Kelvin van der Linde, the 2010 South African Engen Karting champion in the Junior Rok class, made an auspicious senior circuit racing debut at Phakisa Freeway in the Free State on Saturday when he won the opening class B race of the Goldwagen Challenge from pole position in a Ferodo/Autoquip VW Golf 1.
The 14-year-old Dainfern College grade 9 pupil emulated his father, Shaun’s, achievement of winning his first senior circuit race from pole position in 1989 at the age of 19. Kelvin went on to finish second in race two and take the overall honours for the day against drivers twice his age and with several years’ experience. Reigning Goldwagen class B champion Quentin Thompson was second in race one in a Golf 1 ahead of his father Peter in a Golf 2. Quentin won race two after Van der Linde made a poor start from pole position and dropped to fourth at the end of the first lap. He recovered to place second ahead of Peter Thompson after eight laps.
The unassuming youngster modestly received the congratulations of friends and family and declared his first racing weekend in senior company as “an outstanding experience”.
“The races were very different from the practicing and qualifying that were my only experience before the start,” he explained. “I’ve put in many hours of practice in the lead up to the season, in both dry and wet conditions, but nothing really prepares you for the race itself and your first experience of passing other cars. It’s very different to karting, where the racing is a lot closer and it’s easier to pass.
“As it turned out it wasn’t a bad thing that I messed up the start of the second race. It was a new experience for me working my way through the field and I learnt a lot. I’m just happy I didn’t get involved in any incidents – in fact, I benefitted from Rory Atkinson and Peter Thompson battling for second place. This allowed me to catch up with them and eventually to pass them both on consecutive laps.
Van der Linde will make history at Kyalami on March 5 in the opening round of the 2011 WesBank Super Series. He will become the youngest driver to contest a South African national championship senior circuit race when he lines up for the first race of the Engen Volkswagen Cup in a Ferodo VW Polo at the age of 14 years and 259 days.
Issued on behalf of Vanderlinde Racing by Peter Burroughes Communications. For further information, please contact Peter Burroughes, tel 082 899 0101, e-mail email@example.com.