Very few people appreciate or understand the emotional experience of entering a race. It sounds crazy, but every person on that grid has a story of sacrifice and determination. It doesn’t matter where you are on the grid, there’s a family moving heaven and earth to make it happen.
This weekend saw the first hot and grippy race at Killarney in many months. Setup becomes particularly important in these conditions, pushing teams to the limit. Many chose to experiment this weekend in preparation for the all-important Rotax National at Killarney in two weeks’ time.
These were hardly conditions for lap records to tumble, but that didn’t stop in-form Senior MAX driver Tate Bishop from doing exactly that, setting a ridiculous 40.988s lap time in Race 1. Bambino driver Kai van Rensburg pushed himself to the limit in a competitive Bambino class, breaking the lap record with a 58.203s lap time.
These drivers are just two examples of the deep talent pool that calls Killarney home.
When the rest of the country comes to Killarney later this month, they will be entering a lion’s den in every single class.
Bambino (5th – 9th birthday)
Aiden Beaumont got off to a terrific start, posting a sub-58s pole time to put his kart in top spot for Race 1, more than a second faster than top local rival Kai van Rensburg (7Films Top Kart).
It was an eventful day for the youngsters, which happens when there are so many karts on track trying to wrestle for position. The racing at the front was particularly competitive as Eastern Cape Bambino Jack Moore put in an impressive performance throughout the day.
Beaumont drove away to victory by a significant margin in Race 1 while van Rensburg and Moore swapped places several times. Race 2 was a far tighter affair in which Beaumont once again emerged on top ahead of Moore and van Rensburg. The racing in that heat was so tight that van Rensburg managed to break the Killarney lap record with a 58.203s beast of a lap.
Unfortunately that was both the highlight and the end of van Rensburg’s day, as he was unable to start Race 3. Moore got the better of Beaumont in the final race, crossing the line just 0.042s ahead.
The mid-pack battle also delivered plenty of action, as Sebastiano Human (Top Kart), Siyabonga Ntuli (Top Kart), Liam Wharton (Vishay Interiors Top Kart), Michael Danks (Top Kart) and Zach McAuley fought it out while Rebecca Wadeley (Top Kart) improved throughout the day.
After van Rensburg’s misfortune, it was Ntuli who emerged victorious from the mid-pack scrap and took a brilliant P3 on the podium behind Beaumont and Moore respectively. Human and McAuley rounded out the top 6.
ROTAX Micro MAX (7th – 12th birthday)
This is perhaps the class that offers the most thrills, as a large field of karts fight for position and swap places practically every lap. There were a few nosecone penalties in every Micro MAX heat, giving further insight into just how tight it gets out there.
Reese Koorzen (Zenkor Engineering Kosmic) came into this race off a perfect points haul at the last meeting, but he had serious competition this weekend in the form of out-of-towner Caleb Odendaal (Parolin) and local driver Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic).
Jordon Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG), Keagan Beaumont (Strive Praga) and Dale Hobbs (BirelART) all run within just a few tenths of the front, making this an ultra competitive class.
Smit got the perfect start with pole in qualifying, just 0.004s faster than Koorzen. “Blink of an eye” is a lifetime compared to some of the gaps we see in karting.
Race 1 was an absolute knockout, as Koorzen twice fought his way back from P4 to P1. He suffered a nosecone penalty along the way, so he took the checkered flag but was classified P4 after the 5 second penalty was applied. It shows you how tight the class is that a 5 second penalty on your total time kicks you back three places.
Odendaal was therefore classified as the victor in Race 1 narrowly ahead of Smit and Wadeley.
Koorzen led almost all of Race 2 before Odendaal made a move in the dying stages to lead for a lap or so before Koorzen took the place back to win the race. Wadeley finished P3 and Smit P4 after he had to chase down and pass Keagan Beaumont.
Race 3 was a relatively tame affair as Koorzen took an unopposed win from Odendaal. Smit got the better of Wadeley to take P3, but not before Wadeley gave him a scare towards the end.
Odendaal won’t score in the Regional Championship, but he took victory for the day by just one point from Koorzen who will take heart from two wins on the day vs. Odendaal’s one. Nevertheless, the National is going to be a competitive race in this class.
