A highly skilled performance by Klayden-Cole Ensor-Smith, a rookie in this season’s Investchem F1600 Championship, resulted in a remarkable fourth-place finish at the National Extreme Festival held at Zwartkops Raceway on 20 May.
Witbank teenager Ensor-Smith made a great start to his weekend by consistently ranking in the top four of Friday’s practice time sheets. He carried his form through to Saturday morning’s Qualifying, achieving his best starting position of the season in second place.
The race began with Ensor-Smith on the front row, who made a good getaway but couldn’t get the car into second gear and lost three places on the opening lap. Although he eventually found a way to drive around the issue, he faced a challenge from Siyabonga Mankonkwana. Despite his best efforts to defend his position, Mankonkwana overtook him with Gerard Geldenhuys looking to do the same. Ensor-Smith battled both Geldenhuys brothers in the latter stages of the race after Antwan Geldenhuys fell back to fifth place. In the end, Ensor-Smith finished the race in a respectable seventh place despite the gearbox difficulties.
Starting a little further back for the second race, Ensor-Smith slotted into fifth place on the opening lap, despite an obvious jump start from Mankonkwana, who would later be penalised. Ensor-Smith would lose a position to Antwan Geldenhuys at the final corner of Lap 1 to start Lap 2 in sixth. Over the next few laps, Ensor-Smith, the reigning National Junior MAX Karting Champion, would pressure Antwan Geldenhuys and eventually pass him. Once passed, Ensor-Smith immediately fired in the race’s quickest lap, which would later be beaten by race leader Troy Dolinschek. Ensor-Smith would finish fourth to equal his best result thus far in the championship and move into sixth in the championship standings.
Ensor-Smith expressed his satisfaction with the weekend’s results, stating that “the car was fast” and they “displayed good pace” but that the gearbox issue ruined a potentially better result. Although it was only his third event, he believes there is still “huge room for improvement.” He went on to add that he also felt more confident in the car’s balance during the second race. Ensor-Smith thanks his team for their effort and his sponsors African Heating, Vitro Frameless and Master Stairs for their support.
Round 4 of the Investchem F1600 Championship will resume on 16-17 June at the Aldo Scribante Raceway in Gqerberha. Before that, Ensor-Smith will compete in the fourth round of the Northern Regions Rotax Karting Championship at Zwartkops Kart Raceway in Pretoria.
Published by: Motorsport Fanatix
Picture Caption: Klayden-Cole Ensor-Smith
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