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What : Rotax Max Challenge South African Finals Preview
Where : Zwartkops International Kart Raceway, Pretoria
When : 25-26 August 2023
Community : South Africa National

South African Rotax Max Finals to shape SA team at Zwartkops

The MSA South African National Rotax Max Challenge karting championship wraps up at the Zwartkops International Kart Raceway outside Pretoria over the 25 and 26 August weekend. Those results will also form the basis of the South African National Team to represent the country at the Rotax Max ‘Olympics of Karting’ in Bahrain in December. So, it’s certainly all to play for as SA’s finest march on Pretoria for four crucial heats of racing in each class.

Johannesburg’s multiple DD2 champion, Bradley Liebenberg arrives in Pretoria in a strong position in the direct drive gearbox class. He must however keep one eye on principal rival and reigning champion, Cape flyer Sebastian Boyd, who has a few less points to drop from his title tally. Kian Grottis sits third in the DD2 race from Wayland Wyman, while there may well be some interference at Zwartkops in the form of the likes of Joseph Oelz and Jason Coetzee out of the Cape, Zwartkops regulars Jamie Smith, Nicolaos Vostanis and Dusan Radojevic, and possibly even Namibian Justus Beulker.

Another dominant Jozi driver, Kyle Lawrence leads the DD2 Masters title chase over KZN lad Jonathan Pieterse and Cape karters Conor Hughes and Jared Jordan. Never ignore Neil Lambrechts, the effervescent Eugene Brittz, Cape lads Andrew Thomas and Michael Jordan, Namibian Mark Villinger, and perhaps even KZN Rotax karting superman Cristiano Morgado among these elder statesman of Max karting.

It’s much closer in Senior Max, where reigning Junior champion KC Ensor-Smith holds a slender title advantage over two former Senior champions, fellow Jozi karter Muhammad Wally and KZN flyer Troy Snyman. None of Ethan Bostander, double reigning champion Charl Visser, Olerato Sekudu, Roshaan Goodman and Cape trio Storm Lanfear, Matthew Wadeley or Ethan Stier are out of the reckoning either. So, considering some of the volatile action we have seen so far this season, who knows who will emerge as champion out of this lot?

Under-15 high school Junior Max is just as tight. A literal handful of points separates Kent Swartz and Wian Boshoff in the title chase. Neither Jozi racer can afford any slip ups though, with Cape lad Jordon Wadeley and Gauteng gang Amani Kinyua, Jonno Wilson, lady racers Georgia Lenaerts and Gianna Pascoal, and Mauro Da Luz all within championship striking distance. And keep an eye on race winners, Uzair Khan and Reese Koorzen, and Travis Mingay, all of whom have more than enough zero drop scores in hand to emerge as surprises champions.

Jozi lad Caleb Odendaal holds a very handy under-13 Mini Max championship advantage. Its close for second however, with consistent Cape driver Keagan Beaumont and his Gauteng rival Kegan Martin, tied on points. Racing lass Emma Rose Dowling sits a comfy fourth, but its war behind her as Spice Mailula, Taylin Patel, Jesse Swart, and Durelle Goodman find themselves in a furious fight for fifth, and among them with far fewer points to drop than some rivals.

Northern Regions racer Rafael da Silva is another to hold a reasonable advantage in under-11 Micro Max, with Brodi Dowling comfy enough in second too. But its close behind with Ronaldo Koen, Matthew Shuttleworth, Cristian Verheul, Johan Nolte, and Rafael De Sousa fighting for third. Next up, Cape kid Jayden van der Merwe is a dark horse considering he will drop less points, as will Benjamin Gibhard Callum du Toit and Ashaan and Kiyaan Reddi, and Carter Cedras.

The closest championship fight is however among the baby Bambinos, where just two points separate Luhan de Wet and Adriaan Steyn, with Ronald Venter in chase. There could well be a surprise among their rivals too though. None of Luke du Toit, Slater Smith, Aston Verheul, or Caleb Rogers have to drop any points after missing rounds, while de Wet and Steyn will have to drop three lots of podium points. Drivers must drop their three worst points scores at the end of the season, an anomaly that often makes for surprises in the final title tallies.

That said, all seven 2023 South African Rotax Max karting champions will be crowned at Zwartkops, come the end of August. Four more races follow at Zwartkops’ National Final in August. The six South African champions excluding the Bambino champion will join October’s African Open winners in the National team to represent South Africa at the Rotax Max ‘Olympics of Karting’ in Bahrain in December.

Issued on behalf of Rotax Max Challenge

Photography by: Action in Motion

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