Talk about a window of opportunity. It rained the entire day on Friday in Cape Town and rained most of Sunday, yet Saturday barely saw a drop fall out the sky over Killarney International Raceway.
Things could’ve been very different if the heavens had opened on Saturday and lashed the track with water. Instead, we had slippery but dry conditions that saw times improve throughout the day. The morning warm-up was like going ice skating as all the grip had been washed off the track, but it rubbered in over the day and gave us a surface for incredibly close racing.
Bambino (5th – 9th birthday)
The usual suspects in Bambino set the early pace, as Kai van Rensburg (7Films) narrowly qualified on pole ahead of Aiden Beaumont. These two were in a class of their own in qualifying as the only two drivers to post a sub-1 minute lap time.
Beaumont and van Rensburg slugged it out in Race 1, with Beaumont taking the flag by just over 1.7s. Michael Danks found himself in a race of his own for P3, finishing 13 seconds behind the leaders but 10 seconds ahead of a fantastic midpack battle among Siyabonga Ntuli, Sebastiano Human and Liam Wharton (Vishay Interiors) with numerous overtakes by these young drivers.
Race 2 was another win for Beaumont by the tightest of margins, just 0.094s ahead at the flag! The battle for P3 was excellent as Ntuli came out on top. Human looked set for P3 until he dropped to the back in the dying stages of the race.
Van Rensburg turned the tide in Race 3, finishing ahead of Beaumont by 2.562s which is a lifetime between those two competitors. Danks scored himself another P3, while Human got the better of Ntuli in a surprisingly processional affair.
Overall, Beaumont took an all-important win with 102 points. van Rensburg had to settle for 99 points on the day, which puts him slightly on the back foot heading into the final race of the year. It’s an incredible battle between these young racers who came into this race tied on 440 points.
Danks will be thrilled with P3 overall and the final podium spot. Ntuli finished ahead of Human, with John Norman (Body Elite), Liam Wharton and Ruan Lewis rounding out the class.
ROTAX Micro MAX (7th – 12th birthday)
Keagan Beaumont (Strive Praga) set tongues wagging in qualifying as he took a fantastic pole position ahead of Jordon Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG). Reese Koorzen (GMP Kosmic) would not have been happy with P3 on the grid as he tries to conclude the Regional Championship.
Beaumont proved that his pole position was no fluke, as he converted a great qualifying result into a Race 1 win. Wadeley held on to P2 to come in ahead of Koorzen after a multi-lap struggle between the two drivers. Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic) finished P4 with space ahead of and behind him.
Heat 2 was another win for Beaumont as his dream day continued. Koorzen managed to see off Wadeley, while Dale Hobbs (BirelART) would’ve been happy to finish ahead of Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic) who struggled with his engine on the day.
Heat 3 brought some joy to the Koorzen camp. Reese finished well ahead of Wadeley, bagging 35 points in the process. Beaumont drove an astonishing race, coming back from last place in the opening exchanges to finish P3 at the flag, narrowly seeing off a determined Hobbs.
Beaumont joined his Bambino brother on the top step, taking the overall win in Micro MAX in a wonderful day for the Beaumont family that father Steve (who races in DD2 Masters) won’t forget for a long time.
Koorzen ended the day P2 and Wadeley took the final podium spot. Hobbs did well to take P4 ahead of Smit, Sabelo Ntuli (Gingerroot Kosmic) and Eric Norman (Body Elite Praga).
Mini ROK (8th – 13th birthday)
Ethan Lennon (FTW Tony Kart) could finish his maths homework during qualifying and still put his machine on pole, such is his dominance in this class. His pole time was six tenths quicker than anyone else.
Luckily, the battle behind him looked juicy, as Rayan Karriem (RK Racing / Outsourcing Solutions Tony Kart), Ethan Deacon (Kosmic), William Marshall (Kosmic) and Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) were separated by just over a tenth of a second. Liam Crowe didn’t get off to the happiest start, suffering a DQ in qualifying.
Unsurprisingly, Lennon took three easy wins on the day. He makes it look easy of course, but being this dominant in a karting class requires absolute determination and plenty of skill.
Focusing on the battle behind Lennon, Karriem took P2 in the first race by less than a tenth of a second from Deacon. They swapped places every lap for several laps in the middle part of the race – a titanic battle of note! Stuart and Marshall crossed the line just behind those two drivers.
Karriem did it again in the second race, this time narrowly beating Marshall at the flag and with far less of a battle than in Race 2. Deacon came home in P4 and Stuart finished some way back in P5.