Smit finished the day in P3 ahead of Wadeley, Joshua Moore (Ricciardo) and Beaumont. Sabelo Ntuli (Gingerroot Kosmic) finished P7, one point ahead of Kegan Martin (Bevan Williams FK) and two points ahead of Hobbs who had a rough day in the saddle.
Mini ROK (8th – 13th birthday)
Ethan Lennon (FTW Tony Kart) was the pole man as expected, two tenths faster than Ethan Deacon (Kosmic).
Lennon romped to victory on the day with three lights-to-flag finishes. Behind him, there was a proper fight for the podium positions.
Deacon, Rayan Karriem (RK Racing / Outsourcing Solutions Tony Kart) and William Marshall (Kosmic) put on a terrific show as they fought tooth and nail for best of the rest. Eventually Deacon came out on top and claimed P2 for the day ahead of Karriem and Marshall.
Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) had a tough day in the office as his pace slipped towards the end of the day, but he will work hard to make sure he’s back in the pack at the next race. He finished P5 ahead of Liam Crowe.
Mini MAX (9th – 14th birthday)
Joaquin de Oliveira is on fire in his Parolin, taking pole position by over two tenths from Ethan Deacon who should feel proud of his efforts to outqualify highly talented driver Reza Levy (EMR Kartsport CRG).
In Race 1, de Oliveira drove away to an easy win as Levy was caught up in tussles behind him. Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic) gave Levy a hard time in the initial stages before Levy got back past him and chased down Deacon to take P2 behind Oliveira.
Race 2 was somewhat more processional, as de Oliveira had too much pace for Levy and took the win by 2.8s. Smit took P3 in that race after passing Deacon around lap 9.
Race 3 was a perfect finish for de Oliveira with yet another lights-to-flag demonstration. Levy had to get past Smit in the opening stages and did so to take P2. Smit looked good for P3 but plucky young driver Deacon chased him down to take P3 away from Smit right at the end of the race.
As the dust settled, de Oliveira claimed a perfect 105 points haul with Levy finishing P2. Team Levy will likely be scratching their heads to close the pace gap, but Team Deacon will be celebrating a great P3 finish in a tough class.
Smit missed out on a podium by just one point, finishing P4 ahead of Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) and Jordon Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG).
Junior MAX (12th – 16th birthday)
Kyle Visser (Charl Engineering Tony Kart) qualified ahead of Kyle Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) who will be thrilled with a proper step forward in pace, as we are used to seeing his brother Andre Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) fighting at the front. Ethan Stier (OTK) qualified P3 as Andre endured a tough qualifying to only start Race 1 in 4th position ahead of Matthew Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG).
Visser had it all his own way in Race 1 as Kyle Le Riche was hunted down by Stier and brother Andre. Kyle managed to cause some interesting debates at the family dinner table for the remainder of the weekend by taking the place back from Andre to finish P3.
Visser had to work much harder in Race 2, eventually taking the win after Stier led for more than half the race. Andre and Kyle had another great tussle from which Kyle once again emerged victorious to take P3.
Stier put a massive smile on his team’s faces as he took a brilliant and hard-fought victory in Race 3, first hunting down Andre Le Riche and finally Kyle Visser just one lap from the finish. It was an emphatic display of driving that shows how important it is to never give up.
Visser took the overall win for the day from Stier, but it was Kyle Le Riche who took the final podium spot, seeing off his usually-faster brother.
Wadeley finished P5 and Reza Levy (EMR Kartsport CRG) P6 as he experiments with this class.
Senior MAX (14th birthday +)
Tate Bishop (ANGRi Jeep Kosmic) is clearly having the right stuff for breakfast every Saturday morning. Against a Regional Senior MAX class that could quite easily be the running order at a National, he continues to dominate.
Bishop put his kart on pole ahead of Charl Visser (Charl Engineering Tony Kart), Jason Coetzee (EMR Kartsport CRG) and Andrew Rackstraw (CRG). Storm Lanfear (Private Client Financial Kosmic) bravely decided to race despite nursing an injury and qualified a few tenths off the pack.
