Rotax Max Nationals Karting heads to the BayPort Elizabeth’s Celso Scribante Kart Circuit will play host to the second round of the South African National Rotax Max Challenge 20-21 April, when the country’s top kart racers descend on Nelson Mandela Bay to fight it out over the Easter weekend.
All eyes will be on PE racing superstar Michael Stephen, who leads both DD2 Masters and Max 175 into his home race, while Cape lads, Dino Stermin leads the DD2 race, Simon-Simpson Heath Senior Max, Joseph Oelz Junior Max and Reza Levy the Micro Max title races and KZN kid Troy Snyman and Jozi lad Tshepang Shisinwana head the respective Mini Max and Bambino chases.
Michael Stephen is no doubt the man to beat in over-32 DD2 Masters, which races on its own for the first time this season but he was made to work by the likes Jonathan Pieterse and Conor Hughes last time out. Expect the likes of Brett Brito, Ernst Viljoen, Marco Viegas, Alistair Mingay and Andre Steenkamp to be among the throng in close pursuit.
Michael Stephen will also be keen to add another new Rotax Max 175 and DD2 Masters double to his portfolio after pulling that feat off in the Cape last time, but 175 stars Jonathan Pieterse and Nicholas Verheul will be delighted to decline him that honour, with Erwin Sterne, Jared Jordan and Geoff Stephen in close attendance too.
Do not take Dino Stermin’s DD2 title lead at face value — he enjoyed a great race last time to lead the title race from Benjamin Habig, Jonathan Thomas, Sebastian Boyd, Dominic Lincoln, Brandon Smith and Jason Coetzee to the Bay. But the likes of former international F3 racer Roman de Beer and multiple DD2 champion Brad Liebenberg had tough weekends last time out, so light that blue touch paper and take five steps back while this lot get at it!
Senior Max is proving just as dramatic so far this season, with three local winners in three races last time out as Simon Simpson-Heath, Charl Visser and Andrew Rackstraw Kai van Zijl shared out the wins and they are set to continue their tight Senior championship tussle with Kai van Zijl, Storm Lanfear at the Bay.
Add veteran Luca Canderle, champion Wayland Wyman, Reece Oellerman and Connor Donovan among other notable hunters in the pack.
The schoolboy classes also guarantee fireworks, with under-15 Junior Max delivering three different winners in three races last time out, but it’s Joseph Oelz who was the most consistent to lead Jozi lead Aqil Alibhai and Tate Bishop to PE ahead of Ethan Coetzee, Cape final heat winner Troy Dolinschek and Storm Lanfear. Ignore Kwanda Mokoena, Kyle Visser, Jordan Brooks, and Tristan Galp at your own peril, while Ndumiso Bungane and Lorenzo Cianfanelli are also Junior factors.
The under-13 Mini Max target is on the thus far dominant Troy Snyman’s back this weekend, with Micro champion Muhammed Wally, Jason MacBeath, Matthew Morrell and Ethan Stier all taking aim. Bjorn Bertholdt, Taya van der Laan, Giullo Cianfanelli, Ghazi Motlekar, Mischa Williams and Mandla Mlangeni add to the mix — let the fun begin!
Reza Levy is another kid all his rivals want to beat in under-11 Micro Max with a pole position and three race wins last time out, but Reese Koorzen, Mohammed Moerat and Luviwe Sambudla will clearly be out for Micro revenge. Dhivyen Naidoo Wian Boshoff, Erich Heystek, Ethan Deacon, Kyle Beukes and Caleb Cotterell also are all ready to throw a spanner in that works too.
Last but not least, are the under-8 Bambinos who race in a national championship for the first time this year. Tshepang Shisinwana beat Rayan Karriem, Luan Mostert and Caleb Odendaal to opening round honours, while pundits will recognise a good few names racing among the babies, with the likes of Wadeley, Moore, Verheul and Moss popping up among them.