The first round, of the 2017 Hankook SA National Formula Vee Championship, produced the usual thrills and spills, at the Extreme Festival race meeting, held at Zwartkops, on the 21st March 2017 (Human Rights Day). During qualifying, Ross Rugheimer (Rhema 2) and Brandon Hills (Lube Fusion Rhema 2) arrived at Turn 1, to find Siyabonga Mankonkwana (Cervinia Investments Rhema 2) blocking part of the circuit after he had spun. Brandon somehow made it past, unscathed but Siyabonga’s car rolled back, onto the racing line and Ross’s right rear wheel, hooked Siyabonga’s left front wheel sending Ross off the circuit, onto the grass and into the tyre barrier, on the inside of the bend! The right back corner of his car, was badly damaged and the drive shaft had pulled out of the gearbox casing, so for the race, Ross would be driving his father, Hans Rugheimer’s Rhema 2, while Hans would be driving Siyabonga’s spare Forza Vee!
Starting the first heat, from Pole Position, Peter Hills (Lube Fusion Rhema 2) led for a while, with Jaco Schriks (Rhema 2) breathing down his neck, until Jaco found a way past and went on to win the race, by less than half a second, with reigning National Champion Gert Van Den Berg (BP Nantes Motors Rhema 2), finishing just over a half a second, behind Hills! They were followed across the finish line, by Lendl Jansen (Bull Security Rhema 2) and after a race long five car battle, it was Greg Wilson (Reflex Solutions Forza), who got the better of Lushen Ramchander (Miami Products and Services Forza), Siyabonga Mankonkwana, Brandon Hills and Ross Rugheimer, who was followed home, by Cape Town’s Byron Mitchell (Dolphin Engineering Sting) and Hans Rugheimer.
The second heat, saw Peter Hills take the lead, with Schriks right on his tail but then the return spring on Hills’ throttle broke and he was forced to use the kill switch, under braking into the corners and gradually fell back down the field, as car after car swept past.
In the end, it was Schriks who went on to win the heat, from Wilson, Ramchander, Van Den Berg, Jansen, Brandon Hills, Mankonkwana, Mitchell, Peter Hills, and Hans Rugheimer, after Ross Rugheimer had picked up an electrical problem, forcing him to retire, three laps into the race,