Ian Schofield leads the chasing pack

Ian Schofield leads the chasing pack

Ian Schofield (Investchem Mygale) and Graham Hepburn (Suburban Body Shop Ray) shared the heat wins at the fourth round of the 2015 Investchem Formula Ford Kent Championship held at Phakisa Freeway on Saturday, 4 July however two second places and a bonus point for the day’s fastest lap were enough for Andrew Horne (Xena Chemicals / Budd Power Royale) to extend his lead at the top of the championship log.

Schofield and Horne dominated the morning qualifying session, Schofield taking pole just 0.16 seconds ahead of Horne. Jeff Gable (Taylon Motorsport van Diemen) was third ahead of Hepburn who was battling with gearbox problems. Dalan Holton (Copper Lake Breweries Van Diemen) ended the session in fifth with Matthys Strydom (Sage ERP Africa Talon) in sixth. Strydom’s day came to a premature end, however, as a suspension failure late in the session put him on the side lines for the day.

While the leaders got off the line in the first race, behind them there was chaos into the first corner. Hepburn hadn’t managed to sort out his gearbox problems and had to start in second gear which allowed most of the field to get a jump on him. By the time he got to the first corner a fast-starting Joe Nash (Swift) had touched wheels with Holton spinning him around. Dean Venter (Turnfab Engineering Mygale) couldn’t avoid Nash and both of them slid off the tack into retirement. Hepburn managed to avoid the melee but the off-track excursion dropped him almost to the back of the field. Holton recovered but was also way down the field.

All of this made no difference to the leaders, Schofield, Horne, Gable and David Jermy (Matt Nash Motorsport Van Diemen) were running nose to tail until about the halfway mark when Jermy dropped off the back of the bunch. He finished in fourth. The leading trio continued their battle until the end with Schofield hanging on for the win just less than two tenths of a second ahead of Horne. Gable was third a couple of car lengths back. Hepburn managed to fight his way through the field to take fifth ahead of Stuart Thompson (WCT Engineering Van Diemen) with Allen Meyer (Van Diemen) and Ben van Der Westhuizen (Pioneer Plastics / Delta Rubber Royale) rounding out the top eight.

The five-way battle at the head of the field in the second race lasted until the first corner of the final lap. Schofield led the early part of the race from Horne with Hepburn, Jermy and Gable in close attendance. Hepburn worked his way past Horne who was battling with brake problems, and then got past Schofield to take the lead. He wasn’t able to pull away and the high-speed train continued to work its way around the Free State circuit. On the first corner of the final lap Gable made contact with Jermy putting the latter out of the race. Gable recovered to finish fifth behind Meyer who, until that stage, had been having a lonely race in sixth.

With a couple of corners to go Horne made his way past Schofield to take second behind Hepburn. Thompson, Holton and Rex Tweedie (Ecurie Zoo Swift) rounded out the top eight.

Horne’s two second places gave him the overall win for the day ahead of Schofield and Hepburn.

Horne heads into the next round of the championship, which takes place at Zwartkops on 19 September, with 70 points on the championship log, 18 ahead of Hepburn in second. Schofield is third with 43 points. Despite a no score at Phakisa, Strydom is in fourth place on 31 points, just three ahead of Gable. Jermy is sixth on the log.