Race 3 saw success for Deacon who crossed the line in P2, several seconds ahead of Karriem and Marshall. Crowe came home in P5 as Stuart suffered issues in the race, falling back to P6 around the third lap of the race.
Obviously, Lennon took the win for the day with another perfect haul of 105 points. Karriem will be thrilled with P2 after wonderful racing during the day, while Deacon will be just as happy with P3.
Marshall came home in P4 ahead of Stuart and Crowe who very nearly broke into the 47’s on the day and will be looking forward to further pace gains in the next race.
Mini MAX (9th – 14th birthday)
Joaquin de Oliveira (Parolin) put in a scorching qualifying time, over four tenths quicker than Ethan Deacon (Stier Racing CRG) and Reza Levy (EMR Kartsport CRG).
De Oliveira’s dominance continued throughout the day, taking three wins with another perfect performance and 105 points to his name.
Behind him, the action was fast and furious.
Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic) came home in P2 in Race 1. Levy crossed the line in P3 but suffered a nosecone penalty which relegated him to P4 behind Deacon.
Heat 2 was a strong result for Deacon who drove past the waving checkered flag in P2, ahead of Smit and Levy. Jordon Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG) suffered his second DNF for the day in this class and poor Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) didn’t even make it to the start line with a DNS.
Deacon did well again in the final race of the day, seeing off Smit and Levy. Wadeley at least finished the race, as did Stuart. Racing can be a cruel sport.
Overall, de Oliveira left the track for a drive home with another first place finish to his name. Deacon finished P2 after a terrific race, banking 94 points vs. 92 points for third place man Smit. Levy finished in P4, Wadeley in P5 and Stuart in P6.
Junior MAX (12th – 16th birthday)
Kyle Visser (Charl Engineering Tony Kart) got his day off to the right start with pole position ahead of Ethan Stier (OTK), Kyle Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) and Andre Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic), with Matthew Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG) a few tenths back.
Visser and Stier drove to P1 and P2 respectively in Race 1, while the Le Riche boys battled it out behind them to add even more grey hairs to their family members. It was Kyle who emerged victorious from that battle.
Race 2 is one that Andre Le Riche will never forget. After falling to the back in the opening skirmish, he drove an extraordinary race and took advantage of every opportunity to eventually take the checkered flag with an incredible maiden victory. Visser came home ahead of Stier to round out the top 3.
After the high of Race 2, Andre reached another high in Race 3 – literally. Leading the race right until the end and on track for another wonderful victory, an epic accident saw him cross a grass embankment and get some genuine airtime, thankfully not flipping the kart. It was unfortunately also the end of Stier’s race, as the only major incident of the day played out on circuit.
As the dust settled, Visser crossed the line in P1 ahead of Kyle Le Riche and Wadeley, as Reza Levy (EMR Kartsport CRG) grimaced through a nosecone penalty.
Overall, Visser was classified P1 with 102 points. Andre Le Riche certainly had the most eventful day, finishing P2 just 2 points ahead of brother Kyle. Stier finished P4 for the day, also with stories to tell. Wadeley ended the day P5 and Levy P6 after limited time on track.
This class has become extremely competitive as the year has progressed, which is great to see.
Senior MAX (14th birthday +)
We were worried when the entry list came out, but it seems there was either an error or a late entry. Either way, Charl Visser (Kosmic) was indeed on the list. This lined up an incredibly exciting battle that did not disappoint, with Tate Bishop (ANGRi Jeep Kosmic) posting the quickest time in qualifying ahead of Visser and Kohan Bam (ANGRi), a top driver making his return to karting.
Storm Lanfear (Private Client Financial Kosmic) and Jason Coetzee (EMR Kartsport CRG) were within a couple of tenths of pole, while Andre Le Riche (Kosmic) got to grips with Senior MAX throughout the day but had a lonely race at the back as the train disappeared.
Race 1 was a lights-to-flag victory for Bishop, with Visser having to work extremely hard for P2 ahead of Coetzee and Lanfear. Bam retired from the race after 7 laps, having lost out in the opening battles.
Race 2 was dominated by Visser, with Bishop retiring after 2 laps. His chain had snapped in the warm-up and he came into the pits to have it sorted out, but a rule change for the 2020 season was inadvertently breached by Bishop’s team and he suffered a DQ after a post-race protest.
A DQ is the worst possible outcome for a racer as you cannot drop a DQ at the end of the year when the drops are calculated (usually the worst three heats of the year). This is a huge development in the Championship.
