After watching the truly frightening events of F1 this weekend, the final round of the WPMC karting championship almost feels like it happened a long time ago. 

As we reflect on the year that was, we want to echo the sentiments of F1 this weekend by thanking the marshals, officials, committee members and volunteers who managed to pull together a season that by all accounts looked to be dead in the water by the middle of the year.

It certainly wasn’t easy and required a great sacrifice of time in a year where many were trying to just stay afloat. We unfortunately lost a number of competitors along the way, but we retained far more. 

WPMC karting is in excellent shape as we look towards 2021. There were 11 Bambinos in the final round, bearing testament to the significant effort that went into building the sport at grassroots level in the past 12 – 24 months.

This virus isn’t behind us yet, but hopefully next season will be a return to what we love: a full grandstand, a busy karting cafe and the unmistakably nervous buzz of a drivers’ briefing.

For now, we celebrate our WPMC Regional Champions (subject to MSA ratification): Aiden Beaumont (Bambino), Reese Koorzen (Micro MAX), Reza Levy (Mini MAX), Ethan Lennon (Mini ROK), Kyle Visser (Junior MAX), Tate Bishop (Senior MAX), Sebastian Boyd (DD2) and Conor Hughes (DD2 Masters).

The club will rally behind our local stars who will represent South Africa at the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Final in Portugal in January. Tate Bishop, Sebastian Boyd and Keagan Beaumont will fly the South African flag on the global stage and we couldn’t be prouder.

Bambino (5th – 9th birthday)

The focus going into this weekend was on the wonderful rivalry (and friendship) between Aiden Beaumont and Kai van Rensburg (7Films). Beaumont went into the race with a three point lead and converted that into a championship victory, winning two out of three heats and ending the season in P1 with a six point gap.

Van Rensburg certainly made him work for it, putting his kart on pole by a significant 0.39s which would’ve given the Beaumont camp some new grey hairs in the morning. He converted that into a win and Michael Danks even got the better of Beaumont in the first race, cementing the grey hair problem in that team.

From Race 2 onwards though, Beaumont came into his own and won the remaining two races of the day ahead of van Rensburg and Danks in both cases. Beaumont had to fight all the way, swapping places with van Rensburg on numerous occasions in both heats.

This gave Beaumont the win for the day by 1 point and the Regional Bambino Championship, with van Rensburg finishing the day in P2 and Danks in P3, a brilliant result from the young driver who has improved dramatically this year.

Siyabonga Ntuli and Liam Wharton (Vishay Interiors) tied for P4 on 84 points. Matthew Roach finished the day in P6, ahead of John Norman (Body Elite), Sebastiano Human, Ruan Lewis, Rebecca Wadeley and Zach McAuley who unfortunately only competed in the first heat.

That wasn’t enough for Ntuli to displace Human from P3 in the overall Championship, despite Human’s unlucky day with a DNF in the second race which ruined his overall result. Thanks to a consistent performance this year, Human could drop that result and hang on for a podium spot.

Behind Beaumont, van Rensburg, Human and Ntuli in the overall Championship, Danks can hold his head up high with a strong run of racing that really kicked into gear in September. Whatever his parents fed him over lockdown clearly worked.

Wharton finished in P6 in the overall standings, just three points behind Danks.

ROTAX Micro MAX (7th – 12th birthday)

Reese Koorzen (GMP Kosmic) was able to sit this one out and still win the Regional Micro MAX Championship, a reality when competitors don’t want to risk a DQ which cannot be dropped. Of course, this luxury only exists for drivers who are utterly dominant throughout the season, so hats off to Koorzen for being in that position. 

This left Keagan Beaumont (Strive Praga) and Jordon Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG) to fight it out on the day, which they did in style. Beaumont was quickest in qualifying and converted that into a lights-to-flag win, but Wadeley got the quickest lap time in race 1. 

Beaumont led most of the second race before a move from Wadeley in the dying stages took him take the checkered flag. In race 3, Beaumont was untroubled after Wadeley was caught up in the opening skirmishes, having to fight his way back to P2.

Behind these two, Dale Hobbs (BirelART) found himself in relative no man’s land, half a second off the leading pace but also well ahead of the rest of the pack. However, a lonely race in Heat 1 would not be repeated, as Race 2 saw an incredible battle with Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic) who eventually got the better of him on track. In Race 3 unfortunately, Hobbs’ day was cut horribly short with a DNF after just 2 laps. 

Overall, Beaumont took the win for the day and Wadeley placed P2. Smit took the final step on the podium, ahead of Hobbs, Eric Norman (Body Elite Praga) and Sabelo Ntuli (Gingerroot Kosmic) who unfortunately suffered a DNS in the last race. 

With Koorzen as champion, Smit did enough early in the season to hang on to P2 for dear life, finishing just one point ahead of Wadeley. Beaumont finished P4, a terrific effort considering he was carrying a DQ from Round 3 that couldn’t be dropped.

Hobbs finished P5 in his rookie season, ahead of Ntuli and Norman.  

