Several drivers are on a quest to become this year’s South African champions and to represent the country at the “Olympics of Karting” world championship Rotax Max Grand Finals at Portimao in Portugal in November.
Pole man and race 1 winner, local hero Sebastian Boyd took overall honours in an epic day of premier DD2 gearbox class action. Home in second place in race 1, fellow Cape driver Joseph Oelz was excluded on a technical infringement, but fought from the back to take a scintillating race 2 win before blitzing the final. Jozi brothers Jamie and Brandon Smith completed the podium ahead of Kyle Visser, Kian Grottis, Divan Braak, Rafe Tayler, Nico Spanoyannis and Oelz.
Upcountry drivers Eugene Brittz and pole man Nicholas Verheul shared out the wins to top the DD2 Masters podium from impressive local Conor Hughes and KZN lad Jonathan Pieterse. Brittz overcame Hughes to take the first win after Pieterse and Verheul tangled, costing Pieterse a 10-second penalty. Verheul then dominated race 2 before Brittz struck back in the final. Jared Jordan ended fifth overall from Marco Viegas, Andrew Thomas and Alistair Mingay.
Senior Max is a who’s who of SA racing. Polo Cup racer Charl Visser sped to an easy race 1 win and came from third to take race 2. He took a 10-second penalty from second in the final to hand Polo Cup rival Tate Bishop the win and the day. Visser made it a Cape 1-2 from Moosa Kajee, the impressive Matthew Wadeley and GTC driver Andrew Rackstraw, who rose from last to fourth in a high class field in race 1 Troy Snyman, a solid Ethan Stier and Karabo Malemela.
Jozi lad KC Ensor-Smith topped a six-way fight to win u/15 Junior Max race 1. He went from eighth to win race 2 before storming to the final win and taking the day from consistent duo Nicolas Vostanis and Dhivyen Naidoo. Local lad Reese Koorzen impressed with two close seconds, but took a 10th place race 2 penalty to end up fourth from Wian Boshoff, Jayden Goosen, Reza Levy and Joshua Smit. Those results were jumbled by many a nose cone penalty incurred in the fraught action.
The Beaumont brothers used their home advantage to make the primary school classes their own. Older brother Keagan fought Border kid Caleb Odendaal and feisty KZN lad Travis Mingay off to win the opening under 13 Mini Max races. He dominated the final to take the day as Caleb beat Travis to third from Jordon Wadeley, Kent Zwarts, Matthew Chiwara, Kegan Martin and Amani Kinyua. That entire splendid 19-kart grid lapped Killarney within one second.
Kid brother Aiden Beaumont won under-11 Micro Max. He took the race 1 flag first, but suffered a 10-second penalty to end up fifth. He struck back to take the second and third wins and the day from Rafael Da Silva, race 1 winner Tayln Patel, Michael Danks, Johan Nolte, Emma Dowling, Cristian Verheul and Matthew Roach. That fraught field closed up through the day as visiting drivers came to grips with the Killarney track.
Pretoria kid Noah Cronje’s racing pedigree shone through as he took pole, set a new 56.8-second track record and led every lap to win the baby Bambinos. Half a second covered Noah, Brodi Dowling, Liam Wharton and Renaldo Koen in race 1. Noah escaped the bunch in races 2 and 3 to leave Renaldo best of the rest in a fraught spat with Michael O’Mahoney, Zac Boshoff, Zach Mcauley and Brodi. He hit trouble in race 2, but bounced back to end seventh from Adriaan Steyn.
All in all, the 2022 South African National Rotax Max Challenge season opener proved a truly spectacular day of karting with record grids and great racing to satisfy unexpectedly strong spectator interest in a most entertaining and hugely successful day of racing.
Round 2 of the 2022 South African National Rotax Max Challenge is at Formula K in Benoni on 26 June. Before then, however, Max karters will be kept on their toes with a couple of rounds of each of the respective Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal regional championships.
Photos: Motorsport Fanatix