Andrew Horne (Xena Chamicals / Budd Power van Diemen) took two hard-fought race wins at Red Star Raceway on Saturday, 28 October but two second places for Dean Venter have almost assured him of the 2017 Investchem Formula Ford regional championship. Just a single point at the final round at Kyalami in December will give the Desco SA / Manitou Group Swift driver the title.
Horne indicated that he would be a force to be reckoned with when he set a time almost half a second quicker than Venter in the morning qualifying session. Jeff Gable (Jacquet Racing van Diemen) headed the second row, just a tenth behind Venter with Jonathan Nash (Turnfab Engineering Swift) in fourth place. Paul Gerber (Pablo Clark Racing Ray) and Alex Vos (Ecurie Zoo Swift) filled the third row of the grid with Dalan Holton (Debella Finance van Diemen) just getting the better of Andrew Rackstraw (Race Drive SA Mygale) to take seventh.
Gerber got a flyer at the start of the opening race, tucking in behind Horne with the pair leading the pack through the first couple of corners. Behind them the order got mixed up as Venter had a poor get away and both Gable and Nash had spins. Horne started opening a comfortable gap but was caught out by oil left on the track when Ben van der Westhuizen’s Royale blew its engine. Gerber, Venter and Vos were all able to get past the defending champion while he got his car pointing in the right direction again, but it didn’t take him very long to get back to the head of the field again.
Horne and Venter pulled away from the rest of the field over the remaining laps, eventually crossing the line separated by just a couple of car lengths with the rest of the field more than 20 seconds adrift. David Jermy (Lime Chilli van Diemen) was the best of the rest, taking the final podium position ahead of Vos. After their first lap misadventures, Gable and Nash were able to recover to take fifth and sixth respectively with James Reeves (Ray) and Steve Venter (Turnfab Engineering Swift) rounding out the top eight.
In the second race Horne was again the early leader. Jermy was soon on his tail and the pair were joined by Rackstraw. Rackstraw got past both of them, but he was in a Zetec car to gain experience before the F1600 national at Kyalami next weekend, thus was ineligible to score points. Jermy got past Horne and, despite Horne trying everything he knew to regain the lead, took the flag just six-hundredths of a second in front. Unfortunately for Jermy, he was adjudged to have jumped the start and the resulting 30 second penalty dropped him out of the points paying positions.
Jermy’s penalty meant that Horne took his second win of the day ahead of Venter with Gable completing the podium. Vos claimed fourth ahead of Nash with Allen Meyer (van Diemen) in sixth. The Rays of Gerber and James Reeves completed the top eight.
In the day’s overall standings Horne took the silverware with Venter and Vos filling the minor placings.
The final round of the 2017 Investchem Formula Ford Kent championship takes place at Kyalami on 2 December.