Nationals feel so different to Regionals, although the basic ingredients are the same: a group of passionate motorsport enthusiasts meet up at a short circuit somewhere in South Africa and do battle, chasing the dream of taking the checkered flag.
For some, the dream is simply to score P5 overall for the day and go home without a damaged kart. These are the club racers that keep the sport alive and carry its soul.
At the sharp end, professional racing teams put their best gladiators forward to fight wheel-to-wheel for lap after lap. The smallest setup change can be the difference between a ticket to the Rotax MAX Grand Final or a come-back-next-year second place trophy.
The magic of a National race is that all of this is happening on the track at the same time. Club drivers battle it out alongside National stars, bringing an eclectic and entertaining mix of racing to our beloved circuit.
Top drivers from other provinces will make their way to Cape Town this week to take the fight to the deep talent pool that is WPMC Karting. Local club racers will see how close they can get to the visitors, while our top local drivers will show many of the visitors how to get around Killarney.
There are only three classes where the Championship is all but wrapped up going into this final race. In the other four, there’s all to play for.
This National is unique. It doubles up as a National and Regional event, as we try desperately to squash a full year’s racing into just a few months. Many of the local drivers are competing in both Championships, although those with only a Regional entry will pack it up after 3 heats while those with a National entry will contest a final, exhausting 4th heat.
With 78 entries for the event, the entry list is impressive when one considers the economic backdrop of 2020.
Bambino (5th – 9th birthday)
The grassroots class in karting boasts 18 entries for this weekend which is hugely exciting. The youngest racers at the track take their sport extremely seriously and entertain the crowds every time with a healthy dose of general cuteness.
There are athletes in professional sport who could learn a thing or two from these kids. A perfect example was the unfortunate collision between Aiden Beaumont and Kai van Rensburg at the last regional when Aiden immediately stopped his kart and rushed over to help his friend and rival. That’s what karting should be about and we are so proud of these young Capetonians.
At National level, Mattao Mason and Caleb Moss are tied at the top of the Championship.
Out-of-towners Manelisi Nkomo, Jack Moore (who got some practice in by attending the last Regional and did incredibly well) and MJ Thekiso are within striking distance if the race goes their way, but so are top local talents Aiden Beaumont and Kai van Rensburg (7Films).
Look out for a wonderful mid-pack fight as visitors Rafael da Silva, Maddox Mason, Cristian Verheul and Santiago Frade square off against local racers Sebastiano Human, Siyabonga Ntuli, Liam Wharton (Vishay Interiors), Michael Danks, Zach McAuley, Rebecca Wadeley and John Norman.
ROTAX Micro MAX (7th – 12th birthday)
There’s another fast Caleb coming to town, this time in the form of Caleb Odendaal (Parolin). Odendaal contested the last regional and took the overall win on the day, so he will be confident of a result this weekend
Odendaal leads local favourite Reese Koorzen (Zenkor Engineering) by 6 points in the National Championship. With discards likely to come into play, this one will go down to the wire. Koorzen has homeground advantage despite Odendaal’s recent run of form, so the battle at the front should be thrilling.
Reagile Mailula is nicely placed in P3, but cannot rest on his laurels as he has a ferocious pack of karters behind him in the standings who could upset his year. Mohammed Moerat, Keagan Beaumont (Strive Praga) and Travis Mingay all have a few heats they could happily drop if they have a consistently good race this weekend.
From a pure pace perspective and critically for the Regional Championship, Jordan Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG) and Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic) will be right there at the front, delivering incredible racing.
Other locals on double duty include Dale Hobbs (BirelART), Kai van Rensburg (7Films CRG), Sabelo Ntuli (Gingerroot Kosmic) and Eric Norman (Body Elite Praga). They will welcome Eastern Cape visitors Josh Moore and Lincoln Randall to their hometrack.
A grid of 14 Micro MAX karts is going to be an absolute treat. This class usually dishes up the most overtaking action with tight racing and a huge grid, so hold on to your seats!
Rotax Mini MAX (9th – 14th birthday)
Ghazi Motlekar has almost wrapped up this title. Bar any disqualifications this weekend, he will claim the Rotax Mini MAX National title.
It’s a title fight dominated by Northern Regions competitors, as Erich Heystek travels to Cape Town to try and take P3 in the Championship. Cape Town is proudly represented by Reza Levy (EMR Kartsport CRG) and Ethan Deacon as the top placed locals in the National Championship who will keep Heystek honest while fighting their own Regional battle.
In terms of pure pace, watch out for Joaquin de Oliveira (Parolin) who makes a welcome return to the National entry list. He’s won five of the last six Regional heats and will give the Northern boys a proper scare this weekend. We wouldn’t bet on any of them beating him at his home track.
