Nicholas Verheul was the form man at a tightly fought second round of the Rotax Max Northern Regions karting championships at the Zwartkops international Kart Track on Saturday. Verheul won both the DD2 and Senior Max classes, while Cape visitor Joseph Oelz disrupted the Junior Max locals, Troy Snyman emerged best of three Mini Max winners, Mohammed Moerat dominated Micro Max and Tshepang Shisinwana and Troy Van Der Laan ended up equal in Bambino.
The fastest DD2 gearbox class was all about Nick Verheul as he qualified on pole position before proceeding to a trio of lights to flag wins, followed by Roman de Beer in race 1 and Justin Allison in the second and third heats. Allison ended second overall ahead of the duelling Jamie Smith and Anton Pommersheim and de Beer, who hit trouble. Llewellyn Myburgh, Brandon Smith, Wayland Wyman, Pascal Acquaah and Eugene Brittz rounded off the top ten ahead of Nicolas Spanoyannis, Ian Allnutt and Jeandre le Roux, while Philippe Chapat took DD2 Masters from Steve Beaumont.
If his DD2 performance was perfect, Nicholas Verheul’s Senior Max win came to him as the weekend progressed after he finished fourth in the opening heat behind Dane van Heerde, Wayland Wyman and East London lass Shannon Jackson after a fraught first few laps. Verheul then moved swiftly into the lead of the second heat to lead the way for the rest of the afternoon in that class as he took the win from van Heerde, Wyman and Jackson, with Jurgen Pommersheim, Taiibi Tucci and Max 175 winner Erwin Sterne next up, to stir up the Senior title race.
Cape Town visitor Joseph Oelz took two under-15 Junior Max wins to Kwanda Mokoena’s one to take the day from Ethan Coetzee, Jordan Brooks and Mokoena, who stopped in the final race. Aqil Alibhai overcame a torrid day to take fifth from the ever-improving Lorenzo Cianfanelli, Ndumiso Bungane, Kgalema Mngadi and Godfrey Malumane.
Troy Snyman took the first race win, a second and a third to take under-13 Mini Max honours for the day by three points from race 3 winner Matthew Morrell, Jordan Brooks and race 1 winner Muhammad Wally. Bjorn Bertholdt was next up from Mandla Mlangeni, Ghazi Motlekar, Taya Van Der Laan, Giulio Cianfanelli and Seth Gomes, who closed off the top ten ahead of Tyler Robinson and Nathan Shana.
Little Mohammed Moeret built on his early under-11 Micro Max championship lead with a trio of wins after overcoming Luviwe Sambudla in each race. Wian Boshoff was next up ahead of an impressive Caleb Cotterell, Kyle Beukes, Erich Heystek and Kent Swartz in seventh in spite of two nose cone penalties. Hriday Pooren, Ntiyiso Mabunda and Mahlori Motlhabani rounded off the top ten ahead of Anesu Maphumulo, Caleb Odendaal and Enzo Rujugiro.
Last but not least, Tshepang Shisinwana and Troy van der Laan ended up on even points in the baby Bambinos after Shisinwana took two wins and a fourth and van der Laan delivered a win and a couple of seconds. Cristian Verheul rounded off a brilliant day for the family with a maiden podium in third to add to his dad’s double wins, ahead of Keagan and Aiden Beaumont.
The Rotax Max Challenge now heads to its first two national championship rounds at Killarney in Cape Town on 23 March and then at Celso Scribante in Port Elizabeth on 21 April, which means a long gap before the next round of the Northern Regions chase back at Zwartkops on 4 May.