Action & drama as full grids fight it out at Zwartkops
Large grids, close racing, varied results, and drama on and off the track were the order of the day as the Northern Regions Rotax Max Challenge regional karting championship kicked off in style at a sweltering Zwartkops on Saturday.
There were three winners in DD2. That is partly because Kian Grottis was excluded on a technicality to hand the opening premier direct drive gearbox class race win to Nicolaos Vostanis. Wayland Wyman took race 2 as Grottis fought from the back to second before Grottis took the final. So, Wyman took the day from Vostanis, Hamza Jassat and Masters’ pair, the returning Kyle Lawrence and Llewellyn Sutherland, and Grottis rounded off the top six.
The drama was on track in open class Senior Max. Runaway 2022 South African National and Gauteng Junior Max champion KC Ensor-Smith almost came, saw, and conquered. He won his first two races but was sidelined by an issue in the final to hand the win to Olerato Sekudu, from Ethan Bostander, impressive newcomer Ross Campbell ahead of Ensor-Smith in fifth overall, Kian Spies and Nielen Marx.
The drama spilt over to high school Junior Max too. Second, in race 1, Wian Boshoff overcame a startline infringement that deprived him of his race 2 win, to take the final and the day on a count-back over second race winner Kent Swartz. First heat victor Jonno Wilson beat third in all three heats, Georgia Lenaerts to fourth from Amani Kinyua and Gianna Pascoal.
A strong under-13 Mini Max grid avoided any real trouble, as 2022 SA champion Caleb Odendaal picked up where he left off to romp to a triple win. Reagile Spice Mailula took all three second places, Kegan Martin the third places and Emma Dowling had fourth place to herself all day long. There was a bit of a fight for fifth, however, resolved in Ewan Venter’s favour over Ruald Hartzenberg.
Under-11 Micro Max was all about Raf De Souza. Until a post-race strip found his kart illegal and his results scratched for the day. Which handed the day to SA champion Rafael Da Silva. He picked up the first and second race wins, from consistent Kayde Cornofsky, final heat winner Johan Nolte, Matthew Shuttleworth, Cristian Verheul and Logan Billau.
Last but not least, Luhan De Wet beat Adriaan Steyn two races to one to take the baby Bambino day. Ronald Venter was third from Caleb Rogers and Sebastien Shuttleworth. The baby class was not immune from its dramas as the next three finishers had their results expunged after failing to pass technical tests.
In all, Saturday proved a fine, if dramatic start to the 2023 Rotax Max karting season. The attention now shifts to Cape Town this weekend, where the Western Province Rotax Max Challenge limbers up for its season opener at Killarney on Saturday.