The sixth round of the 2003 South African National Formula Vee Championship, saw local boy Dennis Johns (Goldco Midas Odendaalsrust Rhema 2) annihilate the opposition, with a performance that left the rest of the field scratching their heads. In...
The sixth round of the 2003 South African National Formula Vee Championship, saw local boy Dennis Johns (Goldco Midas Odendaalsrust Rhema 2) annihilate the opposition, with a performance that left the rest of the field scratching their heads. In the process, he broke Lee Thompson's two year old lap record, setting the new mark at 1min 52,594 secs.
In the first heat, he opened up more than a six second lead, while the rest were left to squabble among themselves. Alan Holm (Johannesburg Bright Steels Rhema,) was involved in incidents along the way, losing a lot of time in the process and leaving Peter Hills (Peter Hills Auto Clinic Sting) Jody Robertson (PS23 Lubrioil Rhema), Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2) and David Veringa (Sabat Rhema), to fight it out for second place. Making a return to the category, at National level, was Formula Vee development driver Benny Phetla (Rhema), who was battling with a steering problem and lost a lot of time when he went off the road, during the sixth lap. His mentor Anthony Taylor (Rhema 2) also had a big moment, at the high speed Turn Ten, when he was involved in an incident with Ernest Viljoen (Auto Atlantic/Protea Hotels Rhema) and they both left the road at high speed. Both of them were soon on their way again, although Taylor had lost his nose cone in the process, while Viljoen had lost further time, as he had also tangled with Holm, a couple of laps earlier.
In the end, an unchallenged victory went to Johns, ahead of Hills, Veringa, Robertson, Grobler, Holm, Viljoen, Francois Herbst (BJ Pro Welding Vision), Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema), Jaco Schriks (Johannesburg Bright Steels Sting), Wilfred Brand (Auto Atlantic/Protea Hotels Rhema) and Taylor.
The second heat, saw Johns set the new lap record, on his first flying lap and follow that up with another two laps under the old record, before backing off and taking it through to the flag, for his second victory of the day and maintaining the new car's winning record, which now stands at four wins, from four starts. Behind him, Grobler, Robertson. Veringa, Taylor and Viljoen, fought a torrid race long battle, as Hills gradually slipped down the field, with a misfire, later traced to a battery problem. As for Holm, it seemed it was not to be his day and he pitted at the end of lap one, with a broken return spring on the throttle linkage. By the time a replacement was found and fitted, he had lost three laps and any chance of a finish in the points.
At the flag, it was Robertson who followed Johns across the line and he in turn, was followed by Grobler, Veringa, Taylor, Viljoen, Herbst, Pienaar, Hills, Brand, Schriks and Phetla.