Dean Venter (Desco SA / Manitou Swift) had an almost perfect start to his attempt to secure the 2017 Investchem Formula Ford championship which got underway at Zwarkops on Saturday, 4 March. Andrew Horne (Xena Chemicals / Budd Power Van Diemen) prevented Venter from taking the maximum points haul when he won the first race, but Venter took all the other points that were on offer, claiming pole position, the day’s fastest lap and winning race two.
Venter set the quickest time in the morning qualifying session, 0.75 seconds quicker than Horne, to take pole position. The Jacquet Racing Van Diemens filled the second row of the grid, David Jermy just ahead of Jeff Gable, while the third row was occupied by Joe Nash (Matt Nash Motorsport Swift) and Alex Vos (Ecurie Zoo). Allen Meyer (Van Diemen) and Steve Venter (Turnfab Engineering / Manitou SA Swift) rounded out the top eight.
In the opening 10-lap race it Venter and Horne thrilled the Zwartkops crowd with some of the closest single-seater racing seen at the circuit in quite some time. Venter grabbed the advantage from the line but Horne was never more than a car length adrift until the seventh lap, when he found a way through and into the lead. Despite Venter’s best efforts, Horne was able to hang on to take the win by less than 0.2 seconds.
Behind the leading duo Jermy had an untroubled run to third. Gable and Nash had a race-long battle for fourth which eventually went the way of Gable. Meyer, Vos and Paul Gerber (Pablo Clark Racing Ray 83) completed the top eight.
By virtue of his first race win, Horne was on pole position for race 2 but it didn’t quite work out the way he wanted. By the end of the first lap he was in third place behind Venter and Jermy. While Jermy and Horne were involved in a titanic struggle for second, Venter was able to pull away at the head of the field and open a substantial lead which he held until the flag.
Horne tried everything he could to get past Jermy but, although he was clearly quicker, robust defence by Jermy meant there was no way through. Jermy took second with Horne, in a slightly battered Van Diemen, in third.
Gable and Nash resumed where they left off in the first race, again never more than a couple of car lengths apart. The result was the same as in race 1, Gable taking fourth by a narrow margin.
Vos, Meyer and Steve Venter filled the rest of the top eight positions.
Dean Venter took the overall win for the day with Horne second and Jermy third.
Although it is still very early in the title race, Venter is where he wants to be with a four-point lead over Horne with Jermy a further two points back.
The Investchem Formula Ford Kent championship’s next outing is at Phakisa Freeway on 29 April 2017.