The seventh round of the 2016 Hankook South African National Formula Vee Championship at Redstar Raceway resolved nothing. The best Hollywood script writers couldn’t fathom a more exciting stage for the final round with the points log is now even closer.
Going into the final event of the year at Zwatkops on the 26th November, with Gert Van Den Berg a mere three points ahead of veteran ex-Champion Symm Grobler, who in turn heads two times SA National Champion Peter Hills by a further four points, with ex-Champion Jaco Schriks a further six points behind Hills. With a maximum of thirty two points on offer at Zwartkops, it has set the stage for a showdown of note.
Peter Hills (Lube Fusion Rhema 2) came to Red Star with a handy twelve point advantage but a tangle with Lendl Jansen (Bull Security Rhema 2) on the first lap, saw the Lube Fusion Rhema 2 complete a 360 degree barrel roll and both Hills and Jansen were out of the race almost before it had started! Also out of the race without completing a lap was Ben Pienaar (BJ Pro Welding Rhema 2) after contact with Luschen Ramchander (Miami Products and Services Forza).
One of the revelations of the day was Ross Rugheimer (Rhema 2). Since his debut, at the beginning of the year he has been a consistent mid field runner but at Redstar, he was right up there with the best of them. In qualifying, he was second fastest, a mere 0.053 of a second behind Schriks (Rhema 2) and would be starting ahead of seasoned campaigners like Greg Wilson (Reflex Solutions Forza), Van Den Berg (BP Nantes Motors Rhema 2) and Grobler (Auto Mecca Rhema 2).
In the first heat Rugheimer passed Wilson after a few laps and led up the Back Straight but then fluffed the corner and not only lost the lead again but was also passed, by Schriks, Grobler and Van den Berg but he came back and over the next few laps, picked them off one by one, to finish second 4,602 of a second behind Wilson. They were followed home by Grobler, Van Den Berg, Schriks, Ramchander, Brandon Hills (Lube Fusion Rhema 2), debutant Hans Rughiemer (Rhema 2), Barry Du Plessis (Tri-Star Airex Lazer) and Shaun Van Der Linde (Len Schoen Estates Rhema 1).
In the second heat, Wilson rolled forward slightly before the Red Light went off, incurring a 30 second jump start penalty. Ross Rugheimer led into Turn One but was soon passed by Wilson and Van den Berg, while a little further back, Grobler and Ramchander were engaged in a race long battle, while Schriks was losing places all the time as he battled a disintegrating gearbox!
In the end, it was Wilson who crossed the finish line first but his jump start penalty would see him relegated to eighth place. Van Den Berg therefore took the victory ahead of Ross Rugheimer, Grobler, Ramchander, Peter Hills, Jansen, Brandon Hills, Wilson, Pienaar, Van der Linde, Hans Rugheimer, Schriks and Du Plessis.