Rotax Max karters star in wet & windy PE

Shrien Naidoo

Wet, windy and miserable conditions did not deter a packed entry list of Rotax Max Challenge karters from delivering seismic action at the second round of the SA National Rotax Max Challenge karting championships at Celso Scribante raceway in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. And with seats on offer at the end of the year’s Rotax Max Grand Finals, race winners Benjamin Habig (DD2), Michael Stephen (Masters), Shrien Naidoo (Senior), Jonathan Pieterse (175), Troy Dolinschek (Junior), Troy Snyman (Mini), Dhvyan Naidoo (Micro) and Caleb Moss (Bambino) all strengthened their claims to those tickets with class wins on the day.

Benjamin Habig

Premier class DD2 was all about two men in Port Elizabeth as KZN star Benjamin Habig won two races to put one over race 2 winner, Jozi star Roman de Beer. Cape cousins Dino Stermin and Sebastian Boyd ended up third and fourth for the day ahead of Robert Whiting, Jason Coetzee and Eugene Brittz, while Brandon Smith, Justin Allison and Jonathan Thomas closed off the top ten. That allowed Habig to strengthen his title lead over Stermin, with Boyd and de Beer provisionally tied in fourth.

Michael Stephen

Local hero Michael Stephen delivered a pair of wins to take the old men’s DD2 Masters from another PE driver Brett Brito and Allister Mingay, but fourth placed Jonathan Pieterse broke Stephen’s unbeaten run with the second race win. James Moore was fourth from Cape trio Roy Gruer, Ernst Viljoen and Conor Hughes, with Justin Walton and Calvyn Ferreira next up. Stephen now holds a significant title lead over Brito, with Hughes, Pieterse, Mingay and Viljoen scrapping over third.

KZN lad Shrien Naidoo turned Senior Max on its head with two wins to second man Luca Canderle’s one, while former Mini Max world champion Jayden Els bounced back in third ahead of Connor Donovan and Charl Visser. Jonathan Pieterse ended sixth ahead of Andrew Thomas and three men who appeared to struggle on the day; Kai van Zijl, former title leader Simon Simpson-Heath and veteran Nicholas Verheul to see Canderle jump to the top of the points table from Visser, van Zijl and Simpson-Heath.

The new Rotax Max 175 class for older and bigger lads ran together with Senior Max in Port Elizabeth, but that did not stop KZN driver Jono Pieterse from taking the honours  Verheul, Erwin Sterne,  Geoff Stephen, Shane Foley and Richard van Heerde. The 175s are expected to race alone from the next round in KZN.
Troy Snyman on the limit

SA Mini Max champion Kyle Visser took his first under-15 Junior Max win in a sodden opening heat, but that did not stop Troy Dolinschek from taking the next two races to lead Visser and Tate Bishop home in a Cape 1-2-3. Aqil Alibhai was fourth from Joseph Oelz, Kwanda Makoena, Nicholas Wuite, Ndumiso Bungane, Sebastian Smith and Lorenzo Cianfanelli. The Junior title fight is ultra close as always with Dolinschek now leading Oelz, Alibhai and Bishop with just five points splitting them

KZN kid Troy Snyman continued his under-13 Mini Max march with a couple of wins, but Jozi lad Muhammad Wally kept him close enough by nicking the first race win. Matthew Morrell was third from impressive duo Ghazi Motlekar and Taya van der Laan, with Jason McBeath next up from Guillo Cianfanelli, Ethan Stier, Mandla Mlangeni and Seth Gomes, leaving Snyman ten points clear of Wally in the championship with Morrell and MacBeath next.

Dhivyan Naidoo

Little Dhivyan made it a Naidoo double with two heat wins to take under-11 Micro Max honours from Reese Koorzen, an impressive Caleb Cotterell, Joshua Smit and race 1 winner Mohammed Moerat. Reza Levy was a close fifth from Ethan Lennon, Erich Heystek Luviwe Sambudla and Kyle Beukes to leave Levy leadingh Koorzen, Naidoo and Moerat in another tightly stacked SA national Rotax Max Challenge title chase.

Caleb Moss a star is born

But perhaps the most pleasing results of the day came out of the kindergarten of karting Bambinos, where a wealth of newcomers to the sport are starting to deliver and the results delivered among the biggest surprises on the day.as the latest member of the Port Elizabeth Moss racing dynasty, Caleb appeared out of nowhere to take the second race win and take the day from another total newcomer, East London kid and final race winner, Myles Krause.

They beat Bambino regulars, Cape lads Luan Mostert and Rayan Karriem and Jozi lot Tshepang Shisinwana, Troy van der Laan and Keagan Beaumont, while another trio of newcomers Josh Moore, Jordan Wadeley and Aiden Green closed out the top ten of a delightfully fast growing 17-kart field. Shisinwana meanwhile retained the lead of the first ever SA national title race ahead of Karriem and Mostert.

The Rotax karting Nationals now take a break until 10 August when Max Challenge descends on the spectacular iDube Raceway not far from Pietermaritzburg in KZN. Fear not as that pause will be filled with regional Rotax Max action around the country, all of which also partially counts to each driver’s national tally in search of that SA tram seat at the end of the season...