The conditions experienced at Celso Scribante Kart Track during the 2nd Round of the Rotax South Africa Karting Championship were interesting to say the least. Karting is an action-packed sport in normal weather, so when the rain comes down at a Rotax National, you know things are going to get hectic.
Prior to the event, all we (and everyone else) could talk about was the pivotal role that tyres would play at what has to be the most abrasive kart circuit in the country, if not the Southern Hemisphere. Possibly all of Earth.
As much as we all like to believe that this is Formula 1, the reality is that each class in Rotax karting only has one choice of dry tyre compound. It was going to be a busy weekend for the suppliers of MOJO tyres.
Surprisingly, the tyre-shredding circuit, or “cheese grater” as it has become known as, offered incredible levels of grip in the wet. Tyre wear also gets much better when you are driving on a swimming pool, which does help with the ol’ mortgage back home. Celso Scribante’s tyre wear in the dry is not kind to your pension.
When the heavens did open, those who hadn’t brought wet tyres presented themselves at the tyre shop faster than kids in a toy store at Christmas. The MOJO W3 tyres proceeded to sell out. Fast.
In wet conditions, it is normally a tricky task to keep it on the black stuff. It doesn’t help that sometimes you can barely see the black stuff thanks to the wall of spray. Gentle inputs across steering, braking and accelerating are an absolute must to avoid any Eastern Cape tractor impersonations – ploughing the land and destroying front bumpers isn’t fun.
Perhaps due to the abrasive surface, the circuit still offered great levels of grip. There wasn’t much of a “dry line” for the vast majority of the races and drivers could commit to their usual lines with confidence that is hard to come by at other tracks. This is a far cry from the ice rink experience that normally goes hand-in-hand with wet weather.
As is always the case in motorsport, some families go home after the weekend scratching their heads, while others cannot stop celebrating. The Naidoo brothers from KZN were certainly in the latter category, with older brother Shrien taking overall honours in Senior MAX and younger brother Dhivyan grabbing the win in Micro MAX. That’s a seriously impressive result, perhaps helped through honing their skills over the years in KZN’s stormy weather.
Speaking of families, one never has to look too hard to find the name “Stephen” at the top of the time sheets. Michael puts on a masterclass at most events, so it was no surprise that he dominated at his home circuit in DD2 Masters. He literally grew up on this track with the family home a stone’s throw away – nobody knows it better than he does.
Another PE name synonymous with motorsport is Moss, but this time it was young Caleb Moss on the top step, taking victory in the Bambino category which boasted 17 entries. The future of the sport is certainly alive and well.
We can safely conclude that “Troy” is a solid choice of name for your kid if you are hoping for racing success. Troy Snyman took a hard-fought victory in Mini MAX and Troy Dolinschek claimed top step in Junior MAX.
It was the usual suspects who took victory in the other adult classes. Jonathan Pieterse dodged Senior MAX drivers doing doughnuts to take the win in MAX 175. Benjamin Habig, smoother than butter over hot toast, took a beautiful victory in DD2.
At the halfway point in the National season, things are poised for a cracking finish to the championship. The motorsport press was full of criticism for the Formula 1 race in Baku over the weekend for being boring. There is no such problem at grassroots level in South Africa, with brave and talented drivers fighting tooth and nail in every class.
Next up is the iconic iDube circuit in KZN in August before champions are crowned at the final event at Zwartkops in September.
Photo Credit: Spot Your Shot