Race 1 was extraordinary because Bishop didn’t just break the lap record, but he did it while leading with nobody to chase and no tow to help him. He put down a 40.988s lap in lap 5, the fastest any Senior MAX has ever gone around Killarney.
Visser retired from Race 1 and Coetzee looked to be on his way to take P2, but Rackstraw chased him down and took a brilliant P2 in the process. Lanfear finished P4 ahead of Andre Le Riche.
Bishop drove to an unopposed victory in Race 2 ahead of Coetzee and Visser who both worked their way past Rackstraw in the race.
Visser at least gave Team Bishop to think about after the race, taking the victory in Race 3 with a great final drive for the day. Rackstraw did extremely well to take P3 away from Coetzee right at the end of the race in an exciting finish.
Bishop took the win for the day with Rackstraw as the surprise package of the day with a P2 finish ahead of Coetzee and Visser. Full credit to Lanfear for competing throughout the day despite his injury and showing good pace. Andre Le Riche rounded out the class with P6.
DD2 (15th birthday +) and DD2 Masters (32nd birthday + / 85kgs driver)
Sebastian Boyd (Boyd Boss Freight BirelART) was the form man going into this race, but the presence of Jurie “Umpie” Swart (Kosmic) on any DD2 entry list means that there is a serious battle ahead for the win. That’s before you take into account top driver Jason Coetzee (CRG) who is firmly in the DD2 mix.
Sure enough, Swart reminded everyone just how good he is, qualifying ahead of Coetzee and Boyd. In DD2 Masters, Roy Gruer (Tony Kart) put in a scorching lap time just 0.8s off Swart and three tenths ahead of the next fastest Master.
Race 1 was a display of consistent pace at the front, as Swart took the flag 1s ahead of Boyd. Coetzee finished P3 just two tenths behind Boyd. Gruer took the win in Masters ahead of Conor Hughes (Natasha Hughes Tony Kart) and Jason Greyling (Nigma Media CRG).
Coetzee led the early parts of Race 2 before Swart and Boyd got past him. Things stayed that way until the flag, giving Swart his second victory of the day. Hughes took the win from Gruer in the Masters class while the Masters mid-pack enjoyed a tight but processional race.
Swart made it three in a row in the final Race of the day, taking the win from Coetzee and Boyd.
The DD2 Masters drivers more than made up for a processional Race 2 by providing a demolition derby in Race 3. It all started in Turn 1 as Jared Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG) and Hughes had a coming together on the apex which sent Jordan’s kart flying into the air. Rob Peche (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) was happy to narrowly miss Jordan’s wheel with his head on the inside line while Andrew Thomas (Carbs and Coffee Media / Blake Brothers CRG) took evasive action on the outside.
This completely opened up the race, with more bad luck ahead for Thomas who had already suffered a seized engine that day. Thomas and Peche fought for position for a couple of laps before Thomas’ rear hub sheared off and he bounced into the dirt for an unceremonial end to a very tough day.
Gruer took the Masters win with Jason Greyling (Nigma Media CRG) finishing several seconds behind him. Peche took P3 through avoiding trouble rather than outright pace.
As the dust settled (literally), Swart took an incredibly impressive 105 points haul despite having not raced competitively in DD2 for ages. Boyd took P2 and Coetzee took P3. Michael Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG) was the other driver who didn’t score separately in Masters, finishing P9 overall (DD2 and DD2 Masters are scored together) after showing a significant improvement in pace.
In DD2 Masters specifically, Gruer took the overall win from Hughes and Greyling who wasn’t happy after coming into this race leading the Championship. Peche scored his best-ever Masters finish in P4, but will need to find more pace to match this result going forward. Jared Jordan was classified P5 and debutant Dale Palfrey (CRG) P6 while poor Thomas finished P7 after one of the unluckiest days of his racing career.
All eyes will now be on the Rotax National at Killarney in a couple of weeks’ time. WPMC Karting has a fearsome reputation and has produced countless SA Champions, so the visiting drivers will have their work cut out to take any trophies away from the Capetonians.
The national will double up as the 5th Regional of the year as the calendar is under pressure to get enough races in before the end of the year.