The final round of the 2023 South African Rotax MAX Challenge season will take place at Zwartkops Kart Raceway in Gauteng this weekend. The Toyota Gazoo Racing Junior Academy (TGRJA) has had a successful season, with almost all their drivers in a position to finish in the top three of their respective championships. Two drivers, KC Ensor-Smith (Senior MAX) and Kent Swartz (Junior MAX), lead their championships as they head into the final national round of competition.
The TGRJA has been dedicated to developing its young drivers to become world-class competitors this season. The academy’s approach is not just about winning races but also about nurturing and honing the skills of their drivers to challenge for national titles. The TGRJA has an intensive training program focusing on all racing aspects. The engineers work closely with the drivers to analyze and improve their performances with each race. With the academy’s support, their drivers have shown tremendous growth and have been able to compete at the highest level.
Emma-Rose Dowling joined Reagile “Spice” Mailula in Mini MAX this season and has endured a challenging debut. After claiming a maiden podium in the opening round, she has been a regular top-six contender in a class that is arguably one of the fiercest junior categories in the country. Teammate Mailula, no stranger to the winner’s circle, has also battled inconsistency after he claimed the opening round spoils. Both drivers are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively and have a slender chance of ending the season in the top three, with Dowling likely ending hers as the top-placed rookie.
Kent Swartz is one of two academy drivers challenging for a national title this season. Swartz has been in good form and is currently ranked first in the Junior MAX class, which has already seen five different winners this season. Swartz heads up the statistic for most wins with three and takes a narrow lead of 4.83 points into the final round.
Senior MAX rookie KC Ensor-Smith is also in contention for national honours. Ensor-Smith is the current Junior MAX champion and the only TGRJA national champion since the academy’s inception. Leading the class by a mere 3.33 points, he has recorded four victories, one more than any other competitor. Stablemate Oleratu Sekudu is further down the championship standings in sixth and, following a solid weekend, could finish in the top-five.
In the premier DD2 class, teenager Kian Grottis finds himself in the unfortunate position of fighting for third in the championship this weekend after a disqualification at the scales during Round 2 marred any chance of challenging for the title. Only 2.16 points behind the third-placed competitor, Grottis’ strong form at Zwartkops should see him in contention for the overall round victory.
Thursday and Friday will see official practice, with a Qualifying Session on Friday afternoon. Saturday will see the business end of the weekend and four race heats. While entry to the circuit is free, you can still catch the action live on YouTube by tapping the link below.
Published by: Motorsport Fanatix
Picture Caption: KC Ensor-Smith
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