gouws then had the clutch fail and he had been forced to retire, with a lap to go.
In the end, the second heat victory went to Essa, from Grobler, Bland, Venter, Hills, Eustice, Geyser Jnr, Geyser Snr, Pienaar, Swanepoel, Wilson and Campos, with Grobler taking first place overall, ahead of Hills and Bland.