Cape karters come out on top in a magic day of racing
The 2021 South African Kart Championships exploded into action with a splendid first round at Killarney in Cape Town on Saturday as local drivers did the Province proud across the board. The action was supreme throughout the classes, with scintillating on track antics that boiled over into one or two incidents, but all of it in a fine new spirit of Rotax Max Racing Together.
The atmosphere was electric in the premier DD2 direct-drive 2-speed premier class, where local stars laid down the gauntlet from the get-go as among 2021’s greatest rivalries immediately manifested itself up front. Sebastian Boyd set the tone when he broke the lap record en route to the opening race win, while Polo Cup Championship leader Umpie Swart put one over Joseph Oelz with Jason Coetzee in a close fourth.
The excitement flowed over as Oelz and Boyd raced hard in the second heat, with Boyd recovering from a wild 360-degree spin to place third behind Oelz and Coetzee. Race officials however took a dim view of that incident and docked Oelz ten positions to gift Coetzee the win from Boyd and Swart. Boyd powered to the final win from Coetzee and Oelz as fourth placed Swart broke the lap record again.
So Boyd took the day from Coetzee, Swart and Oelz in a Cape Town 1-2-3-4 ahead of Gauteng six Brandon Smith, Wayland Wyman, Jamie Smith, Divan Braak, Nicolas Spanyannis and Niko Zafiris in an encouragingly impressive field.
Multiple South African Champion Michael Stephen was back in a kart again as he broke the Killarney lap record while blitzing to a dominant triple over-32s DD2 Masters win. The PE driver left Nicholas Verheul, Jonathan Pieterse and Eugene Britz to fight it out for second. Andrew Thomas was best of the locals in a fine fifth, from Shane Foley, Jared Jordan, Steven Beaumont, Morne Janse van Rensburg and Andre Steenkamp in a healthy 16-kart grid.
The top chain drive class, open age group Senior Max proved one of the races of the day with three different local lads crossing the line first in the three races. Andrew Rackstraw took race 1 from reigning South African Champion Tate Bishop, Jason Coetzee and Storm Lanfear, before Bishop beat Rackstraw, Coetzee and Lanfear. Coetzee then made the best of a fraught third race to beat Rackstraw, Bishop and top Jozi runner Kian Grottis home in the final.
But a nose cone penalty cost Coetzee seven places to hand the last race win to Rackstraw, who took the day from Bishop, Lanfear, Coetzee and Grottis. KZN speedster Riley Horner ended sixth from Jack Rowe, Juandre Nel, Yifan Li and Olerato Sekudu.
Under-15 high school Junior Max was always going to be a melting pot and that was exactly how it turned out in an interprovincial war where KZN lad Troy Snyman, Jozi driver Muhammed Wally and Cape kid Reza Levy each won a race. Snyman passed Levy on the last turn to take heat 1 as the rain started, before Wally benefited from first home Snyman suffering the wrath of the Stewards in the second race.
Then Levy pulled off a fine final race win as he passed Wally for the win to take the day from Wally by just two points. Snyman stopped after contact in the fraught action in the pack, leaving locals Ethan Stier and Matthew Wadeley to enjoy a splendid scrap en route to third and fourth, split by just a point. Jaden Jacobs was next from the troubled Snyman who at least had the comfort of leaving with a new Killarney lap record, and Corban Spies.
The drive of the day was however probably in under-13 Mini Max, where local lad Joaquin de Oliveira not only beat Jozi visitor Wian Boshoff two races to one, but quite remarkably broke the Killarney lap record three times in the three races. Caleb Odendaal ended up third from Kent Swartz, Erich Heystek, Travis Mingay, Joshua Smit, Jordon Wadeley, Sabelo Ntuli and Ethan Deacon in another packed field.
There was an even bigger grid in under-11 Micro Max, but nobody would stop Reagile Mailula from storming to a stunning triple win. Behind him Mattao Mason, Kegan Martin, Harry Rowe, Joshua Moore and Aadam Kajee fought hard in pursuit as they benefited from seventh overall Keagan Beaumont dropping out of the final after ending second in the opening races. Dale Hobbs, Jack Moore and Taylin Patel closed off the top ten in an 18-kart grid
And last but not least, Jack Moore bounced back from a tough second race to take Bambino honours by virtue of his two race wins to Michael Danks’ one after the two ended up tied on points for the day. Logan Billau pipped Shayaan Mohamed and Matthew Shuttleworth for third ahead of Maddox Mason, Santiago Frade, Liam Wharton, Siyabonga Ntuli and Rafael de Sousa in another well-supported grid of 14 small racing drivers.
All in all it was a brilliant day’s racing as SA’s finest karters laid first claim to tickets to the Rotax Max ‘Olympics of Karting’ International Grand Finals at the end of the year. And with more than 50 karts racing in the primary school classes, the future is also looking great for the future of Rotax Max Challenge karting in South Africa. Round 2 happens at the Formula K Raceway in Benoni, Gauteng Saturday 24 April
Relive the fraught action from Killarney here