South Africa Recap

Gorgeous weather welcomed the SBMRL to Kyalami on race day and the drivers were eager to get going. The field took to the grid as follows:

P1 –  Launch Bornado (FR)
P2 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P3 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P4 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P5 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P6 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P7 – The Stig (SB)
P8 – Whiplash (SR)

The cars lined up, the lights went out, and off they went into the first corner, with Jaap pipping Launch around the outside. Delilah kept pace while the rest of the field followed in a tight pack through Nashua.

Wheel-to-wheel through Nashua

As the front runners wound their way through Goodyear Sweep ,there was almost nothing between Jaap, Launch, and Delilah, with the first two forcing the latter around the outside. Jaap, however, got a bit squirrelly and lost his line at Goodyear Corner, giving the Force Ravenswood pair an early 1-2. Behind them, the red liveried Scandinavian Blitz cars had worked their way in front of Bubba and Sheila, with Whiplash making similar progress.

Delilah flew down the straight to Wesbank, leaving Launch and Jaap struggling behind. As predicted, the second sector really spread out the field. Rask and Whiplash fell in line behind Jaap and Launch, with Bubba running a solitary 6th. The Stig and Sheila brought up the rear.

Delilah far out front

That was pretty much how things stayed through the pit stop cycle. Despite not pitting, Jaap wasn’t able to make up any ground on Delilah or shake Launch, both of whom opted for fresh rubber. Sheila was the only other car not to pit, but again, it didn’t do her much good in the fight with the Stig for avoiding last place.

Jaap and Launch look to reel in Delilah

Jaap finally found some speed around the Goodyear Sweep, catching up with Delilah and passing her in the following corner. Launch was not able to keep up. Through the same stretch, Whiplash shook free of Rask, who was now caught up by Bubba.

High speeds through Goodyear Sweep

The third sector brought drama as the approach to Turn 7 was handled quite differently by Jaap and Delilah. Delilah went in hard, but had to slow down coming out of it. Jaap hit things a bit more smoothly, but was forced to slow down more for the final corner.

Meanwhile, Launch was struggling for grip in the second sector. Bubba was in no such ill form, charging ahead and catching up with Whiplash. The two Sprite Racing drivers battled cleanly through Wesbank, and soon had Launch firmly in their sights.

Delilah stays just ahead of Jaap

As Delilah and Jaap rounded the final bend, Delilah was able to maintain just a nose advantage over Jaap, eking out a narrow victory.

Launch was, in turn, struggling mightily in the final sector. The Force Ravenswood driver simply could not find a rhythm through the final two corners. Whiplash and Bubba, were finding the exact opposite to be true. They couldn’t have driven better. With speed aplenty, they rounded the final corner and passed Launch… who could only watch as they flew past for 3rd and 4th place.

Launch gets passed by both black and gold cars

It was Rask who took the solitary 6th place, while Sheila and the Stig were neck and neck in turn 7. The promise of a last place battle vanished as the Stig lost pace, and what little drama remained fizzled out in short order.

Final Results

DriverStartLapFinish
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)311
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)222
Whiplash (SR)843
Bubba McQueen (SR)464
Launch Bornado (FR)135
Rask Sjofar (SB)656
Sheila Dinkum (RM)
577
The Stig (SB)788

Delilah gets her first victory in just her 6th race. She has now stood on all 3 podium steps, meaning that she’s finished on the podium in exactly half of her races. Furthermore, she’s finished ahead of her teammate in each of the past 4 races, moving up to 3rd in the driver standings.

Jaap, who has struggled this season, records his best result of the year. Like Delilah, it’s his 3rd podium in the past 4 races, and move him up to 4th place. He also breaks a tie with the Stig for 2nd place in career podiums, where he’s now two back of Launch.

Whiplash’s recent strong form continues, as he’s now also stood on the podium in 3 of the last 4 races. His 3rd place finish, coupled with the Stig coming in last, puts him at the top of the driver standings.

Elsewhere, Launch’s promising race fell apart in the final two corners, a turn of events that has left the former champ at the back of the standings. Sheila is feeling similarly disappointed after an overall dud of a race. The Stig’s season is a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This year, he’s only finished in the top 2 or the bottom 2, nowhere in between.

At a team level, Sprite Racing now sits ahead of Scandinavian Blitz at the top of the standings. Force Ravenswood who were well back two races ago, are the other team on the move. They’ve made up enough ground to pass Regency Motors by a single point. The three time team champions will have to press strongly over the final three races, or they will finally relinquish the championship to someone else.

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South Africa Preview

After a first visit to the South American nation of Argentina, the SBMRL makes its first stop on the African continent, racing at South Africa’s Kyalami Racing Circuit.

Kyalami

The circuit hosted Formula 1 Grand Prix from the 1960’s till the 1980’s, at which point there was a break in the racing due to escalated concerns around apartheid. The track saw two Grand Prix in the early 1990’s, but financial challenges prevented its use for the highest level of motorsport from continuing.

The track runs anti-clockwise, with a very short run up to the first corner, Total Curve. Cars at the front of the grid should have some advantage here as a result. A short straight then leads into Nashua, a big, slow left hander, and on to the Old Pit Straight.

The second sector starts with the high speed Goodyear Sweep. This corner shouldn’t really slow anyone down too much, and with a short straight before the similarly named Goodyear Corner, there will be plenty of chances for close racing through here.

Another short straight leads to the Rothmans Esses, and it’s here that Kyalami starts to get a bit tricky. The Rothmans Esses can very well catch a driver out, and with a longer straight following that leads into the sharp Wesbank corner, expect to see some passing.

