Another South African ready for international racing stardom

Many well-known and renowned motor racing champions started racing karts from a young age, but this one boasts a motocross background. Read more about Max Smart here.

Cape Town lad Max Smart, who made a name for himself as a motocross competitor, has overcome a number of challenges and now finds himself within the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile’s (FIA) Rally Star competition.

The FIA is the controlling body for all motorsport across the world.

“I have always been a motorsport enthusiast. The Rally Star competition ran for nearly a year with several phases,” said Smart. “Initially, entrants from all over Africa could compete from home online in eRallying, with each round eliminating some. This was then made tougher when Rally Star brought proper simulators to various venues around the continent. I managed to finish second overall for Africa, having made a small error on the final corner of the online special stage. Fortunately, I was invited back for a second round and, again, finished second after being too enthusiastic.

“When the competition moved to actual driving in the form of a slalom test at the Killarney Raceway in Cape Town, I was determined not to make any mistakes, but this meant I was not quite quick enough to win, and I thought my dream had evaporated.

“Then came the big surprise when they called me and said I had been given a Wild Card entry to go to the South Africa final,” he said.

This event comprised three days of exhausting mental, physical and driving skills testing using TN5 crosskart machines brought in by Rally Star; these single-seater ‘buggies’ powered by a motorcycle engine, which are hugely popular in Europe.

“On the first day, I took it calmly and let my racing experience from motocross guide me. I finished up fourth overall, but was confident I could still go out and win overall. On the second day, I placed second overall, and on the final day, with the contenders whittled down to 12, I drove well, and although I did not win outright, the one competitor quicker than me was penalised for hitting a cone, so I won the Africa Final,” Smart said.

He will now be part of the team that will compete in six full-scale rallies in Europe during the next few months – the first being the San Marino Rally on June 16, where they will drive 1.5-litre Ford Fiesta Rally 3 cars run by M-Sport Poland.

“This will happen after we all gathered in Sardinia for a 10-day training camp where we will have gravel road driving instruction, learn more about the engineering that goes into a rally car and how to do a rally recce run. I am absolutely thrilled to be representing South Africa and cannot wait to get started,” he said.

His navigator during this competition will be the well-known Irish navigator, Lorcan Moore.

The overall winner of the competition will walk away with a fully sponsored drive in the next Junior World Rally Championships Series.

Source: NRC

Related Articles

Back to top button