Kelvin van der Linde, rapidly becoming something of a wunderkind in national championship circuit racing at the age of 14, clearly enjoys the spectator-friendly Zwartkops Raceway west of Pretoria. He returned there on Saturday for his second appearance in the national Pro Tour series and, as he did in round two in March, totally dominated proceedings in round five in class B of the hotly contested Northern Regions Goldwagen Challenge for Volkswagen Golfs.
The true mark of a champion is to overcome adversity and to make it count when it really matters, and this is exactly what the grade nine pupil from Dainfern College in Gauteng did just eight days before his 15th birthday.
Fresh from another impressive outing in the Engen Volkswagen Challenge for VW Polo Vivos in round four of that championship at Phakisa Freeway in the Free State, the third-generation racing Van der Linde endured his first-ever roll in the Ferodo/Autoquip VW Golf 1 during Friday practice when he ran out of brakes approaching the ‘table top’ at the club house.
Feverish work by his pit crew, including ex racing champions father Shaun and grandfather Hennie, saw the talented teenager go on to dominate qualifying and post a pole position time of 1 min 14,988 sec for the twisty 2,4-km circuit. The next best class B car was a almost seven seconds behind.
In the warm-up on Saturday Van der Linde set a stunning best lap time of 1 min 14,244, over a second faster than his nearest rival and half a second quicker even than the best class A car.
The two 10-lap races contested by a combined field of 26 class B and D Volkswagens saw the reigning national Junior Rok karting champion take two commanding wins, by over six seconds from Andrea Bate in race one and by nearly 11 seconds from Rory Atkinson in race two.
He now enjoys a comfortable class B lead in the Goldwagen Challenge after five wins in the last eight races.
He will next be in action at the fifth round of the national WesBank Super Series at the Aldo Scribante Raceway in Port Elizabeth on August 5 and 6. He is currently third in the national championship Engen Volkswagen Cup in a Ferodo Polo Vivo in his first season of senior circuit racing.
Issued on behalf of Vanderlinde Racing by Peter Burroughes Communications. For further information, please contact Peter Burroughes, tel 082 899 0101, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.