A massive entry is expected for Round One of the 2018 Rotax South African Karting championship at iDube Raceway, just outside Pietermaritzburg, on Saturday, March 31.Just two weeks prior to the first National of the year, a Regional event at iDube provided a thrilling preview of what can be expected at the famed “hillside circuit” that brings the best out of drivers and chassis tuners on the Rotax traveling motorsport spectacular.

Jason Coetzee

A number of Gauteng and Western Province drivers made the trip to iDube to get in valuable track-time at this track with steep power-testing gradients and super-quick down-hill sections. The presence of these top drivers turned the regional championship event into what has been dubbed a “mini national.”

That’s the level of competitiveness that has made the Rotax not only the top karting series in South Africa, but also the most competitive motorsport series of all in this country!

Morgado back with a vengeance!

The big news is that multiple World Rotax karting champion from Durban, Cristiano Morgado, is making a comeback to karting this season after a break of a few seasons. And Cristiano showed at the Idube Regional just why he is rated so highly, as he ended up winning all three races not only in the top DD2 class, but also in the Senior Max class!

KZN drivers are likely to be very strong in many of the classes on their home track. In the DD2 class, so far in 2018, Benjamin Habig, Jonathan Pieterse, Cristiano Morgado, and Daniel Duminy have all shown great form in the regional events leading up to the start of this year’s National series.

But ultra-competitive drivers from Cape Town and Gauteng will see a real dogfight in the fastest National Championship karting class, where the entry is expected to reach as many as 30 karts! Reigning champion Bradley Liebenberg from Lonehill will have his work cut out to defend his title from not only the likes of Pretoria’s Eugene Brittz and Cape Town’s Luke Herring, who has moved up to DD2 this year after clinching the 2017 Senior Max championship but top GTC drivers Simon Moss and Michael Stephen will add fuel to the fire. Also strong will be Jurie Swart, Jason Coetzee, and Sebastian Boyd, all Cape Town-based competitors. Robert Whiting also showed at the recent regional that he is very quick in KZN, as did Jonathan Pieterse!

Lady drivers Ivana Cetenich and Fabienne Lanz also have fond memories of this track, as last year they finished one of the National races in first and second positions! And an interesting newcomer to the series is Simon Moss, better known for his exploits on the main circuit with his Audi GTC racer, and also in single-seater VW Cup racers.

In Senior Max, Dominic Lincoln from KZN has been looking very feisty in 2018, and it is likely that he will be up against it from the likes of Cape driver Jason Coetzee. Gauteng’s Wayland Wyman, Ian Allnutt and Carlo Olivier have been getting feisty in 2018. DD2 Masters drivers Jono Pieterse and Nicholas Verheul will be joining the fray along with Cristiano Morgado. And another local driver is Shrien Naidoo.

The Junior Max field is another class that will be ultra-strong in 2018, as many excellent drivers have graduated to this class for 12-15-year-olds. Front-runners from the Cape will include Charl Visser, Troy Dolinschek, Jospeh Oelz and last year’s Maxterino champion Tate Bishop, while Gauteng aces Jayden Els, Aqil Alibhai, Kwanda Mokoena and Leyton Fourie (the 2017 Mini Max champion) are all potential winners.

But the recent regional also showed Cape Town’s Simon Simpson-Heath to be handy in KZN, along with Ethan Coetzee, and Jayden Els. Other drivers to keep an eye on are Tiffany Napier and Nathi Msimanga.

The Mini Max class for drivers aged 9-13 is expected to be tough, with Cape drivers Mikhail Fernandez, Kyle Visser and Joaquin de Oliveira in the mix with Gauteng’s Josh Le Roux, Jordan Brooks, Reece Fuller and Mandla Mlangeni. At the recent iDube Regional, Jordan Brooks won all three heats from Troy Snyman, Liam de Beer and Mandla Mlangeni.

The hugely popular Micro Max class for 7-11-year-olds may exceed 30 entries at this event. 2017 SA champ Muhammed Wally from Gauteng has once again shown excellent form this season, hounded by the likes of Joshua De Paiva and KZN driver Troy Snyman.

In fact, Troy Snyman beat Wally at the recent KZN Regional, while Reese Koorzen from Cape Town also won one of the three races. Expect to see Koorzen, Reza Levy and Joshua Smit from the Western Cape up there at the sharp end of the grid. Local aces in this class at iDube include Uzair Khan and Dhivyen Naidoo.