Former champions, Dean Venter (Gulf SA/Dezzo Equipment Swift) and Andrew Horne (Xena Chemicals van Diemen) produced two 10-lap thrillers at the fourth round of the 2019 Investchem Formula Ford Kent Championship held at Phakisa Freeway just outside Welkom on Saturday, 5 October. Venter took the first race by just under a tenth of a second while Horne grabbed the second by an even closer margin.
Horne, back in a Kent car for the first time this season was immediately on the pace, claiming pole position in the morning qualifying session from recently crowned Formula 1600 champion Scott Temple, who was out in the Turnfab Engineering Swift normally driven by Jonathan Nash getting valuable experience in a Kent car before making his way to Silverstone next month for the Walter Heyes Trophy. Championship leader Venter was next up ahead of Gerald Wright with Steve Venter (Gulf SA/Dezzo Equipment Swift) and Allen Meyer (van Diemen) on the third row. Paul Richardson (Infinitude Design/Budd Power Dulon) and Graham Vos (Ecurie Zoo van Diemen) completed the top eight.
Horne grabbed the early lead in the opening heat but had Venter in his wheel tracks. Temple broke a driveshaft at the start ending any hope he had of challenging the leaders. Despite regularly swapping positions, sometimes more than once a lap, Horne and Venter were able to pull away at the front of the field opening up a gap of over 30 seconds by the flag. Although Horne led at the start of the final lap, it was Venter who was first to see the flag, taking the win by just 0.095”. Wright came home in a lonely third place comfortably ahead of Richardson. Paul Schultz claimed fifth ahead of Shannon Winterstein, both of them aided by the mechanical maladies that sideline both Meyer and Vos. John McKerchar (Ecurie Zoo Lotus) and Shaun Hillary (Infinitude Design/Budd Power Dulon) rounded out the top eight.
With just 30 minutes between the day’s two heats, it was difficult for the crews to repair the cars that suffered mechanical problems, resulting in a slightly depleted grid for Race 2. It made no difference to Venter and Horne though. They pulled away from the chasing pack, although this time, Venter was able to pull away slightly from Horne in the opening half of the race. Horne’s car then seemed to come back to him and he started closing the gap down, making the decisive move around the outside of the final corner to take the win by just 0.048”. Richardson went one better than in the opening heat, taking third place. McKerhar took fourth ahead of Alan Grant (Axis Vehicle Products Lotus) and Hubi von Moltke (Tamzin). Richard Whalley was the last classified finisher in seventh.
In the day’s overall standings, Venter took a narrow win from Horne with Richardson in third.
The next round of the 2019 Investchem Formula Ford Kent Championship is scheduled to take place at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 19 October.