If you measure your life by experiences rather than the passage of time, you’ll be glad that you were at Killarney on Saturday for Round 3 of the WPMC Karting Championship. With only the drivers and their crew in attendance, as well as social distancing measures in place across everything from pit allocations to wearing of masks, it was certainly an unusual race and one to remember.

In many ways, it felt more like a competitive practice than a race, although the on-track action was as exciting as ever.

The weather was all over the place and so were many of the karts. Humidity in flux and variable grip conditions all led to difficult set up decisions and plenty of Turn 1 action. It got quite hairy towards the end of the Race 2 schedule, with at least one race requiring wet tyres.

The lack of spectators really does take away the atmosphere at the circuit, but it did allow all the racers to hear the karts on track and the commentary perfectly. It was a selfish day, with a small group of people finally allowed to enjoy the sport they love.

Hopefully, things will fully return to normal soon. In the meantime, we are grateful for the racing that we are able to do.

Bambino (5th – 9th birthday)

There are few things in life better than a full grid of Bambinos, led out by a Senior MAX kart to help them line up properly on the grid and stay in the tramlines. Cuteness overload aside, these little ones take the sport extremely seriously.

Kai van Rensburg (7Films Top Kart) was the clear favourite going into the race, but Aiden Beaumont (Top Kart) put in the performance of his young life. He signalled his intentions early, putting his kart on pole ahead of van Rensburg and Michael Danks (Top Kart).

Beaumont and van Rensburg spent all day fighting it out. Beaumont won Race 1 by 1.96s, Race 2 by a meaty 11.62s and Race 3 by a far closer 0.41s. Three out of three for Beaumont and a perfect 105 points haul ahead of van Rensburg in P2 with 96 points.

P3 went to Sebastiano Human (Top Kart) who battled with Danks and Liam Wharton (Vishay Interiors Top Kart) throughout the day.

Siyabonga Ntuli (Top Kart) claimed P6 ahead of Rebecca Wadeley (Top Kart) and Zach McAuley.

It was a terrific day of racing by our youngest stars. The van Rensburg – Beaumont battle is going to be incredible for the rest of this year, while the rest of the grid fight to catch up.

ROTAX Micro MAX (7th – 12th birthday)

Nobody was particularly surprised when Reese Koorzen (Zenkor Engineering Kosmic) put his kart on pole. Jordon Wadeley (EMR Kartsport CRG) got his day off to an excellent start with P2 in qualifying ahead of Keagan Beaumont (Strive Praga) and Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic).

A surprisingly processional Race 1, won by Koorzen from Wadeley, was notable for an exclusion of Beaumont due to a technical infringement.

Race 2 was another story altogether. Koorzen took a lights-to-flag victory, but behind him there was absolute warfare. Smit, Wadeley, Beaumont and Dale Hobbs had a phenomenal tussle from which Smit emerged as victor.

Koorzen was untouchable again in Race 3. Wadeley came out of opening skirmishes in P2 and held on until just a few laps from the finish when Smit pipped him for P2.

When all was said and done, Koorzen stood on the virtual top step (since there was no prizegiving) with a perfect 105 points result. Smit will be disappointed not to have challenged for victory, but he did well to take P2 in such a competitive lead pack. Wadeley took P3 and should be well proud of that.

Best of the rest was Hobbs ahead of Sabelo Ntuli (Gingerroot Kosmic) and Beaumont whose final classification was ruined by the exclusion in Race 1. Kai van Rensburg (7Films CRG) only raced in one of the Micro MAX heats and we wonder whether he will return to focusing on Bambino, given the pace that Aiden Beaumont showed in that class.

Team Koorzen will celebrate the weekend, but they will have to stay on top of their game to keep the rest behind them.

Mini ROK (8th – 13th birthday)

Predictably, Ethan Lennon (FTW Tony Kart) put his Italian machine on pole in qualifying. Rayan Karriem (RK Racing / Outsourcing Solutions Tony Kart) joined him on the front row while Ethan Deacon (CRG) narrowly saw off Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) and William Marshall (Kosmic).

Race 1 was light on action, as Lennon checked out and drove away from Karriem. Deacon had to work hard for P3 ahead of Stuart.

It was a similar story at the front in Race 2, with another victory for Lennon by nearly 12s from Karriem. Deacon and Stuart had a spectacular battle for P3, swapping places practically every lap in the latter part of the race. Deacon eventually got the better of Stuart.

After such a crazy race, Deacon had a simpler time of it in Race 3. Lennon drove away to another victory (by a similar margin) and Deacon was untroubled in claiming P2. Karriem had to do all the work in Race 3, fighting back from last place to eventually finish P3, narrowly ahead of Stuart.