Mini ROK (8th – 13th birthday)

If you thought that you heard the commentators shouting Koorzen’s name on Saturday, you weren’t hallucinating. Reese was not driving in Micro MAX, so the team decided to put him in Mini ROK to give Ethan Lennon (FTW Tony Kart) something to think about.

Lennon has had it all his own way since de Oliveira changed from ROK to Rotax, so this was a welcome challenge. Lennon qualified on pole, but a gap of just 0.1s to Koorzen made it clear that this wouldn’t be another easy day.

Lennon drove away to victory unopposed in Race 1, as Koorzen got caught up in early battles and had to get back past Rayan Karriem (RK Racing / Outsourcing Solutions Tony Kart) and Ethan Deacon (Kosmic).

Heat 2 was a great fight between various groups on the grid. Koorzen and Lennon swapped positions a few time before Koorzen took the flag and reminded Lennon what a P2 feels like. Behind them, Karriem and Deacon had an epic race where Deacon eventually got the better of him, taking another P3 finish. 

Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) had an exceptionally busy race behind them, first dicing with William Marshall (Kosmic) before falling prey to Sabelo Ntuli right at the end, who had to come through Liam Crowe to be in a position to have a go at Stuart. It was really an exceptional display of racing.

Race 3 was another slugfest, which Koorzen eventually won ahead of Lennon. Karriem drove a stonking race to finish P3 ahead of Deacon, while Stuart and Ntuli were both in the wars with precipitous drops at different stages of the race. 

After an immensely entertaining day in this class which boasted nine drivers on the grid, Koorzen walked away with P1 overall in a hugely impressive ROK exhibition with the Micro MAX title already wrapped up. Lennon took P2, no doubt having relished a day of tight racing. Deacon can be thrilled with P3 in such a tough class, ahead of Karriem, Stuart, Ntuli, Crowe, newbie James Nash and William Marshall who suffered a DNS.

The WPMC Mini ROK Champion is Ethan Lennon by a country mile, with Karriem in P2 and Marshall in P3 thanks to being able to drop the DNS. Stuart put in a valiant effort to finish the year P4 just seven point adrift of Marshall. 

Mini MAX (9th – 14th birthday)

Reza Levy (EMR Kartsport CRG) wrapped up the WPMC Mini MAX Championship this weekend in a race that saw three top drivers sharing the checkered flag honours.

Levy put his CRG on pole, but the stage was set with just a 0.1s gap to Ethan Deacon (Stier Racing CRG) and a 0.24s gap to Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic).

Sure enough, these three delivered an action-packed first race, where Deacon led the early stages before being relegated to P3 and then fighting his way back to the front! Levy eventually took the win ahead of Deacon, with Smit in P3. 

Smit drove a relatively unopposed win in Race 2, with Levy finishing a couple of tenths behind him on track but suffering a nosecone penalty of 5s. Levy had enough of a gap to Deacon to still be classified P2, as Deacon had been caught up in battles with Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) and Jordon Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG).

In Race 3, many hours of hard work came together for Team Deacon, as their young star took his first ever race victory. He led the entire race and got the fastest lap, which is no small achievement against the likes of Smit and Levy who finished more than 3.6s behind him.

Overall, Smit drove a smart and fast race to take the overall win for the day. Levy finished in P2 and Deacon in P3. Wadeley finished P4 while Stuart and Eric Norman didn’t participate in all the heats on the day

The 2020 Champion is Reza Levy, joined on the podium by Deacon and Smit.

Junior MAX (12th – 16th birthday)

Kyle Visser (Charl Engineering Tony Kart) wasn’t there to bask in his title glory, leaving a titanic battle on the cards for Ethan Stier (OTK), Kyle Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic), Andre Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) and Matthew Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG).

Le Riche, of the Kyle variety, put his kart on pole position, sending a clear message to the rest of the grid and his brother who came into this round 12 points ahead of him in P2 in the Championship. Having obviously had his breakfast spiked earlier that morning, Andre Le Riche qualified behind Stier and Wadeley, giving himself plenty to do in Race 1 to protect his P2 position.

Kyle had it all his own way for the first few laps, before Stier and Andre came charging through and demoted him to P3. Refusing to give up, Kyle got back past Andre and finished P2 overall. Wadeley finished just behind the leading pack.

In Race 2, Stier had it all his own way, taking the checkered flag ahead of Kyle who picked up the pieces of a wonderful fight between Andre and Wadeley. Smart driving pays off in karting and keeps you on the podium.

Stier did it again in Race 3, but everything went crazy behind him and Andre came out on top of another terrific scuffle with Kyle and Wadeley.

Overall, Stier took the win for the day with a perfect performance, ahead of Kyle Le Riche, Andre Le riche and Wadeley. 

Visser finished the year P1, with Andre Le Riche cementing an excellent P2 finish ahead of Kyle Le Riche, Wadeley and Stier. 

Senior MAX (14th birthday +)

People mistakenly think that Mike Tyson made the most impressive sporting comeback this week. Those people clearly didn’t see Club Chairman Guy Lanfear in his suit, ready to battle his daughter in one of the most entertaining sights we’ve seen at the track and in what must be a rare occasion in our sport.

