Zwartkops crowns SA’s 2017 karting kings

Bradley Liebenberg DD2 National Champion 2017Bradley Liebenberg, Michael Stephen, Luke Herring, Sebastian Boyd, Leyton Fourie, Mahummad Wally and Tate Bishop are South Africa’s 2017 Rotax Max Karting Champions. The three Capetonians, three Gauteng lads and a lone Port Elizabeth driver wrapped up their respective crowns at a scintillating day’s racing at Pretoria’s Zwartkops Raceway, with each earning a ticket to represent South Africa in the 2017 Rotax Max World Finals in Portimao, Portugal 4-11 November.
 
DD2: Bradley Liebenberg
Johannesburg ace Bradley Liebenberg won the first race to wrap up his fourth South African DD2 gearbox kart championship on the trot before going into team mode to help BirelART teammate, Durbanite Benjamin Habig win the day and jump into second overall in the title chase. Habig ultimately pipped Cape Town lad Jurie Swart to third in the title chase, while SA race legend, Port Elizabeth driver Michael Stephen ended up fourth in the overall DD2 title chase ahead of Jozi lady driver Ivana Cetinich and Bloemfontein lad Justin Allison in sixth.
 
Habig took the last three race wins in a row to jump up the championship table under the curatorship champion Liebenberg, who ended second ahead of wildcard Eugene Brittz, Allison, another wildcard Nick Verheul, Jonathan Pieterse, Stephen and Swart.
 
DD2 Masters: Michael Stephen
Michael Stephen wrapped up the DD2 Masters title for drivers over 30 years old to claim his ticket to represent South Africa in Portugal, in spite of being caught up in a multi-kart third race accident in Zwartkops’ tunnel. Still SA GTC champion Michael held Jonathan Pieterse off to retain that Number 1 plate, while Pascal Acquaah beat Marouan Selmi to fourth overall to nick the championship third from Selmi too. 
 
Wildcard Nicholas Verheul however took overall honours for the day by winning races 1 and 3 to take it by a point from Stephen, who in turn edged Pieterse by another point, as Acquaah edged Selmi for fourth.
 
Senior Max: Luke Herring
Cape Town driver Luke Herring came to Zwartkops in the middle of a three-way title fight separated by just two points, but he delivered a stunning display to take all four open class Senior Max race wins to wrap up an emphatic championship victory and book his seat at the World Finals. 
 
Gauteng youngster Cameron O’Connor challenged Herring hard throughout the day before driving home to defend his championship second over Cape Town kid Jason Coetzee in the final. Daniel Duminy delivered a consistent drive to jump to fourth in the title chase ahead of the absent Dino Stermin and Shannon Jackson, but  Joshua Dias enjoyed a good day at Zwartkops to shoot up to sixth in the championship. 
 
Herring won the day in dominant style from O’Connor, Dias, Duminy, Brandon Smith and Coetzee, who’s day was blunted by a race 2 kart failure.
 
Junior Max: Sebastian Boyd
Another Capetonian, Camps Bay kid Sebastian Boyd made no mistakes en route to booking his trip to the World Finals by wrapping up the 2017 high school Rotax Junior Max title by taking the day overall with wins in the first heat as well as a fine final win under pressure from his main championship rivals. 
 
Fellow Capetonian Charl Visser pipped another hometown rival, Jason Coetzee for the championship second, with Durban lad Dominic Lincoln fourth — just three points separated second, third and fourth at the end of this championship charge. Jayden Els was the best of the Gauteng kids in a title fifth, from karting lass Cameron Dias. 
 
Boyd pipped Visser, who won the second and third heats, by just a point to clinch the overall day’s win, with Lincoln third from Coetzee, Els, Wyman and Simpson-Heath.
 
Mini Max: Leyton Fourie
Johannesburg lightie Leyton Fourie drove a controlled weekend to easily wrap up the Under-13 Rotax Mini Max title and earn his place to defend South Africa’s world title in that class courtesy of Jayden Els’s victory last year. Fourie beat Cape Town driver Kai van Zijl to second in the championship as Kai did enough to ward off the title attentions of Jozi quartet Aqil Alibhai, Jarrod Waberski, Sibo Solomon and the luckless Daniel de Paiva.
 
Fourie took two race wins and a couple of seconds on the day to win the day from Waberski, who won the other two races. Alibhai was third from van Zijl, Matthew Morrell and Solomon.
 
Micro Max: Mahummad Wally
Another Johannesburg kid, Muhammad Wally totally dominated the final meeting, much like he dominated most of the season to take four straight wins to book his seat to represent South Africa at the 2017 Rotax Under-11 Micro Max World Finals in Portimao. Wally kept Jozi home rival Joshua de Paiva in second in the final SA championship standings, with Cape trio Valentino Hoffman, Reza Levy and Reese Koorzen next up in the title chase from another Johannesburg kid, Mohammed Moerat in sixth.
 
Wally was also the runaway winner on the day from Koorzen, whose second position points on Sunday saw him jump from 11th to fifth in the overall championship. Hoffman was third overall for the day from Schwager, de Paiva, Moerat and Levy, whose afternoon was spoiled when he was eliminated on the first lap of the third race.
 
Maxterino: Tate Bishop
Cape Town driver Tate Bishop wrapped up the 2017 Under-12 Maxterino 60cc championship, scoring a first race win en route to third for the day to take the title by 12 points over Ormonde, Johannesburg youngster Aqil Alibhai with Jordan Brooks next up from Joshua De Paiva, Kyle Visser and class rookie Muhammad Wally. 
 
De Paiva won the second heat to take the day over Alibhai and Bishop, who survived a last corner melee to edge Brooks, Visser and Wally to clinch a close championship. Bishop earns a ticket to watch the World Finals in Portimao as Maxterino does not form a part of that meeting.
 
Liebenberg, Stephen, Herring, Boyd, Fourie and Wally will now head to Portugal to fly the flag in the World Finals 4-11 November, where they will be joined by the winners of the recent African Open in a South African team fully intent to add to the country’s fine record of delivering karting world champions.