Surprise National winners Saturday, RTX African Open on Sunday
The tight, twisty and undulating iDube Kart Track near Pietrmarizburg lived up to its epic reputation as it delivered surprise National winners at Saturday’s third round Rotax South African Kart Championships. And then on Sunday, four of SA’s finest kart racers booked their places on the National green and gold team for October’s ‘Olympics of Karting’ Rotax Max Grand Finals in Portugal with victory in Sunday’s wildcard Rotax Max African Open.
Bradley Liebenberg made a triumphant return to premier DD2 with a first heat win over championship leader Sebastian Boyd, another comeback king Cristiano Morgado, Joseph Oelz, Niko Zafiris and Brandon Smith, while Eugene Brittz beat Nicholas Verhuil, Jonathan Pieterse and Shane Foley. Boyd came back from fourth to take heat 2 from Oelz, Morgado, Nicolas Spanoyannis, Zafiris and Brandon Smith after Liebenberg and Jamie Smith plummeted down the order mid race.
Liebenberg was spectacular on his return to the Premier DD2 class. – Motorsport Fanatix™️
Verheul took the second Masters win from Brittz and Foley after Pieterse came in underweight. Liebenberg wasted little time to move ahead of Oelz, Morgado, Jamie Smith, Boyd and Niko Zafiris to win the final, while Brittz took the Masters overall win after beating Verhuil, Pieterse and Foley. Bradley Liebenberg then delivered a masterful drive to take Sunday’s DD2 African open to do the double from Oelz, Morgado and Boyd, to book his Grand Final berth while local Masters hero Jonathan Pieterse, reserved his spot on the plane to Portimao and waits to see if a 2nd Masters ticket will become available.
Local legend Pieterse took the African Open spoils on Sunday. – Motorsport Fanatix™️
Neither the Senior Max top two won a heat as local lad Yifan Li pipped championship leader Tate Bishop to take a popular overall win for the day. Polo Cup racers Bishop and Charl Visser, and Formula 1600 racer Shrien Naidoo fought a tight 3 way battle before he held Bishop and Visser off to take race 1 with a similar result in heat 2. Bishop then took the final only to incur a 10 place penalty after Naidoo dropped back early on.
Popular KZN driver Li grabbed the win in Senior Max on Saturday. – Motorsport Fanatix™️
Visser then plummeted down the order on the final tour to leave Olerato Sekuduto to take the heat win from Li and Karabo Malemela as Li took the day from Bishop, Sekudu, Malemela, Naidoo, Ethan Stier and Visser. Moving on to Sunday, local lad Shrien Naidoo bounced back to earn his slot in the 2022 South African Rotax Max Grand Finals team. He beat Bishop and Malema to African Open honours.
Naidoo used his local Max knowledge to secure the African Open seat on Sunday. – Motorsport Fanatix™️
KC Ensor-Smith took an easy high school Junior Max heat 1 win from Wian Boshoff and Nicolaos Vostanis, before Sa’aad Variawa beat Smith, Vostanis and Jayden Goosen to a superb heat 2 victory. Ensor-Smith took the final from Vostanis, Khan and Heystek to beat Vostanis, Boshoff, Variawa, Heystek and Dhyvien Naidoo overall. Nicolaos Vostanis’ weekend got even better when he beat Boshoff and Heystek to claim his seat in the SA Grand Finals team in Sunday’s African Open.
A delighted Vostanis was Sunday’s Junior Max African Champion. – Motorsport Fanatix™️
Caleb Odendaal beat local hero Travis Mingay and Kent Swartz to the opening under-13 Mini Max race win. Odendaal then made a final lap overtake to win the second race from Mingay too. Odendaal then picked off the three karts to do the triple for the day’s win from Mingay, Kegan Martin, Adaam Kajee, Keagan Beaumont and Kyle Spies. Odendaal closed off a perfect weekend with African Open honours over Kent Swarts and an impressive Jordon Wadeley to earn his SA Team Grand Finals seat.
Odendaal had a faultless weekend in Mini Max. – Motorsport Fanatix™️
Rafael da Silva beat Taylin Patel to the opening under 11 Micro Max win with Aiden Beaumont in chase. Rafael de Sousa fought back to fourth from Santiago Frade, Cristian Verheul and Emma Dowling. Da Silva beat Dowling, Beaumont, Patel, de Sousa, Matthew Shuttleworth and Verheul in race 2 before fighting Patel, Dowling, Verheul, Beaumont and Shuttleworth off to do the triple. Rafael da Silva then went on to beat Patel and Dowling in Sunday’s African Open.
Da Silva had a great weekend in Micro Max. – Motorsport Fanatix™️
Noah Cronje had to fight a hard battle throughout the day to take baby Bambino honours over a combative Brodi Cooper Dowling. Diego Antunes came home third from Luhan de Wet, Adriaan Steyn and Ronaldo Koen. Brodi Dowling then made good with victory in the Bambino African Open from Antunes and Koen to win himself an official green and gold South African team colours race suit.
Cronje charged to three wins in Saturday’s National. – Motorsport Fanatix™️
So, Bradley Liebenberg, Shrien Naidoo, Nico Vostanis and Caleb Odendaal have all booked their tickets to the 2022 Rotax Max ‘Olympics of Karting’ Grand Finals while Jonathan Pieterse and Rafael da Silva have spots on the plane to support the team. The rest of the seats are still up for grabs as reward to the various South African Rotax Max National Champions, all of whom will be crowned at Zwartkops International Kart Raceway’s SA Finals on Saturday 3 September.