Jonathan Nash (Turnfab Engineering Swift) and Dean Venter (TEU Southern Africa Swift) shared the heat wins at the opening round of the 2019 Investchem Formula Ford Kent championship, held at the Phakisa Freeway outside Welkom on Saturday, 27 April, but, thanks to his dominant performance in the opening heat, it is Nash who leads the championship standings.
An early indication of how close things would be at the front of the field later in the day came in the morning qualifying session where Nash took pole position by just 0.012” from Venter. Dalan Holton put his van Diemen at the head of the second row with James Reeves (Ray) alongside him while Steve Venter (TEU Southern Africa Swift) and Paul Gerber (Pablo Clark Ray) rounded out the top six.
In the opening race, Dean Venter was the early leader, but Nash wasn’t going to let him get away. Unfortunately for Venter, a leaking valve on his right rear wheel destroyed any chance he had of keeping Nash behind him and he had to settle for second behind Nash who drove off into the distance. Behind them, a great battle developed between Gerber and Holton, with Gerber holding the early advantage. Holton eventually found a way through, but it remained close, with the pair separated by just under two-tenths of a second at the flag. Steve Venter claimed fifth with Reeves a spectator after his car let him down on the opening lap.
The beginning of race two was similar to the opening heat, with Venter leading the way from Nash. This time they couldn’t pull away from the chasing pack though. Gerber and Holton were just behind them and when Gerber’s challenge started to fade, Reeves, who started from the back of the grid, joined the party. The result was in doubt until the final corner, but it was Venter who got the better run to the line, taking the win from Nash by just under a quarter of a second. Holton was another two tenths back in third with Reeves not far behind. The top four were covered by nine-tenths of a second at the line. Gerber ended in fifth ahead of Steve Venter.
In the day’s overall standings, Nash claimed the top spot on the podium from Dean Venter and Holton.
The Investchem Formula Ford Kent brigade now head to Zwartkops Raceway, where the second round of the 2019 championship will take place on Saturday, 18 May.