Patience. A skill that we’ve all had to practice over the past few months. The wind whistled through an empty track throughout winter; a forlorn setting that reflected the broader mood of a country in crisis.
Finally, the sun seems to have risen. We are officially in spring, but more importantly we are at a stage where lockdown is coming to an end. Under strict protocols and conditions, the Killarney faithful are being allowed to return to the track they love.
Spectators will not be allowed to attend this race. It’s a great pity, but it’s a necessary evil to protect everyone at this stage. Covid-19 isn’t over yet. Nonetheless, the families of the drivers will be anxiously watching their timing apps to keep an eye on things.
We are in September, but this is only Round 3 of the WPMC Karting Championship. It’s been an outrageously weird year and this will be a strange event without spectators, but the scream of 2-strokes will echo across Killarney once more.
In a week of totally unpredictable weather, what will it do on Saturday?
Bambino (5th – 9th birthday)
Kai van Rensburg (7Films Top Kart) emerges from lockdown with a handy 9-point lead in the Championship ahead of Aiden Beaumont (Top Kart). John Norman (Body Elite Top Kart) is just 4 points behind Beaumont, so there is much to play for at this early stage in the Championship.
The mid-pack features Sebastiano Human (Top Kart), Siyabonga Ntuli (Top Kart), Liam Wharton (Vishay Interiors Top Kart), Rebecca Wadeley (Top Kart), Zach McAuley, Riley Stier (Top Kart) and Michael Danks (Top Kart).
There will be exciting battles throughout the field, but the most important question is: can anyone close the gap to van Rensburg on raw pace?
ROTAX Micro MAX (7th – 12th birthday)
Micro MAX offers arguably the most exciting battle at the front of any class, as Reese Koorzen (Zenkor Engineering Kosmic) fends off the rabid wolves of Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic), Jordon Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG) and Keagan Beaumont (Strive Praga).
Koorzen carries a 6-point lead going into this race. He will need to be on top form to extend that lead.
The excitement further down the field will be provided by Dale Hobbs, Eric Norman (Body Elite Praga) and Sabelo Ntuli (Gingerroot Kosmic). Bambino star Kai van Rensburg (7Films CRG) also joins the fray and we cannot wait to see how he does in this older class.
Mini ROK (8th – 13th birthday)
Just three points separate Joaquin de Oliveira and Ethan Lennon (FTW Tony Kart) at the top of the standings, but de Oliveira is notably absent from the entry list.
Rayan Karriem (RK Racing / Outsourcing Solutions Tony Kart) will hope to mount the closest challenge to Lennon, although Ethan Deacon (CRG) is another driver that should never be counted out of any fight.
The pack is rounded out by Liam Crowe, William Marshall (Kosmic), Nicholas Louw and Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) who has impressed in sim racing over the lockdown period.
Mini MAX (9th – 14th birthday)
Reza Levy (CRG) is tied for points at the top of the table, but his biggest rival Jason MacBeath is sadly absent from the entry list. Before he relaxes, Levy should take note of the likes of Ethan Deacon (Tony Kart) on the entry list, a driver who developed immensely before lockdown.
Joaquin de Oliveira (Parolin) pops up in this class where he will hope to carry his Rok success into this Rotax class. Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic) and Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) will be worthy adversaries.
Junior MAX (12th – 16th birthday)
Kyle Visser (Charl Engineering Tony Kart) is currently P2 in the Championship but is the highest placed of those we see on the entry list. If he had mirrors, he would need to watch them closely for Ethan Stier’s (OTK) nosecone, as the talented driver moves up to Junior MAX.
The Le Riche brothers Andre (Seleka Racing Kosmic) and Kyle (Seleka Racing Kosmic) will also be keen to impress in this race and we look forward to seeing how they run against Visser and Stier.
Reza Levy (CRG) will also be on a mission to find pace as he moves up the karting ranks. It will be interesting to see whether a few months of lockdown will shake up where he finds himself on the Junior MAX timesheets.
Matthew Wadeley (EMR Kartsport Zanardi) rounds out this extremely competitive class.
Senior MAX (14th birthday +)
There are four names on the entry list. Every single one is a massively talented driver. You will not find a stronger group of drivers anywhere.
Jason Coetzee (EMR Kartsport CRG) is the recognised superstar of Senior MAX. His track record (literally) speaks for itself. He leads the Championship and will look to take the win this weekend, especially if the conditions are slightly wet. He certainly proved himself in similar conditions in GTI Challenge last weekend.
However, he has an immense fight on his hands. Tate Bishop (ANGRi Jeep Kosmic) is one of the best young talents in the country and will be snapping at Coetzee’s heels. Charl Visser (Charl Engineering Tony Kart) sits P3 in the Championship but is just as quick as the others and has won more races than anyone can count.
Andrew Rackstraw (CRG) gave a driving masterclass in his Formula VW last weekend, lapping all but the front three cars in the first Formula Libre race. He has multiple years of experience in karting and will be a force to be reckoned with.
Literally any of these drivers could win on Saturday.
DD2 (15th birthday +) and DD2 Masters (32nd birthday + / 85kgs driver)
The quickest and noisiest class is light on DD2 entries at this stage, with the older drivers in DD2 Masters currently carrying the flag.
If the entry list stays as-is, Jason Coetzee (CRG) will have practically no challenge in romping to victory in DD2. Michael Jordan (CRG) is also in the DD2 class but he will likely be mixing it up with the Masters on track. Some of the Masters will also score in the DD2 class just to make things more confusing, but let’s rather discuss Masters based on that specific Championship.
Jason Greyling (Nigma Media CRG) is showing incredible pace this year and is leading the Masters championship. His closest rivals Roy Gruer (Tony hKart) and Conor Hughes (Natasha Hughes Tony Kart) will provide incredible entertainment at the front of the pack.
None of the front three can rest on their laurels, with the likes of Jared Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG), Andrew Thomas (Carbs and Coffee Media / Blake Brothers CRG), Steve Beaumont and Rob Peche (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) all hoping for a strong start to the latter part of the season.
Only the pit crews will get to watch the action out there, but we are at least taking a step towards normality.
We cannot wait for the smell of 2-stroke to fill the air once more.
Photo credit: David Marchio (www.davidmarchio.co.za)
Issued on behalf of Western Province Motor Club (WPMC)