The 2020 Rotax Max Challenge karting season is about to get serious when this year’s Western Cape Karting Championship blasts into action at the Killarney Kart Track Saturday 15 February. The Rotax Max season already commenced with a well supported and most entertaining KZN regional at iDube last weekend, but the Cape gang is all set to light that blue touch paper next in the chase through the regional and national season for a seat in the SA team in the Olympics of Karting, the Rotax Max Grand Finals in Bahrain in November.
Max Challenge sees drivers competing in a series of races to crown regional champions in the major centres around the country, but the four rounds of the SA Nationals, plus a contribution from each driver’s regional tally, will once again crown this year’s South African champions, who also earn Grand Final seats. So the action will be huge from the get go on Saturday as everyone starts in their pursuit of this year’s regional, national and who knows, maybe even an international crown too, off a clean slate.
The fastest Rotax Max karts race in the DD2 gearbox class, where WP champion Dino Stermin will be out to make a flying start. He will have old rivals Jason Coetzee, Sebastian Boyd and Jonathan Thomas to deal with as usual, as well as perhaps Senior champion Charl Visser, while Masters champion is always a factor overall too. DD2 Masters caters for drivers of over 30 years of age and Hughes will have Steven Beaumont, and Jared Jordan among his pursuers there.
Cape Town’s South African Senior Max champion Charl Visser has an old rival back on his turf as the busy Jason Coetzee returns to the class, but do not discount Kai van Zijl, Storm Lanfear, Reece Oellermann or Simon Simpson-Heath. Karting madalas Andrew Thomas and brothers Jared and Michael Jordan will be there and fighting hard as always too and while Cape Town does not run the 180kg Master Max class, those bigger and older lads will likely race there in the nationals.
The testosterone-charged high school Junior Max class should see the usual spat between the usual suspects as reigning champion Troy Dolinschek will have Kyle Visser,Tate Bishop, Storm Lanfear, Kyle and Andre le Riche and Tyler Robinson all over him once again this year. The primary school classes will see some rule changes that will for instance see the class now running at a similar pace to the international under-13 class.
Catering for kids from 9 to 13 years of age, Mini Max sees regular runners, WP champion Ethan Stier, Jason MacBeath, Paul Malcolm, Mischa Williams and Valentino Hoffman return, but they will have the quick and determined WP Micro Max champion Reza Levy to contend with too. Both the Mini and Micro Max field will be testing up a storm at Killarney as they hone the latest free Rotax Max upgrade comprising exhausts and other bits in preparation for the new season starting this weekend.
Micro Max is another class that will see the order reshuffle as a few Bambino babies move up to the class that caters for kids between 7 to 11 years old. Watch out for the regular crowd of Reese Koorzen, Eric Norman, Sabelo Ntuli, Yusuf Parker, Jude Stewart and Rhoderick Simpson among the existing drivers who must now also contend with Bambino graduates Jordon Wadeley and Keagan Beaumont and newcomer Dale Hobbs.
Perhaps the most heartening aspect of next weekend’s early entry list is the state of health of the kindergarden of karting with a most encouraging entry for the baby Bambino class. Kai van Rensburg, Aiden Beaumont, Rebecca Wadeley, Matthew Smit and Zach McAuley were all rookies last year, but they now arrive with a year of racing experience under the belt in spite of them barely being of school going age. They will be joined by several karting newcomers on Saturday, including Sebastiano Human, Siyabonga Ntuli and Michael Danks.
As noted, the Rotax Max season already kicked off with the first KZN round last week, where Master driver Jonathan Pieterse upset the DD2 applecart by leading Sharad Bantho, Devon Mackie and Robert Whiting home overall while also dealing with Eric Marzoppi and Alistair Mingay in Masters. Brent Walden meanwhile put one over Shrien Naidoo and Riley Horner in Senior Max, while Richard van Heerde took Master Max honours from Dean Rice and Shane Foley.
2019 SA Mini Max champion Troy Snyman meanwhile sounded a significant Junior Max warning with a dominant maiden win over class regulars Dhivyen Naidoo and Juandre Nel, while Travis Mingay took Micro Max honours from Uzair Khan and Troy Ribeiro and brothers Mattao and put Busani Sithole in a Mason Bambino sandwich.
Getting back to the coming weekend’s Cape Rotax Max pipe opener, Killarney’s kart races are always spectacular and really worth the visit. The Killarney Kart Track is on the infield of the main circuit with good food and refreshments available, informative commentary; a cool atmosphere in the pits and great racing on track – sounds like a perfect alternative for a fine summer’s Saturday out.