Graham Hepburn leads at the start of race 2

Graham Hepburn leads at the start of race 2

Neither Graham Hepburn (Suburban Body Shop Ray) nor Andrew Horne (Xena Chemicals / Budd Power Royale) could claim pole position at the third round of the Investchem Formula Ford Kent Championship at Zwartkops on Saturday, 6 June 2015 but they did take a win each in the day’s two heats.

Gauteng’s winter arrived in force this week and the temperatures were still in the low single figures when the cars went out in the morning qualifying. Horne’s session came to a premature end after just a couple of laps when the gearbox on his Royale cried enough. This left him down in ninth place on the grid. Things were close at the top of the time sheets with the top three separated by just over a tenth of a second. Jeff Gable (Talon Motorsport van Diemen) claimed his first Formula Ford pole position from Matthys Strydom (Sage ERP Africa Talon) alongside him. Defending champion Hepburn was third. Dalan Holton (Copper Lake Breweries), Jonathan Nash (Swift) and David Jermy (Matt Nash Motorsport van Diemen) rounded out the top six.

Hepburn reacted quickest when the lights went out to signal the start of the first race, taking the lead at the first corner and slowly extending it throughout the race. While he had comfortable lead at the front all the action was happening behind him. Jermy also got a great start and moved up to second ahead of Strydom and Gable. The Taylon Motorsport driver’s heroics in qualifying came to nought however, as his van Diemen picked up a misfire and he slowly dropped down the field, eventually limping home in 12th place.

Jermy’s run in second place was short lived. A spin saw him re-join last but one on the road. He fought his way back through the field to take the flag in sixth place. Horne was the man on the move, scything his way through the field to be fighting with Strydom for second before the halfway mark. It didn’t take him long to get past, despite losing his nose cone in an altercation with Allen Meyer on his way through the pack, but he couldn’t do anything about closing the gap to Hepburn in the time remaining. Meyer has his best result for the season, finishing in fourth ahead of Holton.

By virtue of their first and second place finishes in the first race Hepburn and Horne occupied the front row of the grid for the second race and wasted no time in opening a gap on the rest of the field. Hepburn led in the early stages but Horne found a way past on the third lap and was able to stay in front until the flag. Behind the leading duo Strydom and Jermy were battling it out for third until Jermy spun dropping him down the field and leaving Strydom to cross the line in a somewhat lonely third spot.

The midfield battle developed into a five-way affair between Meyer, Holton, Nash, Gable and Dean Venter (Manitou Group Swift), the latter two fighting their way through from near the back of the grid after poor race one results. Gable eventually emerge the winner of the battle fractionally ahead of Venter. Holton held off Nash to take sixth with Meyer having to settle for eighth.

Hepburn’s big win in the first race was enough to give him overall victory ahead of Horne with Strydom in the final podium position.

The unofficial points tally sees Horne head to the next round of the Investchem Formula Ford Kent championship at Phakisa on 4 July 2015 with 53 points, 15 ahead of Hepburn. Strydom is seven points further back with Ian Schofield, who missed the Zwartkops round due to business commitments, in fourth. Gable and Venter round out the top six on the log.