It was a day of close competition for the Investchem Formula 1600 racers when they contested round two of their national championship at Kyalami. A stand-out at this round was Cameron O’Connor (93 – Repro Supplies / Racing Factors) who made a dramatic jump in position from seventh overall at round one, to fourth overall this past weekend.
This was 14 year-old O’Connor’s second outing in the Investchem Formula 1600 category – and only his first event ever at Kyalami. Clearly a young racing driver to watch as the 2017 season unfolds.
For Julian van der Watt (42 – Race Driver SA) this round of the single-seater championship was another opportunity to showcase his mastery of the open-wheel formula. Fastest in qualifying, first across the finish line in race one and race two and posting the fastest lap times in each race, there was no-one to touch him at the Kyalami event, no matter how hard they tried.
It was Alex Gillespie (50 – ERP Trucking Components) though that produced some stunning reaction times to get off the start line first. Even though it didn’t take long for Van der Watt to close the gap and then overtake, Gillespie still showed his mastery of the standing start.
Van der Watt’s performance at Kyalami further cemented his early championship lead and he clearly has plans on claiming the 2017 national Investchem Formula 1600 title this season.
Stuart White (8 – Fantastic Racing) and Gillespie were strong second and third place competitors at this event, each on the podium behind Van der Watt for all but race two where O’Connor stepped up to take third place, his first podium for the series when he finished ahead of Gillespie.
While it appears as though White and Gillespie might be set to fight it out for second place in the championship, O’Connor is still unpredictable as a newcomer to the series. He could make things very difficult for the other two – or all three could potentially team up to harass Van der Watt and his current championship dominance.
In the category for drivers older than 50 and for the ladies, it was Ian Schofield (10 – Investchem) that was clearly dominant. From the qualifying to the final race, Schofield led this category ahead of Allen Meyer (15) and the Flippen Fast Females – Paige Lindenberg (23 – Investchem / First Race) and Donny Lamola (24 – Investchem / First Race).
The ladies will have to pick up the pace during the course of the season if they hope to catch Schofield – but Meyer will also be eager to narrow the gap on Schofield. The Cape Town event saw Meyer on the sidelines due to mechanical problems, but made up for it at Kyalami with two second places finishes in the category.
This could see Schofield under a bit of pressure later in the season, if Meyer’s performance continues.
The next round in the Investchem Formula 1600 championship sees the field of single-seater race cars travel to East London to contest their second coastal event of the season. This circuit features high speed straights that will allow the field to test their mettle for the first time with their recently updated Investchem Formula Ford race cars – a thrill for them and the fans of this long-running national series.
Round three of the Investchem Formula 1600 championship will be held on Saturday, May 20, in East London where the field will contest two more races in the 2017 season.