Monster Fields, Great Initiatives & Red Hot Rotax Max Action
It may as well have been a karting national, as the opening round of the Gauteng Regional Rotax Max Challenge lit the Zwartkops International Kart Raceway up on Saturday. Monster grids celebrated Rotax Max’s ongoing and undoubted leadership in South African karting as the finest upcountry drivers fought it out in a spectacular show on track, among several other highlights on another splendid day for Rotax Max karting fun.
Among several top performances on the day, Jamie Smith utterly dominated the first and second DD2 races. But it was not to be his day. Smith was excluded on a technicality to hand the second heat to Nicolas Spanoyannis. But Jamie put his disappointment behind him to come from the back, move ahead on lap 10 and clear off to an easy final race win. Smith’s tech woes handed the overall win to Spanoyannis, with Divan Braak second from Eugene Brittz, Brandon Smith, Masters winner Justin Allison and Hamza Jassat.
Tinahe Ncube was second in Masters on that 18-kart DD2 grid, but the day also saw the debut of the new DD2 Veterans class, where old man Philippe Chapat trotted off to a triple win over Rob Nicholson, Frikkie Cornelius and Rob Fulton. Zwartkops was also notable for the debut of Toyota’s all-new Gazoo Racing Junior Karting Academy. Picking up on the Toyota karting academy of a few years back, the new effort focuses on six top South African Rotax Max karters with a view to developing future South African driving talent.
Toyota Gazoo Racing Junior Academy charge Olerato Sekudu took no prisoners to celebrate a double Senior Max victory and take the day with a dominant win in the final. Sekudu picked up a fortuitous opening heat win after leader Troy Snyman stopped late in the race, while Karabo Malemela topped a magnificently fought second heat. But it was double winner Seduku who took the day from Malemela, Snyman, Ethan Bostander, Corban Spies and Daniel Kruger in another most encouraging 13-kart field.
11 karts took to the High School age Junior Max regional grid. The ever-consistent Jayden Goosen may not have won a race, but he took the day from Heat 1 winner Nicolaos Vostanis and GR Academy double winner KC Ensor-Smith. Smith lost a chain and Wiaan Boshoff stopped to leave Vostanis to that opening race win from Goosen. KC then sped to an untroubled second race win and overcame a wild few laps to take the final from Goosen and Vostanis. Erich Heystek ended fourth overall from Ricardo Tebbutt and Mo Moerat.
In the primary school classes, Caleb Odendaal took a triple under-13 Mini Max win. He dominated heat 1, but Kegan Martin kept him honest in race 2, before karting lass Georgia Lenaerts topped a splendid dogfight to win the final. Odendaal took the day from Martin, Aadam Kajee, Lenaerts, Kent Swartz and Amani Kinyua. Dominant Rafael De Sousa did the triple and broke the Under 11 Micro Max lap record. He won the day from Taylin Patel, GR Academy lass Emma Dowling, Maddox Mason, Rafael Da Silva and Mattao Mason.
Last but not least, a familiar name re-emerged atop the baby Bambino podium. Noah Cronje took a little time to get ahead, before dominating each race to leave Zwartkops with a new lap record too. You may remember his dad, Mark. Brodi Dowling held Bophelo Molatlhegi off for second ahead of Ronaldo Koen, Diego Antunes and Jenson Dias on another massive 17-kart regional grid. Rotax Max regional action moves to Killarney for the first round of the Western Cape Championship this coming Saturday 19 February.