It was a tale of two battles. 

At the front, the superstars were all over each other, cramming a ridiculous amount of talent into just a few metres. An incredible train of Tate Bishop (ANGRi Jeep Kosmic), Jason Coetzee (Kosmic) Andrew Rackstraw (RDSA CRG) and Kohen Bam (ANGRi) put on a karting exhibition of note.

Many, many, many kart lengths further back, the Lanfear family feud played out in an entertaining battle that may cause some discussion around that family dinner table. Guy “Tyson” Lanfear gave it his all against Jade Lanfear, who showed no mercy towards her father.

The fight for the Championship was wide open, with Bishop and Coetzee in attendance on the day to determine who would emerge victorious. Bishop did everything he needed to do, qualifying on pole and taking three wins from three heats, a perfect performance to round off a perfect year as National and Regional Senior MAX Champion.

Race 1 saw Rackstraw fall victim to a puncture which forced him to retire after just a few laps. Bishop kept his kart in front, while Coetzee and Bam had a fantastic duel for P2 with Bam emerging on top. The Lanfears swapped places multiple times, lapping in the 44s and having the time of their lives.

The lap chart for Race 2 looks like three drunk geese walked across the page with ink on their feet. Coetzee, Bam and Bishop led the race at various stages, with Rackstraw as high as P2. Coetzee very nearly took the win, but Bishop and Bam relegated him to P3 in the dying stages. Coetzee lost two places in just one corner, which shows how insanely tight this race was.

In Race 3, the drunk geese were back, having had a few more trips to the bar before tracing the lap chart. To see this much overtaking in a race is borderline unbelievable, especially with barely a mark on anyone’s side pods – truly a karting lesson for us all. 

Bam led the early stages before Bishop and Coetzee swapped position every lap in the middle stages of the race. Coetzee dropped down to P4 by lap 8, where he finished the race. Rackstraw pulled off heroics at the end, moving from P4 to P2 in the final couple of laps.

It was just incredible.

Overall, Bishop took the win ahead of Bam and Coetzee. Rackstraw was classified P5 behind Jade Lanfear due to his puncture in Race 1. Jade beat her father Guy in every heat, although she did have the better tyres on the day. 

We can’t be sure if that was a sweet gesture by Guy or a devious plan to ensure he had an excuse. We can however commend him on a brilliant day of driving, with a fastest time of 44.134s which would’ve easily put him at the front of Clubmans a couple of seasons ago.

A Clubmans resurgence is long overdue, perhaps spearheaded by our Chairman himself. He will just need a lot more lead.

Jokes aside, huge congratulations to Bishop for wrapping up the title. Coetzee finished P2 and Visser P3 in the Regional Championship. 

DD2 (15th birthday +) and DD2 Masters (32nd birthday + / 85kgs driver)

In the absence of National and Regional Champion Sebastian Boyd (Boyd Boss Freight BirelART), Jason Coetzee (EMR CRG) was left to enjoy the breeze out front and add another win to his impressive lifetime tally. He won the three DD2 races by a country mile, finishing P2 in that Championship.

Conor Hughes (Natasha Hughes Tony Kart) arrived on the day with the sole intention of wrapping up the DD2 Masters title and P3 in DD2. He was in another postal code entirely, a few tenths quicker than any other Master throughout the day. He took three easy wins in Masters, finishing behind Coetzee in each heat.

It was a more subdued day than usual in the Masters, with a couple of names missing from the scoresheets. Andre Steenkamp (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) did his best to add some spark, with a spectacular accident in qualifying on a slippery track that saw him fly into the tyres backwards after pit bend. Tyre marks on your helmet are never fun.

Race 1 saw an entertaining train form behind Jared Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG) consisting of Marco Viegas, Andrew Thomas (Carbs and Coffee Media / Blake Brothers CRG), Michael Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG), Robert Peche (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) and Steenkamp.

Thomas came out on top of that battle, with six karts crossing the line within 1.8s – brilliant to see at this level.

Race 2 saw a close battle between the Jordans, with Jared emerging victorious, while Peche’s day came to an end with his second broken seat of the day and a number of other breakages on the kart (despite no accidents on the day). 

Race 3 was a bit of a procession, with Jared Jordan getting the better of Thomas towards the end to finish in P4 behind his brother Michael.

As the curtain was drawn on the DD2 season, the DD2 championship podium was Boyd, Coetzee and Hughes. The Masters podium was Hughes, Greyling and Jordan. It was a highly entertaining season with a somewhat subdued finish, but the DD2 competitors will be back in force next year and ready to fight for the championship in the fastest class of karting in the WPMC series.

Conclusion

Congratulations to all involved for a terrific season. WPMC karting is as strong as ever and we cannot wait to do it all again in 2021, hopefully this time with spectators and even more competitors!

Photo credit: David Marchio (www.davidmarchio.co.za)

Issued on behalf of Western Province Motor Club (WPMC)