Nicholas dominates in F1600 sweep
Linden, Johannesburg racer Nicholas van Weely took charge of the 2018 Investchem Formula 1600 championship’s Road to Indy chase with a dominant double victory to move into the championship lead at Saturday’s Youth Day races at East London’s iconic Grand Prix circuit. Van Weely scored a clean sweep of pole position, fastest lap of the day and two race wins to add to his pair of victories at Zwartkops last time out as he took over the championship lead in pursuit of that prestigious Road to Indy Shootout prize in Arizona in December.
It seemed that Bloemfontein Stuart White would be the man to beat following a clean sweep of fastest laps in Friday’s practice sessions, but come Saturday, it was van Weely whose Magnificent Paints van Diemen popped up on pole position after qualifying, 0.155 seconds clear of Scott Temple’s Serengeti Golf Estate/KMT Electrical/Venpine Matt Nash Racing Mygale, with Alex Gillespie from Midrand (ERP Trucking Components Matt Nash Racing Mygale) next up from Pretoria, lad Liam Pienaar (Phoenix Jewellers Fantastic Racing Mygale).
White qualified fifth in his Fantastic Racing Mygale, half a second behind pole man van Weely and ahead of Andrew Schofield from Midrand (Investchem Mygale), while David Jermy put his Beauty Factory Fantastic Racing Mygale on the Class B pole, a tenth quicker than Ian Schofield from Franschhoek in an Investchem Mygale.
Van Weely then held Temple at bay to win the first race by two-tenths of a second with White third a further two seconds behind and ahead of Alex Gillespie, while Ian Schofield scored an emphatic Class B win ahead of tussling youngsters, Cape Town lad Joshua Dolinschek (Makita Power Tools Racing Factors Mygale) and Siyabonga Mankonkwana (Cervinia Investments/Max Q Matt Nash Racing Mygale).
Andrew Schofield was next up in 8th ahead of Dainfern youngster Tiago Rebelo (TRMS Racing Factors Mygale), Port Elizabeth driver Garth De Villiers (Durrant Motorsport Racing Factors Mygale), David Jermy, Harmen Van Beek (Bush Lodge Properties) and Allen Meyer (Edleen Racing Factors van Diemen).
Liam Pienaar’s fine qualifying came to nought when a radiator broke in qualifying and cooked the engine and his team only finished changing the engine in time for the second race, while Cape Town veteran Claudio Piazza-Musso (Investchem/Race Driver SA) was hit from behind to bend his suspension and retire on the opening lap and newcomer Gerard Geldenhuys stopped on lap 3.
Race 2 was much the same as the first as van Weely and his van Diemen turned in the fastest lap of the day to earn the bonus point as he held Temple’s Mygale at bay to win by just over half a second with White once again unable to do much more than maintain a watching brief en route to third while dealing with Gillespie’s attentions from behind. Liam Pienaar was back in the fray as he held off a challenge from Andrew Schofield to come home fifth, with young guns Dolinschek and Mankonkwana next up after another close dice.
Ian Schofield made it a Class B double for the day in spite for the close attentions of class rival Piazza-Musso, who bounced back to finish within a second, with Harmen van Beek next up from de Villiers, Tracey, Jermy and Geldenhuys.
His four wins on the trot see van Weely edging into a close Investchem Formula 1600 championship lead over White, who won the other four races so far this year, but the youngster missed the previous meeting to race overseas. Gillespie sits not far behind in third, to set up a thrilling second half of the season starting at the second Eastern Cape round on the trot when the Road to Indy travels to a freshly resurfaced Aldo Scribante Racetrack in Port Elizabeth on 14 July.