Lennon went home with a perfect 105 points result. Karriem took P2 after a solid day at the karting office and Deacon should feel very proud of his P3 ahead of an ever-improving Stuart in P4. It was great to see battles like this.

Redd Scholtz did well to claim P5 and best of the rest, ahead of Marshall, Liam Crowe and Nicholas Louw.

Lennon is well ahead of the field on pace and will hope to maintain that reality for the rest of the year.

Mini MAX (9th – 14th birthday)

Joaquin de Oliveira (Parolin) showed absolutely no problems in transitioning from Rok to Rotax, putting his beautiful kart in P1 by over two tenths from karting stalwart Reza Levy (CRG), with Ethan Deacon (Tony Kart) another two tenths back.

De Oliveira took the win in Race 1 with a 2.5s gap to Levy. Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic) crossed the line in P3 but was excluded for being underweight, a really unfortunate result but indicative of how close the margins are in karting. A number of drivers sail close to the wind with their race weight and occasionally teams get it wrong.

Levy put in a stonking performance in Race 2, beating de Oliveira by nearly 14.5s. Deacon finished P3 as most of the rest of the field struggled to even finish the race.

De Oliveira fought hard for the win in Race 3, having to get past Smit and Levy in the opening stages. Smit narrowly saw off Deacon to take P2 after Levy dropped down to P4.

As the curtain dropped on this exciting class, de Oliveira claimed an excellent victory ahead of Levy and Deacon. Jordon Wadeley (CRG) took P4 ahead of Jude Stuart (Tony Kart) and Joshua Smit (S&S Racing Kosmic).

Junior MAX (12th – 16th birthday)

The top 3 in qualifying finished Race 1 in that order. Kyle Visser (Charl Engineering Tony Kart) started Race 1 in the front and finished there with a 4.1s gap to Andre Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) who had an exciting race against Ethan Stier (OTK).

Stier had a cracking start in Race 2, leading the race for a couple of laps before Visser got the better of him. Things then deteriorated quickly, as an incident saw Stier drop to the back of the field. Kyle Le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) stepped up to the plate and crossed the line in P2. Stier was finally classified P3, benefitting from a nosecone penalty for Andre Le Riche.

Visser had a nasty start to Race 3 but found his way back to P1 within 5 laps after Stier led the early part of the race. Stier finished P2 ahead of Andre Le Riche.

Visser left the track with 105 points to his name, but he worked hard for them. Stier and the Le Riche boys really had a great battle, with Stier finishing P2 ahead of Andre Le Riche and Kyle Le Riche.

Matthew Wadeley (EMR Kartsport Zanardi) finished P5 for the day ahead of Reza Levy (CRG) who is exploring this older class.

Senior MAX (14th birthday +)

There were only four karts, but honestly this was the most exciting class of the day. The level of talent on display was ridiculous. Four top racers doing battle is a sight to behold.

Jason Coetzee (EMR Kartsport CRG) put in a beastly qualifying performance, 1.5s ahead of Charl Visser (Charl Engineering Tony Kart) and well ahead of Tate Bishop (ANGRi Jeep Kosmic) and Andrew Rackstraw (CRG).

As the conditions changed completely, Coetzee’s pace advantage dissipated.

He led out the first couple of laps in Race 1, but Visser charged through to take the lead. Bishop also got the better of Coetzee and went about chasing Visser. There is no clearer evidence of how competitive this field was than Visser’s 5 second penalty relegating him from P1 at the flag down to P4 in the final classification for Race 1. Yes, the other three drivers all crossed the line within 5 seconds of Visser.

So, going into Race 2, Bishop sat top of the points table ahead of Coetzee, Rackstraw and Visser.

Race 2 was incredibly eventful for Bishop. He lost the lead to Visser within the opening laps and then swapped places with Coetzee several times in the middle of the race. He finally got ahead of Coetzee and went about making Visser’s life difficult, overtaking Visser before losing the top spot to cross the line in P2 behind Visser but ahead of Coetzee and Rackstraw.

Race 3 was marred by an unfortunate incident that took Coetzee out of the running. As Coetzee and Visser battled for the lead, a collision between the two saw the end of Coetzee’s exhaust and resulted in a kart that sounded like a VTEC Ballade with a freeflow exhaust. 2-stroke karts suffer huge power loss with any damage to the exhaust, so that was the end of Coetzee’s race.

Bishop smelt victory and fought hard for the win, eventually getting the better of Visser to take the checkered flag while Rackstraw came home in P3.

Much to the delight of his team, Bishop took the overall victory for the day. He’s such an exciting talent and shows great versatility across Rotax and Rok classes. Visser finished P2 and Coetzee P3 for the day, with Rackstraw coming home in P4.

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

DD2 and DD2 Masters don’t just share the track on raceday, but they share some of the entrants as well. