The South African National Rotax Max Challenge Karting Championship will explode into action at the Killarney Kart Track Saturday 23 March as the top drivers from around the country converge on Cape Town to join battle with their interprovincial rivals. And with seats on the line for the champions in each class to race in the world championship Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals at the end of the year, the action will have no holds barred from lights to flag throughout the season.
The action will be fraught in all classes, not least among the premier DD2 Gearbox racers set to draw the cream of the SA racing crop as usual. The best from Gauteng — multiple SA champion and GTC pilot Bradley Liebenberg, the on-form Nick Verheul and former GP3 racer Roman de Beer are ready to take on Cape kids Jason Coetzee, Jonathan Thomas, Dino Stermin and Sebastian Boyd with KZN lads Benj Habig, Rob Whiting and Dominic Lincoln and Bloemfontein’s Justin Allison running interference. Add Wayland Wyman, Jamie and Brandon Smith, Anton Pommersheim and half a dozen more and we have the recipe for a bomb.
The DD2 Masters for over-31 year old drivers will race in a class alone for the first time at the Killarney national and with their pace last year, multiple SA racing champion Michael Stephen from PE and and Durban’s reining world DD2 Masters, multiple world Rotax Max Champion Cristiano Morgado and Jono Pieterse should start as favourites there. Locals Roy Gruer, Conor Hughes and Ernst Viljoen, Marco Viegas and Harry Georgiou will enjoy home track advantage, but they will have to work hard to counter upcountry competition the likes of Philippe Chapat and Steve Beaumont. Port Elizabeth’s Brett Britto, James Moore and Justin Walton could provide an upset.
Senior Max is another key national Rotax battleground with a strong local Cape contingent including reigning SA Junior Max champion Charl Visser, Kai van Zijl, Andrew Rackstraw, Reece Oellermann, Simon Simpson-Heath and Storm Lanfear out to deal with Jozi gang Wayland Wyman, Dane van Heerde and East London lass Shannon Jackson among others. Killarney also sees the first SA national outing for the new Max 175s for older and heavier drivers, where Nicholas Verheul should be the Jozi man to beat and local men Gary Lennon and veteran Johan Hamman will have a strong challenge from Kzn - including Beverly van Heerde who has shown great pace at home. East London’s Geoff Stephen (son of karting and Group N legend Neil Stephen) joins the National road show this year as well.
Expect war in under-15 Junior Max, with a wild Western Province class comprising of the likes of Troy Dolinschek, Joseph Oelz, Tate Bishop, SA Mini Max champion Kyle Visser, Ethan Coetzee and Storm Lanfear set to clash with upcountry kids Kwanda Mokoena, Aquil Alibhai, Ethan Coetzee and Jordan Brooks.
South African Micro Max champion Muhammad Wally and form lad Troy Snyman, Matthew Morrell, Jordan Brooks and Bjorn Bertholdt should top the upcountry under-13 Mini Max challenge, but local lad Ethan Stier put one over the visitors at the Killarney pre-national last week, where other Cape kids Jason MacBeath, Mikhail Fernandez and Paul Malcolm and Valentino Hoffman also impressed. Add Northern Regions midfielders Mandla Mlangeni, Ghazi Motlekar, Taya Van Der Laan, Giulio Cianfanelli, Seth Gomes, Tyler Robinson and Nathan Shana and we are set for pre-teen war.
Another local lad to sound an under-11 Micro Max pre-national warning was Reese Koorzen, who put one over top Jozi visitor Mohammed Moerat last week, while local kids Joshua Smit, Reza Levy and Ethan Lennon are also ready to defend home glory. They have a lot of work however, considering the upcountry avalanche attacking the Cape including Luviwe Sambudla, Wian Boshoff, Caleb Cotterell, Kyle Beukes, Erich Heystek and Kent Swartz.
The baby Bambinos line up for their first ever national championship encounter at Killarney too, with a strong field of locals including Rayan Karriem, Luan Mostert, Matthew Smit, Jordon and Rebecca Wadeley and Kai van Rensburg laying in ambush for Gauteng kids Tshepang Shisinwana, Troy van der Laan, Cristian Verheul as well as PE’s Josh and Jack Moore and East London hotshot Caleb Odendaal.
So, expect a full day of extreme SA national Rotax Max Challenge karting action at the Killarney Kart Track Saturday 23 March. Located on infield of the main circuit with good food and refreshments are available in the Karting Clubhouse and you can expect informative commentary and a cool atmosphere in the kart pits alongside the tightest of racing you will see anywhere — certainly worth diarising…
Article by Motorsport Media
Photo by Heinrich Sauer