Class C newcomer Craig Nicholson finally did what he has been threatening to do for some time and put the Sabat Honda on the pole position at Killarney racetrack (15 March). The result somewhat surprised the rest of the class C field as Nicholson had struggled to find pace during the first two free practice sessions on one of his favourite circuits. However, a quick trip to a local Dynamometer specialist soon identified a problem with the fuel mixture on the Sabat Honda, and upon returning to the track Nicholson put the new found horsepower to good use in the third session to register the quickest time. -

- Qualifying was the usual fraught affair and Nicholson managed to secure a good tow on one of his fast laps from the similar Honda of Lawrence Boschoff who was setting a quick pace. The tow was good enough for Craig to just shade Boschoff and secure the pole for the first heat. The man from Car magazine was thrilled with his first pole in Production Car racing. -

- “I’ve been so close before, but just never managed to get the pole. I am so pleased to have done it at only the second race meeting of the year in a new class for me” enthused Nicholson. -

- The race would see the Sabat Honda still on the front row, but behind Lawrence Boschoff, who managed to snatch the pole back for the second heat. All the hard work of securing pole meant very little however when changeable weather brought tricky conditions to the Cape Town circuit. After a shower just before the start of the first heat, Nicholson elected to start the race on intermediate tyres. -

- With the top class C cars having out qualified much of the class B field, the start of the race was always going to be a physical affair. Craig started extremely well and in fact passed a couple of the class B cars in the drag to the first corner. A little bumping and barging then ensued as Nicholson was shuffled back by one of the recovering class B cars, allowing Boschoff to come through and take the lead. -

- Craig drove hard for the rest of the race in the tricky conditions and while he caught Boschoff toward the end of the heat, eight laps was just to short to allow him to challenge for the lead again. -

- At the start of heat two a huge crash in the class A field caught out a number of the Class C competitors and Nicholson was lucky to return to the red flagged grid unscathed. Some other class C competitors were not so lucky, Boschoff included. At the start Craig made a reasonable getaway, but was passed by the flying Ray Ban Honda of Doug Reekie, who went on to win the race. Nicholson was stuck behind the class B Honda of former Car Magazine Rookie of the Year winner Jessie Adams. Whilst the Sabat Honda could have probably run a slightly faster lap time, the power of the class B car on the straights meant that Nicholson could not get past and back on terms with Reekie. -

- Craig eventually settled for another second position and a bag full of points and had this to say of his days work. “ I had hoped to win given our qualifying position, but in a couple of races that were both rain affected, and given the treacherous nature of the track under those conditions, I am just happy to have a race car still in perfect nick and a whole bunch of points to carry forward to the next round. Whilst I love the PE circuit, my success ballast will now make it difficult to finish on the podium at Aldo Scribante, but I look forward to the next race anyway and I’m sure we’ll be competitive.” -

- Nicholson also acknowledged the hard work put in by his team “ When conditions are tricky, your crew works extra hard, and my thanks must go to team manager Lee Phillips for keeping the troops marshalled and focussed, it was a great team effort that truly paid off”. -

-

Original article from Car