Matthys Strydom

Matthys Strydom leads Ian Scofield

Round two of the Investchem Formula Ford Kent Championship at Zwartkops was will probably be remembered for one of the biggest pile-ups seen on a South African race circuit. That said, there were also some noteworthy performances on the dramatic day.

Qualifying was mostly uneventful as Matthys Strydom grabbed pole position in the Sage Talon ahead of Paul Schultz (Knotsberry Foods Van Diemen) after Ian Schofield (Investchem Mygale) had a mechanical problem and was destined to start from 10th.

Row two was the home of Ben van der Westhuizen (Pioneer Plastics Royale RP21) and Timothy Gillespie (Mboytie River Lodge Mygale) as Ian Hebblethwaite (Van Diemen RF80) and Andreas Petrou (Investchem Reynard RF90) rounded off the top six qualifiers.

Schofield got a blinder of a start of the opening race and a mega forceful opening lap saw him up to second place behind Strydom as they started lap two. Further back there was a bit of drama as Dean Venter (Turncab Engineering Ray) and Alex Gillespie (Mboytie River Lodge Swift) got together at the hairpin and Donny Lamola (Investchem Mygale) tagged the back of someone in the melee and joined them in retirement with bent suspension.

Then came the chaos. Going through turn one to start lap three Schultz and Petrou touched and while both were spinning across the track the closely following pack simply had nowhere to go, so much so that only five of the 15 running cars made it back round to stop on the grid.

With the track blocked there was little option but to cancel the race to clear the wreckage. Although a number of cars were badly damaged, the only injury was Timothy Gillespie who sprained his hand as his car seemed to come out with the most damage.  

Ten cars lined up for heat two but Jonathan Nash (Swift) spun at turn four and was hit solidly by Lamola which reduced the field to eight. On lap two Schofield snuck inside Strydom at the top of the hill to take the lead. However, his tenure at the front was brief as he spun to the back of the field at turn one only half a lap later. “The car just swapped ends without warning, but next time I came through the oil flag was out so there was oil or something down,” he remarked matter of factly.

Without any pressure Strydom reeled off the remaining laps to take a much needed win ahead of hard charging Schofield who caught and passed impressive newcomer, son Andrew Schofield (Superior Pilot Services Reynard) a few laps from the end. Fourth went to Nic Clarke in the AVO Suspension Titan Mk4 but only after a close battle with Alex Gillespie (Mboytie River Lodge Swift) and Sean Hepburn (Suburban Panelbeaters Ray) who completed the top six.

The series returns to Zwartkops for round three on 7 June.