SA Rotax Max Challenge Karting Series 2020 - Plans Revealed

The 2019 SARMC National Championship has exceeded everyone’s expectations so far with entries at each round exceeding 100 starters! Given the current financial crisis and that a second similar National Championship karting series is running, the excellent turnout has been surprizing. South Africa’s top kart racers are competing for the 6 full on National Championship titles that lead to the all-important invitations to compete in Sarno, Italy at the 20th running of the “Olympics of karting” - The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. South Africa has a proud history of success in RMCGF events, with 13 title wins and regularly near the front of the all-important Nations Cup including a win in 2015.

The Rotax African Open event has seen competitors from as far afield as Angola and the UAE scrapping over the all-important RMCGF Invitations. Large and highly competitive fields have been the order of the day.

Rotax are delivering on their promises to deliver great performance out of the box and tighter control over technical matters and post-race checking has seen the most amazing races and we look forward to great things in 2020.

Your SA Rotax team and the associated clubs/race organizers, dealers and teams have looked at what detailed changes will improve regional racing and see greater participation in SA National events in 2020. This is where we think it’s heading – subject to final MSA approval and publication of regulations.

  • To broaden the appeal to both the very young and the older and heavier competitors. These proposals are aimed also at harmonizing regional and club racing in 2020. Some compromises will be made in 2020 to ensure success during difficult economic times


1.    Bambino Class (5 to 9)

The class has enjoyed phenomenal growth in 2019. Despite several competitors moving to another series we have seen fields of 16 karts at Nationals and 10 at regionals. Importantly Bambino is now running successfully in every region in SA! The engine spec. that resolved the reliability and parity issues has proved its worth and very close, affordable racing amongst the kids is the order of the day. The only change under discussion for 2020 is to lift the weight limit to 73kg (a survey will be conducted) to allow heavier young guns to spend another year in this exiting class. It is very important to note when considering moving up to another class that a complete ready-to-race Bambino kart (with blueprinted engine, tyres, VAT etc) costs less than any make of MSA homologated 95cm chassis (used in all under 13 classes) only - no engine, no tyres etc. Running costs are also very low so Bambino remains the formula of choice world-wide for the 5 to 9 age group. Being the correct size at 77cm wheel-base, correct weight at 73kg and less than 3 bhp it is the only safe and affordable choice.

2.    New: Nano Max (6 to 10 | club status)

This is something new for kids starting in karting, whose parents feel that their child is too old or too big for Bambino but nervous that going straight into Micro Max is too daunting. Here is the simple solution to provide a stepping-stone between Bambino and Micro Max! A detuned Micro Max kart (95cm chassis as used in all under 13 classes) with reduced power and all up weight of 100kg – performance and lap times neatly between Bambino and Micro Max. As soon as the youngster is confident, the move to the Micro Max costs nothing other than removing a restrictor (not changing to a different brand or model of engine) and adding some lead.

3.    Micro and Mini Max (7 to 13)

These classes will race as one class in 2020 with one weight limit (117kg is proposed – a survey will be conducted) and one engine specification. Lap times will be only slightly quicker than 2019 Micro but substantially slower than 2019 Mini Max. One driver in the 10 to 13 age group will qualify for an invite to the RMCGF in Mini Max and two drivers in the 8 to 11 age group will qualify for the RMCGF in Micro Max.

If we had combined these classes in 2019, we would have enjoyed grids approaching 30 karts which makes for great racing and will solve the problems regionally where for example, Cape Town has three small fields struggling to make numbers. We hope to see proper growth after combining classes.

4.    Junior Max (11 to 16)

While the numbers were reduced in 2019 (several factors influenced this including the reduction the CIK age limit for various classes, a second national series being promoted, the economy etc.) but the numbers in all regions have improved in the second half of the season and 2020 will see this affordable class back with respectable numbers and very exiting racing. At the African Open there were many different leaders and at the end of the 20-lap final 0,230 of a second separated 1st and 4th place – it doesn’t get closer than that anywhere!

5.    Senior Max (14 plus)

Good growth in 2019 and no changes 2020.

6.    Master Max: (30 plus or 90kg plus driver)

This changes its name from MAX 175 and the minimum weight will increase to 180kg in 2020 – accommodating bigger guys! The choice of tyre is under review and various tests are being conducted on a new Mojo D2 long life tyre. A final decision will be made once tests are concluded. Motivation for the possible change is economy (longer life) and comfort – older and heavier drivers sometimes injure themselves on the softer D5 tyres.  This class will continue to cater particularly for club and regional competitors weighing 90kg in shorts) and/or older (over 32 years old). Based on 2019 feedback we propose to run a two round Master Max Series in 2020.

7.    DD2 class: (15 plus)

Did very well without the DD2 Masters at the Nationals so 2020 will see this continue. NB: at regional races DD2 and DD2 Masters will continue to race in a combined race but score separately (as defined by the region concerned)

8.    DD2 Masters (32 plus or 90kg plus driver)

Successfully raced on their own at all National rounds in 2019 and we believe that this class will continue to grow now that the Masters guys have seen that it can succeed on its own!

Thank you all for making 2019 such a good year!

Happy MaXXing