Venter takes clean sweep at Island opener
Jonathan Venter’s first visit to Phillip Island for the 2012 season has brought with it his inaugural race win and round win in Formula Ford, an event that has setup a big year ahead that will encompass some of the biggest events Venter has taken part in.
With Jonathan sitting in third in the Formula Ford Association State Championship, heading into the first Phillip Island round for the year, the 16 year old was confident based on his recent achievements. With 40 cars entered across both the Duratec and Kent field, it would be a battle of the best to complete a fast lap time in the short twenty minute qualifying session. Venter was able to use his experience to his advantage. “Qualifying was very difficult due to the amount of cars on the track and it was therefore critical to get an open lap clear of traffic. After three laps there was no chance of that happening, and being in second spot by only a tenth was the best it was going to get,” Venter stated.
Starting from the front row alongside Winton round winner Anton De Pasquale, Jonathan got a superb start and leaped the field, but the hard charging Sonic Mygale of De Pasquale managed to reel in Venter. The Sydney-sider’s experience shone through despite the lead changing a number of times. Anton made a slight mistake late in the race, allowing Venter to claim his first race win. “It was such a relief to take my first win,” the Sydney teenager stated, “but I knew from here the job wasn’t complete.”
Wet conditions faced the Formula Ford’s second race of the weekend. Experience was again on Jonathan’s side, but for a small mistake on the opening lap pushing him back to seventh. A determined Venter fought through to resume a battle for the lead, this time with Todd Hazelwood. “I had a great battle with Todd. A move on Todd late in the race allowed me to take my second win,” an excited Venter added.
There was one thing on Jonathan’s mind going into the final ten lap race - a clean sweep and round win to add to his inaugural race win from the opening event. The track had very quickly dried from race two, and yet again the lead battle would be resumed, however on this occasion, former National star Caleb Rayner would join the fray. In a truly thrilling race, no corner was spared from an attempted overtaking manoeuvre; however Jonathan eventually crossed the line in second. A post race penalty applied to original winner, Anton De Pasquale for passing under yellow meant Jonathan was eventually crowned as the race and round winner.
“To walk away with a clean sweep from Phillip Island has given not only me, but the entire team at Anglo Motorsport a huge amount of confidence for the three remaining state rounds and our selected National rounds to come in 2012. My priority now is to prepare for Sandown in June,” Venter concluded.