The third round of the 2005 South African National Formula Vee Championship, produced two stunning races at the 1.6KM SCC Lichtenburg Raceway, in the North West Province. In the first heat, it was once again Symm Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2) who took the victory but only after early race leader Alan Holm (JBS Laser Sprint Rhema 2) developed a problem with his gear selector and was unable to select second gear. With two second gear corners, per lap, he was powerless to defend his position as first Grobler and then Dennis Johns (Goldco Midas Rhema 2) picked him off, at the tight Vlei Corner. In the second heat, Holm was determined not to play second fiddle again and gradually extended his lead, to claim his first victory of the year.
Heat one, saw Holm take the lead from Grobler and Johns and although his pursuers kept close company, Holm looked to be in command. Most of the early race action, was taking place behind them, with Jannie Geyser (Vision) driving a defensive line and using all his experience, to keep Andre Van Der Merwe (ACC Air Conditioning Rhema 2) and Kyle Bennett (Rhema) at bay. Lap after lap the young Karters swarmed all over the back of Geyser’s car. Van Der Merwe was trying to get by, on which ever side Geyser left open but at the same time he had to keep an eye open for Bennett, who loomed up alongside on a number of occasions.
Then suddenly, it was obvious that Holm was in trouble and although he was still maintaining a good pace, Grobler and Johns where all over him and they slipped past on consecutive laps. Behind them, the battle for fourth place raged on and would continue for the entire race, while a little further back, the battles for the lesser positions where just as intense. One such battle, involved Bobbly Nel (Lantis), Gareth Jackson (JBS Laser Sprint Sting) and development driver Kearn Francis (Lotto Rhema) but Francis gradually fell away, as his motor started tightening up and although he finished the race, he would fail to start the second heat. Nel and Jackson would however continue to fight it out, to the flag, with Nel catching Chris Danks (Stalcor Rhema 2) who was trailing his engine cover behind the car and loosing power, due his battery going flat. Nel slipped past just before the line, with Danks splitting him and Jackson, as the three cars flashed across the line.
Out front, it was Grobler who claimed the victory, ahead of Johns, Holm, Geyser, Van Der Merwe, Bennett, Nel, Danks. Jackson, Francis, Ben Pienaar (Vision) and John Lerm (Sting). Finishing out of the points, was Laurent Calkoen (Vision) who destroyed his clutch and slipped back down the field before retiring, while the other Karter in the field, Trevor Bland, had retired earlier in the race, with a reoccurrence of his seemingly incurable misfire.
The second heat, saw Holm take the lead at Turn One and this time that was where he stayed, as he gradually opened up a small gap on the rest of the field, leaving Grobler to keep Johns at bay. His task was made easier, as every time Johns got too close, the temperature of his car started climbing and he had drop back, or move off line, to pick up airflow through the radiators.
Having gone off with a broken trailing arm, during qualifying, Van Der Merwe had been forced to start from the back of the grid but was rapidly making his way up through the field. Eventually he moved up onto Bennett’s tail, who was once again stuck behind Geyser. Van Der Merwe passed Bennett and then made short work of Geyser, passing him with a slick move at Turn Four. Bennett decided it was time to make a move as well and out braked Geyser into Vlei Corner, got out of shape and almost surrendered the position again but managed to get it pointing in the right direction again and make the move stick. Geyser then dropped away, with a motor that was sounding very rough. The real scrap of the second heat, was however the one involving Nel, Danks, Calkoen, Jackson and Pienaar. Calkoen then went in too hot, at Turn Two and took his nose cone off, on the back of Jackson’s car. Then Nel braked a bit too late and came into Turn Two, with the brakes still on. The back end kicked out and as he tried to put the power on, around he went. This left Jackson, Danks and Pienaar, to fight it out on their own and what a battle it was, with positions changing lap after lap. Even Jaco Greyling (Rhema) and Lerm, where keeping close company at the back, until Greyling succumbed to the pressure and spun.
It was however Holm who went on to win the heat, from Grobler, Johns, Van Der Merwe, Bennett, Geyser, Danks, Pienaar, Jackson, Calkoen, Nel and Lerm. The new Formula Vee lap record, for the circuit, also went to Holm, with a time of 48,458 seconds.