2019 ROTAX AFRICAN OPEN - PREVIEW

65077015 2356945534548622 7670150165692416 nThere are two ways for a South African kart racer to find a way to the annual international Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals grid: One is to win a South African National Rotax Max Challenge title; the alternative is to pick up a ticket by winning the Rotax African Open — an annual event open to karters from across Africa, this year being hosted by the Vereeniging Kart Circuit on Sunday, 7 July.

The African Open is comprised of two qualifying heats leading up to the final, so it is important to be close to the front throughout to get a good grid position for the deciding final race. It is a winner-takes-it-all shootout second-to-none. The weekend is usually of a particular interest to drivers who may not be shaping as strongly as they would have liked in the National Championships, so racing can be expected to be wild.

DD2 is set to draw the cream of the SA racing crop as the best from Gauteng — multiple SA DD2 champion Bradley Liebenberg, Nick Verheul and recent winner Brandon Smith are ready to take on tough competition in the form of Cape Town’s Jason Coetzee and Sebastian Boyd, KZN’s Benjamin Habig, Rob Whiting and Dominic Lincoln with Bloemfontein’s Justin Allison running interference. Add the UAE’s Liam Crystal and include Kyra Rocha bringing a Mozambican flavour and we have all the ingredients to ensure nail-biting action.

DD2 Masters will see the likes of Jono Pieterse and Pascal Acquaah taking on Allister Mingay, Eugene Brittz and Cape Town’s Roy Gruer.

800Senior Max will also be a very serious affair with a DD2 ticket up for grabs! All eyes will be on 2017 Mini Max world champion Jayden Els looking for that win as he takes on Jozi home rival Wayland Wyman, lady racer Fabienne Lanz and Kwanda Mokoena joining the Senior ranks. There will also be a strong out of town Senior Max contingent including Shrien Naidoo, Jason Coetzee and Simon Simpson-Heath to mention a few. Senior Max could also very well see a driver from outside of South Africa featuring in the final result, with quick UAE driver Liam Crystal and the experienced Mozambican driver Jeffrey Novela joined by countryman Paulo Ramjee.

Under-15 Junior Max will see Gauteng’s finest high school lads Aqil Alibhai, Ethan Coetzee and Jordan Brooks taking on the best from the Cape in Tate Bishop, who is in great form and with Jozi wildcard Leyton Fourie there to shake things up – Leyton is racing in the Rotax Euro Trophy Series and is currently a front runner. Mozambican trio Guilherme Rocha, Lagson Leão and Allen Remane will also be looking to take the glory for their country.

8002In primary school action, the under-13 Mini Max African Open title tussle will see 2018 National Micro Max champion Muhammad Wally, the on form Troy Snyman, Matthew Morrell and Jordan Brooks dicing Cape lads Ethan Stier, Jason MacBeath and Paul Malcolm. There are also three drivers from Mozambique to stir things up in Mini Max, with Carmo Novela, Trust Shana and Shamir Kurt, as well as Zambian ace Seth Gomes making the trip down.

There’s a lot at stake in the under-11 Micro Max class with Cape lads Joshua Smit and Reza Levy up against Jozi kids Mohammed Moerat and Luviwe Sambudla. Wian Boshoff, Caleb Cotterell, Erich Heystek and Kent Swartz are all in with a shout too.

Last but not least, Tshepang Sishinwana should be the kid to beat in the Bambino class, but he will have more than enough on his hands between home rivals Keagan Beaumont, Troy van der Laan and Cristian Verheul and Cape kids Rayan Karriem, Jordon Wadeley and Kai van Rensburg. East London hotshot Caleb Odendaal and possibly also a driver from Zimbabwe will join in the battle for Bambino glory. 

There will be several exciting activities around this year’s African Open — not least the draw of a brand-new Junior Max engine complete with accessories and a 12-month warranty, to be raffled at the prize giving and open to all competitors, who must be present at prize giving. This prize worth more than R40K can be traded up to a Senior Max / DD2 or down to a Micro Max / Mini Max. Bambino king Shinisawa

The races will also be attended by BRP Rotax kart executives Stefan Gruber and Helmut Voglsam, who will also be in town for the 20th annual Rotax Distributor Council meeting in Cape Town 2-3 July.

Vereeniging Kart Circuit is on Van Riebeeck Street in Vereeniging, next to the Vaal Showgrounds, left off the Boy Louw Street off-ramp, heading south on the R59 Vereeniging freeway. Entrance is free and good food and refreshments are on sale at the clubhouse beneath the grandstand with a full view of the track and from where you will not miss a second of the action on either day...

Article by Motorsport Media SA,