Holm's Winning Streak Ends at Zwartkops The fourth round of the 2007 South African National Formula Vee Championship, saw Alan Holm (Lasersprint Rhema 2) beaten for the first time this year, after Peter Hills (Vacuform Rhema 2) ...
Holm's Winning Streak Ends at Zwartkops
The fourth round of the 2007 South African National Formula Vee Championship, saw Alan Holm (Lasersprint Rhema 2) beaten for the first time this year, after Peter Hills (Vacuform Rhema 2) picked up his first win of the year, in the second heat, at the Zwartkops World of Motoring. Earlier in the day, it had looked as if Holm was invincible, after he had picked up his seventh straight win of the year. From the outside, it had looked like a dominant victory, as he cruised home with a victory margin of over three seconds, while those behind fought it out for second place. Little did they know, that Holm had lost the use of fourth gear as early as one third distance and had been restricted to second and third gears, for the remainder of the race.
The first heat, saw Holm lead from start to finish and within a couple of laps, he had already opened a small gap over the perusing pack, as they squabbled among themselves. This advantage was to prove invaluable, oncer he lost the use of fourth gear, although with the tight nature of the Zwartkops circuit, it was not as big a handicap as it would have been, on most of the other circuits in the country. Those behind, where still busy scraping it out amongst themselves and did not realize that Holm had a problem, which they may have been able to capitalize on. The race long battle behind Holm, involved Hills, Symm Grobler (Automeca Rhema 2), Dennis Johns (Geyser Attorneys Rhema 2) and Jaco Schriks (Lasersprint Rhema 2), while in the closing stages of the race, they where caught by Dean Lester (Rhema 2), who had earlier been involved in a duel with Trevor Bland (Rhema 2).
Other battles raged all the way down the field, as well and the complexion of the race changed constantly, as cars slowed with mechanical problems, while others made their way back up through the field, after spins and off course excursions. Lester lost a few places, with a moment early on and then Kyle Bennett (AIE Plastics Rhema 1) spun at Turn Two, avoiding Courtney Steenveld (NLDTF Indy Oils Rhema 1). Bennett lost fourteen positions, in the process but had already regained seven of them, by the time he retired from the race with the car spitting flames from both the carburetors and the exhaust. Then Steenveld also went off, at Turn One, while chasing Bland but only lost two places, to Lester and Zaahir Essa (NLDTF Rhema 1). Another spinner was Johan Gouws (Computer Assemblies Mantis) who lost ten places, when he went off at Turn Four, four laps into the race.
Further back, Kevin Cartmell (Rand Brake Sting) soldered on with a bad misfire, losing poositins on a regular basis, while the James Leach (Auto Fair Rhema 1) was hampered by fuel starvation, each lap, entering the pit straight and ended up battling it out with Jannie Geyser (Geyser Attorneys Rhema 2) who was battling with a gear selection problem. Then with a couple of laps to go, Doug MacDonald had a problem at Turn Five, lost it, hit Denver Pienaar (Vision) and then clipped the back wheel of the Jack Valadas Rhema1. MacDonald and Pienaar retired on the spot but Valadas continued, with the back of his car dragging on the ground, to complete the race. It was however Holm, who went on to win the heat, from Hills, Grobler, Johns, Schriks, Lester, Bland, Steenveld, Essa, Bradley Martin (Rhema 2), Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema 1) and Gareth Jackson (Lasersprint Rhema 2).
At the start of the second heat, Hills slipped inside Holm, into Turn One, forcing Holm to hold the dirtier outside line. Hills retained his lead, in the run down to Turn Two and again took the inside line, to consolidate his position at the head of the field. Four laps into the race, Holm had still not found a way past. Then in desperation, he tried a different line but only succeeded in opening the door to Grobler who pounced at the opportunity to relieve Holm, of second place. Grobler then defended his position, for all he was worth and by the time Holm eventually forced his way back into second place, Hills had the race in the bag.
Once again, there where a number of good close battles raging all the way down the field, with positions changing on a regular basis. Gert Van Den Berg had only lasted a lap before he retired, while the only retirement came from Steenveld. With less than three laps to go, he pulled of with a broken gear linkage, after a couple of good close battles, first with Bland and then with Essa, In the end, it was however Hills who beat Holm to the line, by just over two and a half seconds, followed by Grobler, with Schriks, Johns, Lester and Bland crossing the line within just over half a second, followed by Essa, Martin, Gouws, Pienaar and Jackson.
In only his third Vee outing, sixteen year old Ex Karter Dean Lester, had set the fastest lap in each heat, after qualifying third and in the process, set the new Formula Vee Lap Record for the circuit, at 1min 09.384 seconds, while no less than seven cars broke the old record in the first heat, including development driver, sixteen year old Courtney Steenveld.