Lanfear came home in P2 in Race 2, just a few hundredths ahead of Coetzee.
Bishop kept his head and took the win in the final race of the day, seeing off Coetzee by 1.3s and Lanfear in P3.
After the post-race protest, the revised overall standings saw Visser with the win and 96 points for the day. Coetzee took P2 in this tough class and Lanfear came home in P3. Bishop only earned 70 points for the day, which blows the Championship wide open.
Bishop will need to carry his form into the final race of the year if he is to add a Regional Championship to his 2020 National Title.
DD2 (15th birthday +) and DD2 Masters (32nd birthday + / 85kgs driver)
Jason Coetzee (CRG) returned to form this weekend, putting his kart on pole in what would mark the start of a successful day in DD2. Sebastian Boyd (Boyd Boss Freight BirelART) qualified in P2 just 0.09s off Coetzee, setting us up for an excellent two-way battle at the sharpest end of DD2.
There is another sharp end in this class: the front of DD2 Masters. This was the closest DD2 Masters race that Killarney has seen in a very long time.
The Masters qualifying times weren’t that tight at the front under tricky grip conditions. Conor Hughes (Natasha Hughes Tony Kart) took an excellent pole position ahead of Roy Gruer (Tony Kart) and Championship rival Jason Greyling (Nigma Media CRG).
Behind them, a brilliant mid-pack battle was on the cards among Andrew Thomas (Carbs and Coffee Media / Blake Brothers CRG), Jared Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG), Robert Peche (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG), Andre Steenkamp (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) and Michael Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG), all separated by just three tenths. Steve Beaumont (CRG) put in solid times but has some catching up to do in this class.
Race 1 was led by Coetzee for many laps before Boyd started fighting for the win. After swapping places a few times, Boyd came out on top. Behind them, it was pure carnage in turn 1.
Hughes, Greur and Greyling demonstrated the trouble with wide DD2 karts trying to fight for limited space in Turn 1, with Hughes coming off worst in a tough incident just before the corner. He had to retire the kart, leaving Greyling to scamper off for victory with Thomas in P2 and Peche in P3 among the Masters. Jared Jordan also had a nightmare start to his day, as his throttle stuck open at the end of the back straight and he went off the road through Kosmic Corner – thankfully without injury.
Race 2 saw Coetzee get the better of Boyd early on and hold that lead until the end. There was more drama in Masters.
Hughes had to start at the back after not posting a time in Race 1, so he fought through the field and eventually made it to P3 among the Masters, finishing a couple of seconds ahead of Michael Jordan. Thomas drove to a great win in Race 2, followed by Steenkamp with the result of his life.
Peche suffered a nosecone penalty after Gruer’s kart suddenly lost drive right in front of him, leaving him with nowhere to go through the kink onto the back straight. That was enough to promote Jared Jordan ahead of him in the classification. Gruer’s misfortune was matched by Greyling who also didn’t finish the race.
The chaos wasn’t over. In an extremely unfortunate twist, Steenkamp was given a DQ for a technical infringement in his carburettor. The man doesn’t even know how to open that part of the carburettor, so it was a really unlucky outcome that took away the best finish of his career and replaced it with a DQ instead. Racing is a cruel mistress.
Race 3 was a procession out in front, as Coetzee drove to a great win ahead of Boyd.
Behind them, a Masters train of note battled it out for several laps before it started to thin out. Hughes took the win from Greyling and Jared Jordan, followed by Thomas, Peche and Steenkamp. A DNF for Gruer topped off a horrible day for him, while Beaumont posted a DNS as he focused on the victories of his two boys instead.
The overall DD2 result saw a welcome return to the top step for a thrilled Coetzee after a long drought where he had to dig deep to stay focused. His resilience paid off, relegating Boyd to P2 on the day. Michael Jordan finished P8 overall (as the Masters score as part of DD2 before being scored separately).
In the Masters, Thomas took his first ever win, having successfully navigated an extremely challenging day. Greyling finished P2, Hughes P3, Jared Jordan P4, Peche P5, Gruer P6, Steenkamp P6 and Beaumont P7 in a roller coaster day of note for karting’s elder statesmen.
We have just one race meeting left this year. Despite everything, we’ve managed to put together nearly a full race calendar. With several Championships still to be decided, the final race of the year later in November looks set to be a cracker.
We just hope there will be a bit less wind, as 60km/h gusts are no joke whatsoever in a kart!
Photo credit: David Marchio (www.davidmarchio.co.za)
Issued on behalf of Western Province Motor Club (WPMC)