SA ROTAX MAX CHALLENGE KARTING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND THREE - 17/18 JUNE 2016

The ultra competitive Junior Max Brat Pack* Unique hillside location of the iDube Kart Circuit in KZN should favour local knowledge
* Fierce points tussle in Top DD2 Gearbox Class between a veteran from Port Elizabeth and a youngster from Cape Town
* Gauteng’s Kwanda Mokoena on track to score double championships in the 60cc classes

The iDube kart circuit in the KZN Midlands is a venue that should see a number of local karters stake their claim for SA Karting National Championship honours on June 18, 2016.

The unique layout of the track, essentially located on the side of a very steep hill, sees super-fast down-hill sections followed by super-tight hairpin bends and a long, arduous haul back up the mountain! Thus there is an emphasis on exceptional braking skills and low-to mid-range engine torque, thanks to the up-hill climbs.

Because no other circuit in the country poses these challenges, karters who race there in the regional rounds of the SA Rotax Max Challenge have traditionally been favoured as the four-round Rotax series moves to iDube. And there are some KZN drivers whose National Championship hopes are very much alive in 2016!

Justin Allison is lying fifth in the competitive DD2 championship in 2016DD2 Gearbox: Chief amongst local heroes is Benjamin Habig, born and raised in the Tongaat area and the son of famous SA Rally Champion Jan Habig. Benjamin has come very close to winning the DD2 Gearbox Class National Championship in previous seasons, and this year he lies fourth in the points tally, scoring fourth and fifth places in all six National races counting towards the championship so far. He has been dominant in Regional races at iDube, and a string of wins here will put him right back into contention when the final round of the SA Rotax Max Challenge National Championship series plays out at Adrenalin Raceway in Vereening in July.

Another local driver who could spoil the part for the visiting drivers is Robert Whiting. Always quick and consistent, he is lying just outside the top-six in the DD2 points table.

But so far this season, the DD2 Class has been all about three drivers. Michael Stephen, multiple SA Production Car Champion, is in the unique position of leading both the DD2 overall points race and the DD2 Masters Category. The Port Elizabeth driver made a serious come-back to karting last year, to clinch the DD2 Masters category (for drivers aged 32 and over) and this year he could score a DD2 double!

But a youngster who’ll be out to spoil the senior driver’s year is Cape Town’s Julian van der Watt, trailing Stephen by just two points in the DD2 category, after a clean sweep of wins in Round One, in April. And then there is Bradley Liebenberg, reigning SA DD2 Champion and also current star in the VW Cup series on the major circuits. Lonehill-based Liebenberg ran Stephen oh-so-close for overall victory in Round Two at Port Elizabeth, and he knows what it takes to win at this level. Fourth overall is Habig, with Gauteng-based Justin Allison lying fifth in DD2, ahead of Cape Town’s Jonathan Thomas.

In the DD2 Masters category, Stephen has a full-house of wins at National level. But in second place is KZN driver Jonathan Pieterse, another “local” who could upset Stephen’s dream of a “double”. Nick Verheul from Edenvale is currently lying third, and a fitness programme has seen him attain good form of late. As far as local knowledge in this category for older drivers is concerned, look out for KZN’s Mahomed Bhabha, who could prove very quick in the Masters category at iDube.

Fabienne Lanz top female competitor in South African karting and fourth in the Senior Max title raceSenior Max: Delon Thompson from Gauteng has scored race wins in both the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth rounds so far, and his tally of three full-house scores sees him just edge the title race against Cape Town’s Dino Stermin, who has been excellent in Senior Max this season considering he is still a relative newcomer to the intense world of karting. Third in the title challenge is Delano Fowler, who has had some fierce on-track battles so far this season with fast-lady Fabienne Lanz, currently lying fourth. Joshua Dias from Gauteng was a race winner in Port Elizabeth, and lies fifth. Ever-improving female drivers are Shannon Jackson and Ivana Cetinich who will both miss this round due to academic commitments. The point scoring system allows three heats to be discarded so those who miss this event may still be in with a chance if they achieve a good score at the final in Vereeniging.

Junior Max: Sebastian Boyd from Cape Town dominated the opening round of the 2016 Junior Max Championship at his home circuit at Killarney, scoring three straight wins, and he followed this up in P.E. with a win and a second, despite being knocked off the track in the opening race at the Windy City. He goes into the iDube round with a 17-point advantage over Cape-based Daniel Duminy, who, it should noted, spent many of his formative karting years racing at iDube, so his will be an intense challenge to the front-runners  in the midlands.

Karl Pitzer 455 and Cameron OConnor in close company in the Junior Max divisionKarl Pitzer from Mozambique lies third in the Junor Max points table, a feat that is impressive given that the young karter is based far from the epicentres of karting in Southern Africa, and also that this is his first season at this level, having graduated from Maxterino at the beginning of the season. Jason Coetzee from Cape Town is a potential race-winner, as he showed in Port Elizabeth, and his championship fourth position to date could be misleading. Blane Rademeyer from Gauteng  is another very quick driver,  as is Cameron o’Connor, while a local hot-shot  to watch here is Dominic Lincoln.

Maxterino: The 60 cc “baby” class in the Rotax Max Challenge series is Maxterino, for drivers aged between eight and 13-years-old, and currently it is a Cape Town stronghold, with five of the top championship positions, after two National rounds, held by WP drivers. Leading the pack is the impressive Joseph Oelz, who has scored three race wins in the opening round and followed this up with a second, a third and a fifth in P.E. Troy Dolinschek lies second in the title chase, followed by another Capetonian, Charl Visser. But in fourth place is the Gauteng driver Kwanda Mokeona, who scored a full house of race wins in Port Elizabeth after a disastrous first round. So don’t be surprised to see Mokoena right on the pace in Idube! Kai van Zyl and Tate Bishop round out the top six here.

Min Rok: Mini Rok is the other National Championship series for 60 cc karts, and here Kawanda Mokeona is right in the title hunt, sharing wins with Joshua Coertze, while other contenders are Charl Visser, another race winner in Round One, Daniele Patrizi, Jayden Els, Layton Fourie, Cameron Dias and Daniel de Paiva.

Kart fans should take note that practice at Idube starts on Thursday June 16, with qualifying on Friday and racing on Saturday, June 18. The iDube circuit is located in the Camperdown region, just to the North  the N3 highway, between Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg. Spectator entrance is free.

The Third Round of the SA Rotax Max Challenge 2016 will again be filmed, with LIVE STREAMING on www.kart.co.za.

For more information, visit www.kart.co.za, or contact Jennifer Verheul on 082 294 7485.