The race weekend in East London for the Formula 1600 field started with the championship leader, Julian van der Watt (42 – Race Driver SA), at the top of the timesheets in every practice. Then during the qualifying session Brad Beningfield (46 – General Energy Systems) suddenly stepped into the picture.

Beningfield had been progressing through the practice sessions from fourth place to second and then during qualifying went 0.006 of a second quicker than the series leader to take pole position for race one.

Another competitor to suddenly rise through the ranks was Cameron O’Connor (93 – Repro Supplies / Racing Factors) when it was time for qualifying. O’Connor had been floating between fifth and 10th place during the practices and then suddenly shot up the leaderboard to claim third place on the starting grid.

The first race was 10 laps and the Investchem Formula 1600 field spent those laps fighting for position and trying to get past the racer ahead, while defending their spot against any challengers. It was Van der Watt that claimed the first chequered flag, having found his way past Beningfield who slipped to second.

Alex Gillespie (50 – ERP Trucking Components) made his presence known in this first race as well, overtaking O’Connor to take third place for his podium for the day. In race two, O’Connor wasn’t having any more of this overtaking business and finished in second spot, behind Van der Watt, with Beningfield in third place across the finish line.

Liam Pienaar (67 – Phoenix Jewellers) stuck his nose into the mix as well, taking fourth place ahead of Gillespie.

Gillespie had a big moment in the second race while he and O’Connor were challenging for position from the last corner up the long East London straight. They made contact while racing past the pits and Gillespie had his hands full keeping his car under control. This saw him drop down the order and he had to work his way back to a fifth place finish.

This mixed set of results is going to make the championship that little bit more interesting in the run-up to round four at Zwartkops Raceway. With Stuart White (8 – Fantastic Racing) competing in France during the East London weekend where he finished fourth in the Saturday race, this allows the rest of the field to inch that little bit closer.

The category for drivers Over 50 and Ladies has recently been changed to drivers Over 40 and Ladies (Class B). Here a new name dominated the weekend. Claudio Piazza-Musso (11 – Fantastic Racing) went to the front of the leaderboard in this category – and stayed there for the weekend.

Piazza-Musso won both races in this category, finishing ahead of the Class B leader, Ian Schofield (10 – Investchem). This won’t have much impact on Schofield’s year though, but it will make things a little easier for his competition as the points gap they need to manage will be just a little smaller thanks to Piazza-Musso’s victories.

Schofield’s main competition comes in the form of the Flippen Fast Females, Paige Lindenberg (23 – Investchem / First Race) and Donny Lamola (24 – Investchem / First Race). This weekend though, it seems the boys were pushing back and they had to watch as Allen Meyer (15 – Investchem) claimed both third place finishes.

The next race meeting for the Investchem Formula 1600 championship is at Zwartkops Raceway on June 16, with the running of the fourth round of the Extreme Festival.