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What Investchem Formula 1600 Round 5 Report
Where East London Grand Prix Circuit
When Saturday 22 July 2023
Community South Africa National

Dolinschek, van Weely win as Troy tightens title grip

Troy Dolinschek and Nicholas van Weely traded race wins as Dolinschek laid one hand on the 2023 Investchem Formula 1600 championship in East London on Saturday. The spiritual home of South African single seater racing, the Grand Prix Circuit remains unchanged since Formula 1 superstars Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, and Stirling Moss among others won there, back in the days of the South Grand Prix there in the 1960s.

It was however a delighted Investchem lad Siyabonga Mankonkwana who set an early flying lap to ultimately hold on to pole position from Capetonian championship leader Troy Dolinschek’s Property Investments entry, by all of a hundredth of a second. Rookie KC Ensor-Smith stunned with a fine third, a further eight hundredths of a second adrift in his Vitro Frameless Glass entry, from Antwan Geldenhuys’ Abacus Divisions car.

Nicholas van Weely’s Magnificent Paints & Hardware machine lined up fourth alongside championship number two, Jason Coetzee’s Mint Wrapworks version. Alex Vos’ Investchem DV Building Supplies Mygale and Andrew Schofield’s Fly Safair Mygale were seventh and eighth on the Investchem Formula 1600 grid, which races exclusively with 1600cc Ford-powered Mygale wings and slicks chassis.

Third in the title chase, Gerard Geldenhuys was ninth in his Abacus Divisions car, from Shrien Naidoo’s Production X entry, AMD lad Storm Lanfear, and Karabo Malemela’s KMFT Morita car. Behind them, Duncan Vos’ DV Building Supplies Swift held Investchem Mygale duo Ian Schofield and Rick Morris off for Formula Ford Kents pole position from Graham Hepburn’s Qualipak Van Diemen, Ronald van Weely in his Magnificent Paints & Hardware Van Diemen. And Allen Meyer, who arrived at the circuit Saturday morning in his Investchem Van Diemen.

The thrilling first race had it all as Troy Dolinschek found his way past Siya Mankonkwana to lead, but Mankonkwana was having none of it and fought back. That allowed Antwan Geldenhuys to also pounce on Dolinschek, who also wasted little time to fight back, by when Mankonkwana was well down the road. So Troy put his head down and chipped away at the lead. Behind them, Antwan, Nicholas van Weely, Jason Coetzee, KC Ensor-Smith, and Alex Vos fought over third after Gerard Geldenhuys lost time with a spin and Andrew Schofield stopped.

The battle for third proved most interesting, but van Weely stopped to leave Coetzee to move up ahead of Ensor Smith and Vos. But it was not over by any stretch of the imagination. Mankonkwana suffered a scruffy penultimate lap, allowing Dolinschek to close right up. Siya seemed unaware that Troy was there as Dolinschek dived inside on the final run into Copabana at the end of the straight. They touched, Siya went wide, and tumbled down the pack.

That left Dolinschek to claim a dramatic win from Coetzee, Antwan, Ensor-Smith, Vos and the delayed Mankonkwana. Shrien Naidoo ended seventh from Storm Lanfear, the recovered Gerard Geldenhuys and Karabo Malemela. Ian Schofield got ahead of the Formula Ford Kent pack and stayed there with a fraught battle behind him between Duncan Vos, Graham Hepburn, and Rick Morris. That was resolved in Vos’ favour from Morris, Allen Meyer, and Ronald van Weely, after Hepburn stopped.

With the race 2 grid decided on each driver’s second fastest qualifying lap, Troy Dolinschek started on pole from Siyabonga Mankonkwana, KC Ensor-Smith, Nicholas van Weely, Jason Coetzee, Andrew Schofield, Gerard Geldenhuys and Alex Vos. Mankonkwana however misjudged the lights and significantly jumped the start to earn himself an immediate 30 second penalty. The action behind him was however brilliant for the actual race lead as Ensor-Smith initially got the jump on Dolinschek, with van Weely and Coetzee dicing hard in chase.

Dolinschek never took very long to strike back as van Weely soon found a way past Ensor-Smith, but Coetzee came under attack from Gerard and Antwan Geldenhuys, with Alex Vos and Andrew Schofield in pursuit. Van Weely was however on the move and soon past Dolinschek for the lead. He defended over the final three laps with gusto to take his first Investchem Formula 1600 race win in several seasons by all of eight hundredths of a second from Dolinschek, while rookie Ensor-Smith ended a great weekend in third.

Behind them, Gerard Geldenhuys held Jason Coetzee off for fourth after Antwan Geldenhuys found late race trouble to plummet down the order. Andrew Schofield made up for his opening race disappointment in sixth from Alex Vos, Karabo Malemela, Storm Lanfear, Antwan Geldenhuys, Shrien Naidoo, and the penalised Siyabonga Mankonkwana.

Just two hundredths of a second separated Formula Ford Kent top two with Allen Meyer and Ronald van Weely in chase after Graham Hepburn and Rick Morris hit trouble.

So, Troy Dolinschek took overall honours to further consolidate his championship advantage. A delighted KC Ensor-Smith held Jason Coetzee off for second ahead of Alex Vos. Ian Schofield beat Duncan Vos to Kent honours with Ronald van Weely and Allen Meyer third and fourth.

Investchem Formula 1600 now takes a break before heading to championship top two Dolinschek and Coetzee’s Killarney home track in Cape Town for the penultimate round Extreme Festival on Saturday 10 September. Sounds like a date!

Issued on behalf of Investchem Formula 1600

Photography by: Andre Laubscher

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