Wet Zwartkops splits men from boys in Formula Vee finale

The Hankook Formula Vee finale took place at the Zwartkops racetrack on 25 November. Qualifying was dry and championship leader Jaco Schriks (Cubed Coatings /Bean Child Coffee’s Rhema 2) made his intentions clear as he qualified on pole from Siyabonga Mankonkwana (Cervinia Investments Rhema 2), Ross Rugheimer (Rhema 2), Peter Hills (LubeFusion Rhema 2) and Gert Van Den Berg (BP Nantes Motors Rhema 2). As the cars came off the track, the rain started coming down and this was the last dry session for 2017.

The first race was started in particularly wet weather and with the field restricted to the use of the Hankook semi-slicks, the wet weather was bound to produce some slippery action. This race was no different, with the only man not making any mistakes being the man in the lead. Schriks showed why he was going to be difficult to beat and led with Mankonkwana, Hills, van den Berg and Lendl Jansen (Bull Security Forza) following. Ross Rugheimer spun in turn 3, not even a turn in the dry with Jansen, Lushen Ramchander (Technical Rope Access Forza) and the rest taking avoiding action.

Further down, Anthony Taylor (Vacuform Rhema 2) and Symm Grobler (Rhema 2) kept it on the black stuff while Brandon Hills (LubeFusion Rhema 1.5) couldn’t do the same. He went off on turn one and beached it, bringing the red flag out.

After the restart, Schriks led until the end while Mankonkwana spun in turn 8 and Taylor went off as well. Jansen and Ramchander kept it on track. The combined times meant the results was Schriks, Ramchander and Mankonkwana in the top three positions. Hills finished fourth, then Jansen, Grobler, Fred Rugheimer (Rhema 2), van den Berg, Ross Rugheimer, Taylor, Ernie Vermaak (D.O.E. Quality Parts Vision) and Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema 2). Shane Helberg (Shanberg Racing) was the last classified runner after taking some offroad excursions. Brandon Hills was a non-finisher after he could not restart after causing the red flag.

The result meant Jaco Schriks was crowned the Hankook South African National Formula Vee Champion for 2017. He never made a mistake under pressure, and even while running at the front for the whole race, never looked like falling off the track!

With the title in the bag, race two was pretty much of the same as cars went off the track at regular intervals. This time the most high profile scalp was that of Ramchander going off at turn 5 and getting stuck in the kitty litter and bringing out the red flag. At the same time, Brandon Hills went off at turn one, again and again, got stuck.

Mankonkwana jumped the restart and received a 30 second time penalty. Schriks led off the line with a recovering van den Berg into second. Hills then got past and the three finished in this order. The combined result of race two was Schriks, Hills and then Jansen in third. Then van den Berg, Taylor, Ross Rugheimer, Mankonkwana, Grobler and Fred Rugheimer. Vermaak, Pienaar and Helberg rounded out the point scoring positions. Ramchander and Brandon Hills didn’t complete the race.

The overall result for the day was Schriks, Hills and Jansen. Formula Vee was voted as the category of the day for the closest racing by the commentators. This was not the first time and shows that Formula Vee is one of the categories that produces the closest racing on each race day they attend.

Jaco Schriks (Cubed Coatings /Bean Child Coffee’s Rhema 2) scored a full house for pole position, fastest lap as well as two wins to round off his championship-winning season. Second, went to Mankonkwana with Hills third. Schriks added another title to his current two titles. He is now one of four most successful Formula Vee racers. Alan Holm leads with five titles, Gawie Gouws, Peter Hills and Jaco Schriks are all sitting on three titles.

Formula Vee now takes a break until 14 February 2018 when seven cars will take part in the Racing with Celebs challenge at Midvaal. After this, the 2018 season kicks off. Let us get the cars ready an prepped for 2018 and have a full grid for the next season.