In a day of hard racing, Andrew Horne (Xena Chemicals / Budd Power van Diemen) and David Jermy (Lime Chilli Consulting van Diemen) shared the wins in the second round of the 2018 Investchem Formula Ford Kent championship at Zwartkops Raceway on Saturday, 7 April. Jermy followed Horne home in the first race with Dean Venter (TEU Southern Africa Swift) in third while in the second race Jermy led the way, chased by Venter with Jonathan Nash (Turnfab Engineering Swift) completing the podium.
Qualifying got underway on a slippery track after one of the cars in the preceding category spilt oil. As the condition of the circuit improved, the times dropped and at the end of the 10-minute session, Horne emerged on top. Paul Gerber (Pablo Clark Racing Ray) had his best qualifying session, setting a time that gave him a front-row start alongside Horne. Jermy headed the second row with Nash alongside him. Venter and Alex Vos (Ecurie Zoo Swift) filled the third row with James Reeves (Ray) and Allen Meyer (van Diemen) rounding out the top eight.
The early stages of the opening race developed into a five-way fight with Horne leading the way. He had Jermy, Gerber, Venter, Nash and Vos almost nose-to-tail behind him. Jermy managed to pull alongside him on a couple of occasions but wasn’t able to complete the pass. Venter then joined the leading pair and while Jermy was occupied with fending him off, Horne was able to open a slight gap, which he slowly extended, taking the flag just over three seconds in front.
Jermy managed to stay in front of Venter, the pair separated by two tenths at the end. Gerber slowly dropped down the field, eventually having to settle for sixth. Nash, missing a large part of the front of his car after contact with Vos, ended the race in a hard-fought fourth ahead of Jeff Gable (Jacquet Racing van Diemen), who worked his way up from the back of the grid after not setting a qualifying time. A spin a couple of laps from the end dropped Vos down to eighth, behind Reeves.
The action started early in the second race with a slippery track, again caused by a vehicle in another category dropping oil, catching Reeves out at the start of the second lap. He slid into Gable and, while Gable was able to continue, rear suspension damage meant Reeves was a spectator for the rest of the race.
At the head of the field, Jermy led the way from Venter with Horne, Nash and Gerber in close attendance. Approaching half-distance, Horne spun at the top of the hill and ended up stranded on the racing line facing the wrong way. Vos, with no time to take avoiding action, hit him head on putting both of them out of the race. With two of their main rivals on the sidelines, the top three were able to pull away from the chasing pack, Jermy taking the win despite serious pressure from Venter with Nash not far behind. Sean Hepburn (Suburban Body Shop Ray) had a steady drive to fourth just over a second ahead of Ben van der Westhuizen (Delta Rubber / Pioneer Plastics Royale). Steve Venter (TEU Southern Africa Swift) came home in sixth ahead of Gerber with a recovering Gable claiming the final point for eighth.
Jermy claimed the silverware for the day’s overall win with Venter and Nash joining him on the podium. In the championship race, Horne and Jermy are now tied at the top of the log with defending champion Venter moving up to third. Nash has moved up to fourth ahead of Gable with Vos dropping down to sixth. Gerber and Hepburn complete the top eight.
The next outing for the Investchem Formula Ford Kent competitors is on 19 May at Phakisa Freeway, between Welkom and Odendaalsrus in the Free State, where the third round of the 2018 championship will take place.