Visitors add to Gauteng title drama

Close racing, huge fields and action aplenty were the hallmarks of the Rand Kart Club’s fourth round Northern Regions Rotax Max karting Championship at the Zwartkops International Karting Raceway on Saturday. This race weekend has traditionally been something of a mini national with drivers from around the country entering in preparation for Sunday’s wildcard Rotax Max African Open and the chance to win a drive in the International Finals in Brazil at the end of the year, so the action was fraught from the get go.
Local star Arnold Neveling held his out of town rivals off as he scored a couple of wins to take DD2 gearbox honours over Masters winner, Durban driver Cristiano Morgado, with KZN compatriot Benjamin Habig third after bouncing back to a final race win following a major practice accident. Local lad Roman de Beer made an impressive comeback in fourth ahead of Cape youngster Jason Coetzee; leading lady Fabienne Lanz, Jordan North, KZN lad Robert Whiting; top Gauteng Master Marouan Selmi and NR title fighters Eugene Brittz, Ivana Cetinich and Nicolas Spanoyannis. Championship leader, Bradley Liebenberg and frontrunners Jurie Swart and Daniel Duminy suffered days to forget among a full 27-kart grid.
That saw to a bit of a championship reshuffle among the Gauteng competitors as Neveling moved to second as he dramatically closed down on troubled leader Liebenberg, with Brittz, North, Cetinich and Pommersheim next up. Pascal Acquaah, Philippe Chapat, Alistair Mingay and Jean-Pierre Joubert followed Morgado and Selmi in the Masters chase as Chapat swept into the oldtimers Northern championship lead over Acquaah and Joubert.
2 2Senior Max drew another strong 18-kart entry, but out of town drivers proved a major factor there, with KZN lad Dominic Lincoln taking the opening two races and Cape youngster Jason Coetzee winning a busy finale to tie on points for the day. Top Jozi lad Wayland Wyman was third with another Cape visitor Andrew Rackstraw next up from NR championship leader Nicholas Verheul, impressive UAE visitor Liam Crystal, Shrien Naidoo, Carlo Olivier, Daniel Duminy and Farhaan Basha. Wayman meanwhile closed Verheul’s Northern championship advantage down to just six points in the process.
3 2Wild as ever, high school Junior Max attracted a 22-kart interprovincial grid, but local drivers made it a Gauteng clean sweep as Jayden Els took a couple of race wins to take the day from the consistent Kwanda Mokoena, Leyton Fourie, Ethan Coetzee, Daniele Patrizi and an impressive Tiffany Napier. Cape lad Kai Van Zyl was best of the visitors ahead of race 1 winner Aqil Alibhai, whose day then went from bad to worse; another Cape kid Tate Bishop and two more local title contenders who had less than perfect days; Jarrod Waberski and Daniel De Paiva. That turned the championship on its head as Mokoena moved ahead of Aibhai by three points on top with Patrizi and Waberski hanging on to third and fourth as Els jumped to fifth ahead of Fourie with just 15 points between the lot of them.
4 2Under-13 Mini Max was a far more straightforward affair as Jordan Brooks swept to three more race wins to make it seven in a row and to make it just that much more frustrating for his regular rivals, Micro Max graduate Muhammad Wally took all the seconds ahead of regulars Joshua de Paiva, an on form Michele Patrizi, Matthew Morrell and Josh Le Roux. Melandri van Wyk was seventh from Jayden Goosen, Liam De Beer and the best of the out of town drivers, Mikhail Fernandez as brooks consolidated his title advantage over de Paiva.
5 2Troy Snyman took the second and third heats to beat race 1 winner KC Ensor-Smith to second in somewhat of a shake up of form in under-13 Micro Max — another well-supported class that drew an impressive 24-kart entry to underscore the strength of Rotax Max karting in South Africa. Muhammad Wally ended third from Mohammed Moerat, Cape lad Reza Levy and championship leader Joshua de Paiva in sixth ahead of Kyle Beukes, Kent Swartz, Reese Koorzen and Dhivyen Naidoo. De Paiva held on to his title lead by albeit just a point from Wally, Moerat and Ensor Smith as Snyman jumped up to fifth.
6 2The day was rounded off by a trio of races for the karting kindergarten kids, where Cyril Jacobs beat runaway under-8 Cadet championship leader Tshepang Shisinwana two races to one ahead of Aadam Kajee. Anesu Maphumulo, Troy Van Der Laan, Enzo Rujugiro and Myles Krause.
The Northern Regions karters return to action at Vereeniging’s Laserfiche raceway Saturday 1 September after the next round of the South African Rotax Max Challenge at Killarney in Cape Town on 11 August.