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The opening round of the Northern Regions ROK Karting Championship got underway at a wet Vereeniging this weekend. OKN driver Mikel Bezuidenhout claimed fourth overall, including his maiden pole position. While lightning and thunder delayed proceedings, the event continued before the bad weather returned, and officials called an end to proceedings over safety concerns.

Only two of the eight competitors finished the race in a bizarre opening heat following a torrential downpour. Despite starting from the pole, Mikel was beaten off the line by a competitor who was eventually penalised for a jump start. Unfortunately, in the position scuffle, the pair lost control of their karts before running off the circuit. Able to rejoin, Mikel would be involved in another incident that forced his retirement from the race.

For Heat 2, Mikel started eighth and worked his way through the pack to finish in a strong second before receiving a nose-cone infringement penalty, demoting him to third. The final heat started with Mikel in pole position and was red-flagged before officials called force majeure due to lightning threatening the safety of participants and spectators.

“It was a good day out. Claiming my first pole position was fantastic, and I was hoping to convert that into a win today, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Again, we showed great pace in Heat 2 but came up short. The final heat was the perfect time to redeem myself, but again, the odds were against me. But for everyone’s safety, I believe it was the right call. Hopefully, we can return with a few tricks up our sleeve for the national,” said Mikel.

Mikel will now prepare for this weekend’s Extreme Festival, where he will compete in Round 2 of the Investchem Formula 1600 at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. Mikel thanks MTN Cosmo-Net, Vivo Mobile South Africa and the team at NBR Racing.

Published by: Motorsport Fanatix

Picture Caption: Mikel Bezuidenhout

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