Caleb Odendaal claimed fifth place overall this past weekend (November 21-22) in the Mini ROK U/10 Class during the penultimate round of the ROK Cup National Championship.
Odendaal battled through a frustrating weekend of mechanical difficulties with his Vortex-powered Mini ROK Parolin kart suffering with an intermittent loss of power. Saturday's proceeding started what would be a mentally challenging round for the young East Londoner where he was unable to complete any of the five practice sessions set aside as preparation for Sunday's three race heats.
After frantic work on Saturday evening by the team to try and resolve the issue, Odendaal somehow managed a few strong laps during qualifying with the problem seemingly something of the past.
Despite starting the opening race heat on the front row, Odendaals's nightmare would continue when his kart struggled up the hill on route to the start line. By the second turn, Odendaal was second from last. A visibly frustrated Odendaal soldiered on nonetheless and slowly made his way past a few of the back runners to finish in the 12th position (fifth in U/10).
The second heat was much the same with the ADZ Electrical & Lighting -backed driver again unable to accelerate properly up the steep inclines of the iDube Kart Circuit. He went on to claim the 11th position (fifth in U/10).
The final race heat saw Odendaal start from the back unable to even latch onto the grid of driver as they approached the start. Again Odendaal did his utmost to drive the underperforming kart and managed to catch a number of stragglers and pass them. For a brief lap or two the motor performed optimally and he was able to lap the Camperdown circuit near Pietermaritzburg quickly and finished in the 13th position (fourth in U/10). After the day’s results were tallied, Odendaal was awarded the fifth overall position for the day.
"We're extremely frustrated this weekend. We arrived here positive of a good performance but unfortunately for us our engine just couldn't perform. I'm really at a loss for words at the moment. Caleb did all he could and I'm very proud of how he handled himself mentally this weekend. On the plus side to qualify in P2 ahead of the entire field bar one was a proud moment for the team," said Laren Odendaal, Caleb's father.
The final round of the Championship will return to Gauteng in three weeks’ time when the Zwartkops Kart Circuit will host the fourth round on December 11-12.
Published by: Raymond Cornwell
Picture Caption: Odendaal’s championship was dealt a severe blow when the East London-born youngster suffered mechanical issues throughout the weekend.
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