Zwartkops Hosts Nail Biting Formula Vee Championship Decider
Heading the Championship log going into the final event of the season at Zwartkops on the 26th November, is Gert Van Den Berg (BP Nantes Motors Rhema 2). He is the only one of the top four, without a previous SA National Formula Vee title to his name! Gert did the hard yards in the beginning of the season with impressive pace while the others seemed to be finding their feet. Some bad luck in the middle of the season saw him lose the lead of the championship, but what goes around, comes around, and with some misfortune visiting his co-title-chasers, he’s deservedly back on top. However, winning your first national title takes some doing, and he’ll need to do his utmost best to keep it together.
Three points behind Van Den Berg is the 2004 SA National Formula Vee Champion Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2). Symm has probably been the most consistent, keeping his head down and staying out of trouble proves you can score a lot of points here. He’s a dark horse for the title. I think the the last race is going to be chaotic, not only on the track, but in the minds of the contenders. Symm might have a small edge here.
A further four points behind Grobler is Formula Vee Association Chairman Peter Hills (Lube Fusion Rhema 2), who won his first Formula Vee SA National Championship title at the end of the last Century. Peter claimed the 1999 SA National Formula Vee Championship before taking back to back National Titles in 2010 and 2011. If he can pull it off, it’d be a massive achievement. Peter was comfortable in the lead mid season, but some bad luck and missed opportunities saw the lead cruelly slip away from him. I can imagine he’d be the most anxious of the contenders.
The other driver still in contention is the 2012 and 2014 SA National Formula Vee Champion Jaco Schriks (Rhema 2), a further six points behind Hills. With a maximum of 32 points available, for Pole Position, Fastest Lap and both race wins, it is still anyone’s title for the taking!
A problem facing all four of them is that they will not necessarily be the only ones at the head of the field. Others, like Anthony Taylor (Solarutility Rhema 2) who won a heat in Cape Town, Greg Wilson (Reflex Solutions Forza), Lushen Ramchander (Miami Products and Services Forza), and on his performance at Red Star Raceway, perhaps even debutant Ross Rugheimer (Rhema 2), are also capable of getting in amongst them, and depriving them of valuable points. Prime example is the very quick newcomer Lendle Jansen who got in the mix of the lead bunch at Red star and collided with Peter (not Lendle’s fault), resulting in a DNF for the championship leader. This youngster has shown impressive pace, especially at Zwartkops with fastest lap in his last outing there. He must be feeling bullish for a podium.
There have been some incredibly close Formula Vee races at Zwartkops this year, with up to six cars crossing the Finish Line in under a second! So the title is there for the taking by whoever keeps his head and the difference between taking the title or finishing as runner up, after a long season of racing, could end up being a mere tenth of a second.