The sixth round of the 2004 Formula Vee Northern Regions Championship, produced plenty of thrills and spills, on the tight 1,6KM SCC Lichtenburg Raceway, in the North West Province. The first heat saw another victory for Alan Holm (JBS Laser Sprint Rhema 2), while Championship log leader Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2), held on to take the victory in heat two. For the Formula Vee Association Competition log leader, Benny Phetla, Lichtenburg was not a happy hunting ground. His regular Vacuform Rhema was sidelined, with a bent valve and he ended up racing the Dayview Mogane Alley, while Mogane ran the car in the Formula Libre races.
The first attempt to get the race underway, was aborted when the timing system failed and the race was red flagged after two laps. The second start, proved to be an unlucky one for Kearn Francis, who spun his Rhema at the Treinspoor Bend, stalled the engine and was unable to get the car started again, after Wayne Bennett (Lafarge Readymix Rhema 2) had gone off the road, due to a broken rose joint, on the rear suspension.
Never having driven the Alley, before taking it to the grid, Phetla went off the road at Vlei Corner, on the second lap but rejoined and the following lap it was James Leach (Rand Brake Sting) who ran wide on the exit of the bend. The real race action, was however at the head of the field, where a five car battle was headed up by Grobler, Holm, Peter Hills (Vacuform Rhema), Jaco Schriks (JBS Laser Sprint Rhema 2) and sixteen year old Jonathan Vilaca (Vision). After a couple of laps, Holm had dropped to third but he fought his way back through the bunch, to take the lead just before half distance.
In the meantime, Vilaca had gone off the road and into the tyres, at Showground Bend and Jaco Greyling had spun into the infield at Vlei and got himself stuck in a ditch. Leach then hit a rock on the circuit, which bent the bar holding the pedals and when he took his foot off the accelerator at Vlei, the throttle stayed wide open. He was able to rejoin, after the unavoidable off course excursion but had to use the ignition switch to control the throttle, for the rest of the race.
What was now a four car battle for the lead, continued unabated and with a few laps to go Grobler and Hills were side by side into Vlei. On the penultimate lap, Schriks had lost a bit of ground on the other three but with Holm and Grobler squabbling over the lead and Hills stuck behind them into Vlei, for the last time, Schriks bombed down the inside of Hills, who was forced to give way as they negotiated the bend. It was however Holm, who went on to win the heat, from Grobler, Schriks, Hills, Jannie Geyser (Vision), Kevin Cartmell (Rand Brake Sting), Gareth Jackson (JBS Laser Sprint Sting), John Lerm (Save the Jackal Sting), Phetla and Leach.
In heat two, it was Grobler who took the lead from Holm, Schriks, Hills, Vilaca, Bennett and Geyser. Into Vlei, for the third time, Holm made his move on Grobler, steaming down the inside and then locking up the brakes, in a cloud of tyre smoke. Pinned on the inside, he was unable to take a line into the corner and as he turned in, the tail came around and he found himself sideways, in the face of the oncoming traffic. Fortunately no one hit him and he was able to resume in tenth place. Francis and then Greying, had also lost time on consecutive laps, somewhere around the other side of the circuit, relegating them to the back of the field.
The Holm incident, had split the lead pack, as those behind were forced to take avoiding action, leaving Grobler and Hills to fight it out for first place on their own, although Schriks was able to haul them in again, in the closing stages of the race. A little further back, Bennett and Geyser were keeping close company, joined at one point by Holm, who took three laps to make his way past, in his climb back up the field. Behind them, Jackson, Cartmell and Leach were also keeping close company, with Phetla doing his best to hang onto them.
Into the closing stages of the race Cartmell and Leach, both managed to pass Jackson, while Phetla, who ran the entire race in third gear and did not have much confidence in the braking ability of the Alley, took a while to lap Francis, only getting by, when Francis had another moment at Showground Bend and by then, Phetla had lost touch with the bunch ahead of him.
Despite his best efforts, Hills was unable to find a way past Grobler and it was Grobler who went on to win the heat, from Hills, Schriks, Vilaca, Holm, Bennett, Geyser, Cartmell, Leach, Jackson, Phetla and Lerm.
Original article from Car