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The Zwartkops Kart Raceway witnessed a significant surge in activity during the past weekend, as a record-breaking number of entries were registered for the Northern Regions Rotax Kart Championship’s opening round. While several out-of-province and international visitors attended, most competitors hailed from Gauteng, indicating their ardent desire to earn points that could contribute to their national campaigns.

The championship is a critical competition for aspiring karting champions to showcase their talents and compete with their peers at a regional and national level. The championship has become increasingly crucial and popular over time, as evidenced by the record number of entries. It is a promising sign for the future of the sport in the region and the country.


Nicolaos Vostanis emerged as the unexpected winner in the highly competitive two-speed gearbox category, beating out some more favoured competition. Combining a win with two second-place finishes, Vostanis secured the overall victory and recorded the fastest lap time of the day. Despite his impressive performance, he faced stiff competition from Bradley Liebenberg, a karting champion with numerous accolades. Despite winning two races, Liebenberg was forced to retire from the opening heat, potentially costing him the day’s victory. Former Toyota Gazoo Racing Junior Academy (TGRJA) driver Olerato Sekudu, who competed in Senior MAX last season, also impressed with a solid performance and rounded out the top three.

Senior MAX

In an unanticipated turn of events, Kent Swartz, the reigning national Junior MAX Champion, claimed the overall victory over the weekend. Despite not winning any of the three heats, he recorded two runner-up finishes. He secured the overall win by performing exceedingly well in the final heat, which saw the class rookie recover from 11th to cross the line in fourth. Meanwhile, Kian Spies, who did not have a promising start to his day, also demonstrated great determination and progress, ultimately securing a praiseworthy second position in the day’s overall standings. Mohammad Wally, widely tipped as the favourite going into the round, finished tied for third overall with an improving and skillful Ethan Bostander. Wally (Heat 1) and Bostander (Heat 3) were the only race winners in the top four, with Heat 2 winner and rookie Jonno Wilson finishing seventh overall after retiring from the final heat.

Junior MAX

In one of the more closely contested classes of the day, pole-sitter Kegan Martin walked away victorious despite winning only one of the three race heats. Luke Hill made an impressive return to Rotax karting after several years of competing in the ROK Cup and announced his intentions with a double-heat win. A low-scoring final heat, however, saw him finish third on the day and miss out on the overall win. Showing why female drivers are equally adept at competing in motorsport, Georgia Lenearts put in a determined performance to tie for the day’s top honours. However, having not won any heats, she missed the podium’s top step on a countback. Lenaerts was also one of three female competitors in the class.

Mini MAX

In the only class that saw a dominant performance, Brodi Cooper Dowling made it a clean sweep on Saturday, setting the fastest lap in qualifying before winning all three race heats. Instead, it came down to a tussle for the remaining podium places between Ronaldo Koen, Durelle Goodman, Tshepang Shisinwana and Rafael De Sousa. Koen, who recorded the weekend’s quickest lap, claimed a brace of runner-up finishes and a third to finish second overall, while a double podium finish secured a solid third for Goodman.

Micro MAX

Following the morning’s qualifying, the Micro MAX class was set up for a four-way contest between Matthew Shuttleworth, Luhan De Wet, Adriaan Steyn and Luke Du Toit. In his third Micro MAX season, Shuttleworth led out the three rookies for the opening heat. Taking a lights-to-flag victory ahead of De Wet, the second heat saw the results reversed, with De Wet triumphing over Shuttleworth. The final heat was poised for an exciting showdown between the two quickest drivers. An opening lap incident, however, eliminated De Wet from the race, and Shuttleworth took a comfortable win over Steyn and Du Toit.


Matthew’s younger sibling, Sebastien Shuttleworth, stole the Bambino show on Saturday with a win and two runner-up finishes. Shuttleworth was made to work hard for the prize and was part of a trio of almost inseparable drivers over the three heats. The three-way battle saw the closest racing on the day, with each driver claiming a win. Cape Town’s Radhi Harris drew first blood with an opening heat win, while Alonzo De Oliveira took the final heat victory. De Oliveira finished second ahead of Harris in the overall standings.

While Round 2 of the regional championship will recommence on 20 April, the Western Cape’s Killarney International Raceway plays host to the opening round of the South African Rotax Max Challenge and the African Open. The African Open will be the first opportunity for drivers to obtain a ticket to the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, hosted at the Circuito Internazionale di Napoli in Sarno, Italy, from 19-26 October 2024.

Published by: Motorsport Fanatix

Picture Caption: Brodi Cooper Dowling dominated the Mini MAX competition.

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