AFRICAN KARTING KINGS CROWNED

Kart 411 Delano Fowler emerged winner of a dramatic African Open Junior Max Final image Jared van BergenFowler, Sherratt, Maciver & Stephen win to complete SA Rotax Max Grand Final squad

Delano Fowler, Jordan Sherratt, Chad Maciver and Michael Stephen secured their seats in the South African team for the 2015 Rotax Max Karting World Finals in Portimào by winning their classes in the Rotax Max African Open at Zwartkops International Kart Raceway on Sunday. They will now join the SA champions in each class in a formidable team that will hopefully continue the tradition of creating new South African karting World Champions in this most prestigious series.



Stellenbosch lad Delano Fowler (TonyKart) emerged winner of a dramatic 125cc high school Junior Max final when Benoni lad Delon Thompson (Kosmic) was docked five places after crossing the line first following a dramatic final lap. Thompson was leading Fowler six laps into the race when they were knocked back to sixth and seventh respectively, 3 seconds off new leader, Bedfordview’s Cameron O’Connor (Birel) who was later passed for the lead by Ballito pilot Daniel Duminy (Kosmic).

Thompson then put his head down and fought back, setting a string of fastest laps and towing Fowler along with him to see the two start the final lap in third and fourth before Thompson forced his way through to lead Fowler, O’Connor, Duminy and TonyKart drivers KZN lad Dominic Lincoln and Mozambican Karl Pitzer home.

But officials deemed Thompson’s last lap move on O’Connor and Duminy illegal and handed him a 5-place penalty and handed Fowler the win and the all-important invitation to the Rotax Junior Max World Final in Portimào, Portugal alongside SA champion and Cape local rival Dino Stermin who took the class title a few weeks back.

Kart 11 Chad Maciver held off a strong challenge to take African Open DD2 honours image Jared van BergenRandburg lad Chad MacIver (CRG) secured his ticket to Portimào by winning a close fought African Open DD2 gearbox class over Ballito driver Benjamin Habig (TonyKart) and Cape charger Umpie Swart (Birel) in a hard-fought battle that saw the trio covered by less than a second throughout. Pretoria pilot Eugene Brittz (CRG) was fourth from Michael Buccholz and Justin Allison. Multiple SA Karting champ Maciver showed great form throughout the weekend and his cool head paid off in the hectic final. Critian Bouche from Mozambique has become a regular front runner in SA events and showed great pace again this weekend.

Kart 12 Production Car star Michael Stephen took a shock African Open DD2 Masters win image Jared van BergenThere was a surprise in the DD2 Masters class for older drivers in heavier karts when Port Elizabeth’s multiple SA Production Car champion Michael Stephen (CRG) took a wildcard entry and proceeded to dominate the class and secure a World Final berth. Michael has a string of karting titles to his name as well so one hopes that he can do SA proud against the likes of amongst others, Brazil’s Masters qualifier, Rubens Barrichello, Durban’s four-times world kart champion Cristiano Morgado and current SA DD2 Masters champion Potchefstroom driver Ronnie Baptista.

Stephen took both pre-finals before opening a small lead in the finals and then reeling off almost identical lap times lap after lap while the war for second place raged. He eventually took a 3-second victory over Edenvale duo Nick Verheul and John van Wyk with Marouan Selmi, Jennifer Verheul and Angolan visitor Danilson Texeira rounding off the top six.

Kart 318 Jordan Sherratt cantered to the African Open Max Challenge win image Jared van BergenThings were a little less dramatic in the Senior Max 125cc final, where Umhlanga kid Jordan Sherratt (Birel) raced to a comfortable win over Sandton lass Fabienne Lanz (Formula K) and Kzn driver Michael Buccholz (Intrepid). The trio finished in the same order in all three heats with Durban’s Luca Canderle (Intrepid), Cape Town kid Umpie Swart (Birel) and Durban driver Robert Whiting closing off the top six in the final.

Sherratt will now fill the third Team SA DD2 seat at Portimào alongside SA champion Bradley Liebenberg and DD2 winner Maciver on 8 November making this one of the best teams SA has to offer.

An air ticket was handed to primary school Maxterino 60cc winner LJ Mginqi who took honours in a fraught final over Anthony Pretorius, Cameron Dias, Jarrod Waberski, Zaeem Goolam and Kwanda Mokoena with all six Topkart drivers within a second at the finish. Mginqi will spectate at the World Finals as the CIK/FIA does not allow international competition for drivers under the age of thirteen.

All the qualified drivers will receive brand new identical karts, engines, tyres, fuel, oil, tools trolleys and entry free of charge to race against the champions from 65 countries.

The Rotax Max World Finals happen over the weekend of 8 November on the fast and flowing Portimào kart facility on the Portuguese coast. Follow the action live via www.kart.co.za or www.rotax-kart.com.