KARTING’S QUANTUM LEAP

fkbusinesspark sqThere is great excitement among Gauteng’s karting community ahead of what promises to be a quantum start to leap year 2020’s Rotax Max Northern Regions karting season when the first round kicks off at the brand new Formula K Karting Circuit near Benoni on Saturday 29 February.

Said to be South Africa’s premier kart track, the Grade A CIK and FIA karting federation certified Formula K is currently the only South African circuit eligible to host world championship kart races. The highly versatile new circuit comprises a basic 1.5km kart track, but can be raced on a broad variety of layouts from a faster 2.1km layout to a short, sharp baby kart format.

8003800The facility is now gearing up for its first MSA championship races at Saturday's leap year Gauteng Rotax Max opener, with the cream of Northern Regions karters counting sleeps to the Rand Kart Club-run big day. Track owner Philip Swanepoel is a passionate karter who loves his shifter karts and has invited all 125 shifter karters to enter and enjoy this opening FK meeting with a full days racing on offer, while the FKR Shifter class will become a regular feature at future RKC events.

8002The weekend’s form may very well also be stirred up by it being everyone's first race at FK, so there could be a few surprises right through the field starting from the baby Bambinos, a large field of bright eyed and excited racing first timers are expected to join the grid and judging by the recent opening club races at Zwartkops, Mattao Mason, Rafael da Silva, MJ Thekiso, Matthew Shuttleworth and Cristian Verheul should be the pace lads. Also expect Manelisi Nkomo, Aiden Beaumont, Ruald Hartzenberg, Mattao Mason, Santiago Frade and Shayaan Mohamed to be well in the fray.

80011Stepping up to this year's primary school classes, under-11 Micro Max has been upgraded for reliability and parity of performance. Expect to see Mohammed Moerat, Hriday Pooren and Ntiyiso Mabunda as the pace makers. Also look out for Reagile Mailula, Enzo Rujugiro, Keagan Beaumont and Berlin Robinson.

Next step up is to under-13 Mini Max, where Erich Heystek, Ghazi Motlekar and top Micro graduates Wian Boshoff and Luviwe Sambudla should be the kids to beat and they will have Kgabang Mngadi, Nathan Shana, Jedda Bartholomew and Alexandre Magalhães among others to keep them honest. Mini Max likewise uses a version of the ultra-reliable state of the art electric start, water-cooled chain-drive Rotax Max 125cc engine in a slightly stronger state of tune than Micro Max.

Next step up is to under-15 Junior Max, where the same base engine is used in a significantly stronger state of tune on a full-sized chassis. Not only are Rotax Max kart engines renowned to be super-reliable, but over the years they have also become famous for being most consistent in performance to ensure the closest possible racing in Junior Max, and that is certain to see the best dicing between Aqil Alibhai and Mini Max champion Troy Snyman, as well as Luviwe Sambudla, Tyler Robinson and João Magalhães.

Open class Senior Max is the top chain-drive Rotax karting class and it uses a full cream version of that 125cc engine complete with a power valve and on Saturday, the likes of Dane van Heerde and Shannon Jackson will do battle against Kgalema Mngadi, Tahier Ramlall, Hamza Jassat and Andrew Hill.

The DD2 gearbox class is the premier league of Rotax Max karting — direct drive with a two-speed gearbox over and above disc brakes up front (chain drive karts only have a single disc brake), DD2 is an absolute pleasure to watch and regularly draws the cream of the crop of South African racers to drive them. Expect Nicholas Verheul, Philippe Chapat, Tinahe Ncube, Carlo Gil and Rob Nicholson to be on the grid at FK on the weekend, as well as Wayland Wyman, Justin Allison, Brandon and Jamie Smith, Jurgen and Anton Pommersheim and Nicolas Spanoyannis.

The weekend will be rounded off by the Clubmans, where Erwin Sterne will take on Llewellyn Sutherland and Avinesh Francis among others, as well as veterans Michael Hawcroft, Lionel Black, Robert Fulton and Kurt Schultz.

The new Formula K Karting Circuit has all the facilities to make for a great day at the races and is easy to find on Golden Drive off Snake Road in Morehill, Benoni — that's right off the Snake Road offramp on the N12 to Mphumalanga and left onto Golden Drive where you will find the circuit on your right. See you there!