Cape Town’s Jason Coetzee went into this past weekend’s Western Province Regional Karting Round 2 as the out-and-out favorite after an extraordinary performance in Round 1 where he took 3 wins from 3 races.
The reality of motorsport is that when a driver lays down a gauntlet like Jason did in Round 1, the rest of the paddock will respond fiercely and do everything they can to catch the early leader.
Jason knows this only too well and realised that he would have his work cut out for him when he went out for qualifying in Round 2, but what he couldn’t have foreseen is just how deeply within himself he would have to dig to overcome the day’s challenges.
By his own admission, a few mistakes in qualifying led to Jason narrowly missing out on pole. Having comfortably been the fastest kart on circuit during Friday practice, Jason will still be ruing the missed opportunity.
“We messed up quali and narrowly missed out on pole by 0.004s,” confirmed a disgruntled Jason.
As the lights went out and 14 extremely quick Rotax DD2s gunned it into turn 1, Jason’s luck went from average to horrible when the coupling on his DD2 kart came loose. The coupling drives the rear axle, so without it you are the proud owner of a decorative race machine with zero drive.
Jason’s day started with watching the entire race from the comfort of the old red and white Goodyears on the inside of turn 3.
A DNF in race 1 meant Coetzee would have to start race 2 from the very back of the grid, including the DD2 Masters grid. Any hope of a decent finish would come down to his ability to quickly find a safe route through the contingent of DD2 Masters drivers before chasing down the best DD2 drivers out in front.
If you know Jason Coetzee, you will know he pulled off such a feat at the Vereeniging National last year, so it was well and truly on. With five overtakes on the first lap, four more on the second lap and P2 in the running order by lap seven, this was a mindblowing performance of precision driving at pace.
Jason reeled in race leader Jonathan Thomas but ran out of laps to make it a triumphant victory, settling for P2 just 1.8 seconds behind Thomas at the line. After a painful start to the day, this sent a clear message to the rest of the grid and must go down as one of Jason’s most epic drives.
Desperate for a clean final race and maximum points, Jason got the holeshot into turn 1. With all seeming to be under control, he faced one final challenge.
The coupling started coming loose for the second time in one day.
With Thomas closing down on him, Jason displayed defensive racecraft that even Max Verstappen would be proud of, holding on for dear life as the laps wound down. He took the victory by two tenths of a second, rounding off a superb comeback after a torrid day on the black stuff.
“Our coupling came loose again and we could barely get out of Turn 1 in the second half of the race. I defended with all I have and managed to secure the win, so I’m very happy with that. I will continue striving to be the best” Jason concluded as he now prepares for the 1st Round of the South African DD2 Championship at his home track in 2 weeks time.
With the courage and determination he displayed at this regional, the rest of the paddock must be wondering what it would take to get this man down. These are the traits that have been synonymous with world champions time and time again.
Published by: Carbs and Coffee Media
Photography by: Heinrich Sauer
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