Heat is on at SA Rotax kart Finals
What South African Rotax Max Challenge Karting Final Preview
Where Zwartkops International Kart Raceway, Pretoria
When Saturday 21 September 2019
Community South Africa National
The 2019 South African Rotax Max Challenge national karting championship comes to a head when the cream of the country’s crop come together for a dramatic Final round at the Zwartkops International Kart Circuit Saturday and Sunday 21-22 September. And with all-important seats in the South African team set to jet to Sarno in Italy in chase of world titles at the Rotax Max Grand Finals in October, the competition tension will be sky high.
Adding to the drama, several drivers have poor season scores to drop, while others have scored well, but with each driver having to drop his or her three worst scores, there could be a surprise in store once the calculators come out after Saturdays four heats in each class. So race fans have some excitement in store at the figure-of-eight Pretoria kart track on Saturday.
Durban racer Benjamin Habig has won five DD2 races this year and holds a handy title lead over Cape Town cousins, double winner Dino Stermin and Sebastian Boyd, with another KZN kid Dominic Lincoln, Jozi lad Brandon Smith, Justin Allison from Bloem and Durbanite Robert Whiting next up. The wildcard among this lot is four-time DD2 champion Bradley Liebenberg, who has had a dreadful season and could still fight right back, while Jono Thomas and Nic Verheul are danger men too.
PE maestro Michael Stephen is well on his way to securing the DD2 Masters title on Saturday having won eight of the nine over-30 year old rounds so far and ending second in the other, but the dice among the older men is for second. KZN driver Jonathan Pieterse, PE man Brett Brito, Durbanite Alistair Mingay and Cape karters Conor Hughes and Ernst Viljoen are all in with a shout, especially with a few interesting scores to drop among them.
Reigning Junior Max champion, Cape kid Charl Visser holds a handy Senior Max advantage over KZN driver Shrien Naidoo, who has a few low drop scores up his sleeve. Add KZN duo Luca Canderle and Connor Donovan and Cape lads Simon Simpson-Heath and Kai van Zijl all within striking distance and ex world Mini Max champion Jayden Els having to drop three zero scores, and things can get most interesting here, especially with the likes of Riley Horner, Dane van Heerde and Wayland Wyman riding interference.
Another KZN driver, Jonathan Pieterse is looking good for the first-ever Max 175 title for older and heavier drivers, but local expert Nicholas Verheul, PE lad Geoff Stephen, Jozi man Erwin Sterne and Shane Foley, who has three zero scores to drop, are all in there with a shout too.
In school action, high school Junior Max will be impossible to predict as Jozi lad Aqil Alibhai arrives in Pretoria with a small enough lead to worry about Cape rivals Tate Bishop and Troy Dolinschek, who have a few low scores to drop to spring a late surprise. Add last year’s Mini Max champion Kyle Visser, Ndumiso Bungane and the ever-dangerous Kwanda Mokoena, never mind Ethan Coetzee, Joseph Oelz, Storm Lanfear and Lorenzo Cianfanelli all with nothing to drop, or lose and the under-15 class should prove a cracker.
Pietermaritzburg lad Troy Snyman has enjoyed a stunning season in under-13 Mini Max and arrives in Pretoria needing to just drive it home to win, but somehow the odds are on him also adding to his seven race wins so far this season. Jozi kids Matthew Morrell, Ghazi Motlekar and Mandla Mlangeni and Cape challengers Jason MacBeath and Ethan Stier, will do their best to stop Snyman, while Muhammad Wally, Taya van der Laan, Giullo Cianfanelli and Mischa Williams are dark horses as each has three zero scores to drop.
Five kids are in with a serious shot at the under-11 Micro Max title as Cape lad Reese Koorzen leads KZN driver Dhiyven Naidoo, Luviwe Sambudla from Jozi, Capetonian Reza Levy and Jozi hotshot Mohammed Moerat by an unsafe margin. And with Erich Heystek, Ethan Deacon, Travis Mingay and dark horse Kent Swartz among those out to disrupt the favourites, anything can happen in this competitive class.
Things are just as unclear in the baby Bambinos, which will crown South Africa’s youngest-ever four-wheeled racing champion on Saturday with the 50cc class counting as a national title for the first time. Cape Town’s Rayan Karriem holds a narrow advantage over Tshepang Shisinwana, with another Cape lad Luan Mostert next up, but never rule out Caleb Odendaal, Jordon Wadeley, Rhoderick Simpson or Christian Verheul, while Caleb Moss is a danger man with three zero scores to dispose of, as do Keagan Beaumont and Troy van der Laan.
So there you have it, not only will South Africa’s 2019 Rotax Max Challenge karting champions be crowned at Zwartkops on Saturday, but the results will also decide who goes to Italy to represent SA in the 2019 Rotax Max Grand Finals - it really is all to play for.
Qualifying and the first heat happen on Saturday 21 September with the main event comprising three races per class on Sunday. The Zwartkops International Kart Raceway is located behind the main circuit pits — find Zwartkops on the R55 just outside Laudium, Pretoria. Entrance is free and the facility offers great grub and all amenities at the clubhouse.
Issued on behalf of Rotax Max Challenge
Photography by: Heinrich Sauer
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