Wesbank marks the start of the third sector, and is essentially the mirror image of Nashua in the first sector. It leads into the track’s longest straight, followed by the sharpest bend, Continental. If Wesbank didn’t trip the field up, Continental almost certainly will. The track closes with another moderately long straight and relatively sharp left back on to the pit straight. It’s worth pointing out that the pit straight is so short that a full grid of 10 cars would see the back of the field lining up in the final corner.

Starting Grid

As always, the starting grid is in reverse order of the current team standings. With Argentina’s results in the books, any ties that we previously had have now vanished as the standings have spread out a bit. Jaap’s elimination at the hands of Whiplash result in the latter getting a 1 place grid penalty, dropping him to the back of the grid. The resulting field lines up as follows:

  1. Launch Bornado (FR)
  2. Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
  3. Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
  4. Bubba McQueen (SR)
  5. Sheila Dinkum (RM)
  6. Rask Sjofar (SB)
  7. The Stig (SB)
  8. Whiplash (SR)

With Launch and Jaap at the bottom of the standings, and the Stig in front, we’ve come a long way since 2015. The team standings determine the order of pit selection.

  1. Scandinavian Blitz
  2. Sprite Racing
  3. Regency Motors
  4. Force Ravenswood

South Africa is not the home race for any driver.

Argentina Recap

While the SBMRL has raced in South America before, January saw the league pay their first visit to Argentina, to race Autódromo Oscar Alfredo Gálvez. With the sun high and not a cloud to be seen, the grid lined up as follows:

P1 – Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)
P2 – Launch Bornado (FR)
P3 – Sheila Dinkum (RM)
P4 – Bubba McQueen (SR)
P5 – Whiplash (SR)
P6 – Jaap Snellrijder (RM)
P7 – Rask Sjofar (SB)
P8 – The Stig (SB)

The cars got off the line cleanly and then accelerated into the first corner. The long run up meant that all the cars were fighting for position around Curva Numero Uno. It was in the second bend, Curva de la Confiteria, that a leading pack began to take shape. The Sprite Racing duo of Whiplash and Bubba were able to pull ahead with Jaap alongside them. Sheila fell a bit behind, but other than that, the cars stayed fairly close in two groups through the first sector.

The tightly packed cars bump their way around Curva de la Confiteria

As the field moved on to the second sector, Jaap got a jump in Curva De Ascari, but was soon run into by Whiplash in the following corner. Jaap’s car suffered enough damage that he was forced to retire from the race after having been in the lead just moments earlier.

Jaap is out as Whiplash squeezes him to the inside

In the ensuing chaos, Delilah was able to get around both Whiplash and Bubba to take the lead. Her teammate, Launch, however, was not faring as well. The former champion couldn’t keep pace with the others and was square at the back.

While the Sprite Racing duo battled with Delilah in the arena section, the Stig and Rask started to make their moves to reel the front runners in. Sheila, who had been struggling at the rear, also started to move up in the third sector. The field was so tightly bunched that when it came time to pit, all 6 cars other than Launch were in pit lane at the same time.

Everyone comes in!

The second lap saw Whiplash and the Stig start a battle in earnest for the top spot on the podium. Bubba ran a solitary third through the first sector, but the battle for fourth place raged in earnest. Delilah, Sheila, and Rask, went back and forth with little to separate them.

Whiplash pulled out a moderate advantage of the Stig as they entered the arena, but Bubba was starting to fade. Sheila found speed down the long back straight and was soon challenging Bubba position. Rask and Delilah charged ahead in their pursuit as well. While Sheila reeled Bubba in, Rask and Delilah soon did the same.

Cars start to tighten up again in the arena

The Senna ‘S’ saw the Stig take a late race lead, and it looked like he was surely heading for his 3rd victory of the season. However, Whiplash was able to hit Horquilla just right, exiting with speed down the pit straight and a comfortable win. The Stig would have to settle for second place.

Whiplash seals the victory

Behind them, Sheila had nearly caught up, but the same was true of Delilah and Rask. Unfortunately for Rask, he got it all wrong in the final corner. Sheila came out ahead of Delilah, but it was the Force Ravenswood rookie that had speed on her side. She passed Sheila down the final straight to round out the podium.

Rask’s misery was compounded by the fact that both Bubba and Launch came barreling around the last corner ready to pounce. Despite some margine to work with, Rask’s engine wouldn’t produce. Bubba sailed past him for 5th, and he just barely held on over Launch as the final two finishers crossed the line.

Bubba finishes just ahead of Rask and Launch

Final Results

DriverStartLapFinish
Whiplash (SR)521
The Stig (SB)832
Delilah Whipplefilter (FR)143
Sheila Dinkum (RM)354
Bubba McQueen (SR)415
Rask Sjofar (SB)766
Launch Bornado (FR)
277
Jaap Snellrijder (RM)688, dnf

Whiplash records his 2nd victory in the past three races and third victory overall. His run from 5th on the grid to the checkered flag matches the 4 spot improvement he saw at Interlagos last year. He’s now up to second place in the driver standings.

The Stig continues his hot driving with a second place finish to go with two victories on the year. His run of success truly dates back to Monaco just over a year ago. If not for a clunker in the season opener and a DNF in Singapore, he’d likely be running away with things. As it stands, he’s just 4 points up on Whiplash.

Delilah’s podium is a much needed shot in the arm for the struggling Force Ravenswood. She’s currently beating her veteran teammate, and demonstrated some resolve in how she battled back from spending a good portion of the second lap as far back as 6th.

At the other end of the spectrum, former Regency Motors teammates Jaap and Launch are left looking for answers as they struggle to return to their previous form.

Despite trailing in the standings, Force Ravenswood scored more points than Regency Motors, who had their worst race of the year. Sprite Racing’s strong showing has them just a few points behind Scandinavian Blitz.

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