This potent class also includes Troy Snyman, Georgia Lenaerts, Ntiyiso Mabunda, Mahlori Mabunda, Jayden Goosen, Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic), Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) and Liam Crowe.
Junior MAX (12th – 16th birthday)
Like Motlekar in Mini MAX, Muhammad Wally just needs to circulate without disqualification and he will take this title. The fight for P2 is a far juicier proposition, as Dhivyen Naidoo battles with local boy Ethan Stier (OTK) for that spot. Both these drivers have been incredibly impressive in their rookie Junior MAX campaigns. A troubled season thus far for Troy Snyman will see him having a point to prove as he mixes it up at the sharp end.
Stier will also take advantage of Kyle Visser’s absence from the entry list from a Regional Championship perspective.
The battle for the National Championship may be over, but the win this weekend is by no means a dead rubber. Troy Dolinschek returns to the track and will probably show everyone else exactly how to drive around Killarney. Watch out for a mammoth fight at the front.
KZN lad Juandre Nel will offer up an entertaining fight in the midpack, likely tussling on track with Andre Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) and Kyle Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic). Kyle got the better of Andre for the first time at the last Regional, so a sibling rivalry alongside the out-of-towners should be fun to watch.
The class is rounded out by Matthew Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG), Kian Grottis and Olerato Sekudu.
Senior MAX (14th birthday +)
Senior MAX, the fastest chain-driven class, offers one of the most epic title fights on the day. Cape Town is a hotbed of talent in this class, with three drivers currently in the top four National standings.
There’s almost nothing in it between Tate Bishop (ANGRi Jeep Kosmic) and Charl Visser (Charl Engineering Tony Kart) at the top of the table. KZN racer Dane van Heerde finds himself in a WPMC sandwich, sitting in P3 in the standings ahead of local star Jason Coetzee (Kosmic).
There are many permutations of how this title might play out, but Bishop is clearly the form man after smashing the Killarney lap record for Senior MAX at the last regional.
Don’t count out Shrien Naidoo from the sharp end either. He had a great run at iDube in the first National but a less successful outing at Zwartkops. With drops coming into play, he could be a contender for an overall podium if this race goes his way.
Focusing on main circuit racing at national level this year, talented Capetonian F1600 racer Andrew Rackstraw (CRG) will be keen to lock horns with his karting contemporaries. Other Capetonians who are entirely capable of causing raised eyebrows are Storm Lanfear (Private Client Financial Kosmic) and Kai van Zijl (Unlimited Auto ANGRi Kosmic).
We welcome Daniela Marzoppi from KZN to this ferocious grid.
DD2 (15th birthday +) and DD2 Masters (32nd birthday + / 85kgs driver)
There’s another wonderful battle underway in DD2. Sebastian Boyd (Boyd Boss Freight BirelART) has had his best National Championship campaign since his Junior MAX title some years back. Boyd dominated at Zwartkops and will want to secure the Championship at his home race.
KZN’s Robert Whiting is right in there with a chance at the title too, but he will need to dish up a great on-track fight against the locals. Capetonian Jason Coetzee has an outside shot at the title but will need a clean sweep of wins and a few other things to go his way as well.
Jurie “Umpie” Swart (Kosmic) will be out for a win on the day, even though he hasn’t competed Nationally this year. The Cape Town local took a clean sweep of wins at the last Regional race, his first competitive kart race in ages.
The DD2 class is rounded out by Morne Janse van Rensburg and Michael Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG).
DD2 Masters is a dead rubber from a National Championship perspective, as Nicholas Verheul has already wrapped it up with an exceptional run of 9 wins from 10 National heats. Verheul is the only out-of-towner attending the race and will be most welcomed by the Cape Town-based competitors.
The Regional Championship, however, remains extremely exciting.
Locals Conor Hughes (Natasha Hughes Tony Kart), Jason Greyling (Nigma Media CRG) and Roy Gruer (Tony Kart) will lead the local charge on track, as Hughes and Greylight fight for the Regional Championship and Gruer tries to recover his Regional season.
Andrew Thomas (Carbs and Coffee Media / Blake Brothers CRG) and Jared Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG) are usually next up on pace, with Rob Peche (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) keen to close a gap a few tenths back. Andre Steenkamp (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) makes a welcome return to the real thing, after focusing on sim racing for the past few weeks.
It’s another race at Killarney without spectators, but the atmosphere will be helped by the sheer number of competitors at the circuit and a full livestream of the action for good measure. You can catch the livestream on https://kart.co.za or on the Rotax South Africa Facebook and YouTube Channels.
We cannot wait to see how the various classes play out this weekend. There’s so much at stake and the passion for this sport will be clear for all to see.
Let’s go racing!
Photo credit: David Marchio (www.davidmarchio.co.za)
Issued on behalf of Western Province Motor Club (WPMC)