Class C Honda Driver Craig Nicholson secured a second and a third place finish at East London’s Mercedes Benz Grand Prix circuit last weekend to take second place overall for the day. -

- Whilst the points are welcome, and the two races themselves were very entertaining affairs, Craig was ultimately disappointed in the result as he believes the Sabat Honda was capable of winning on the long straights of the country’s fastest circuit. -

- The weekend did not get off to a great start; the Sabat Honda developed a clutch problem in the first session of free practice on Friday. When the car was cool the clutch would work perfectly, but after a couple of laps at race pace it would stop working and Nicholson was forced to crash change the gearbox in every session and race for the rest of the weekend. This malady did not seem to have too great an effect on lap times and Nicholson was looking forward to qualifying on the front row. -

- More drama was to follow in qualifying, on the out lap Craig braked to avoid a slowing class B car, when another car collected him from behind at pace, causing severe damage and spinning the Sabat Honda off the track and into a tyre wall. A hasty trip back to the pits and some frantic work from the Sabat crew saw Nicholson return to the track with just enough time to bang in two qualifying laps. Unbelievably, Craig managed to secure a second and third place grid position for the two heats the next day. Friday night was spent repairing the car and the East London branch of Steve’s Auto Clinic was called upon to build a new exhaust and retune the car. Not only did they work late into the night to return the car to peak condition, but also subsequent work on the dyno confirmed that the new exhaust system was producing considerably more horsepower. -

- Saturday dawned bright, warm and clear, and the East London fans turned up in their thousands. Heat one was a fantastic race at the sharp end of class C, The similar Honda of Lawrence Boschoff lead for about six laps, never more than a meter or two in front of Nicholson’s car, which was in turn followed by another Honda piloted by Doug Reekie. Craig had one opportunity to take the lead and he did not hesitate, passing Boschoff on the brakes into the famous Cocabana corner. Sadly the clutch malady contributed to a missed gearshift when Nicholson entered the main straight and Boschoff retook the position. -

- On lap seven the Class A Mercedes Benz of Leeroy Poulter blew an oil cooler pipe and dumped a considerable amount of extremely slippery Mobil oil on the racing line at the infamous Potters pass and Rifle bends. Nicholson was in Boschoff’s wheel tracks when the Capetonian spun on the oil, Nicholson, with nowhere to go, spun in sympathy leaving Reekie no alternative but to do the same. -

- It was Reekie who made it back to the track first and went on to win the race. Nicholson had suffered an ABS failure as a result of the spin and had destroyed a left rear tyre but soldiered on to the finish to take second. Boschoff suffered a puncture in the melee and dropped to fourth. -

- Craig made a mistake in the second heat and ran straight on at Cocabana corner on the first lap, dropping him to last behind the class E cars. A hard charge back through the field eventually netted third place, but the CAR magazine staffer was left to contemplate what might have been but for the first lap error. -

- “ I had the car to secure a win today, but for a couple of reasons I just failed to convert the cars pace into a victory. My team worked so hard to make me competitive and I’m just sorry we could not walk away with the ultimate prize. On the other hand we overcame many challenges this weekend and scored good points in the championship, so its not all bad,” said Craig. -

- “My special thanks must go to Chris Sparg and his team at Steve’s Auto Clinic in East London. With their help and enthusiasm we rebuilt our rather damaged car into one capable of challenging for the lead. It’s heartening to find a bunch of people so dedicated to performance that they will work late on a Friday Night to help a competitor. I must also make mention of the fact that the motor I used in East London was loaned to me by Gary Gordon of Honda Spares, one of my competitors in class C, and I sincerely thank him for his assistance and generosity.” Added Craig.

Original article from Car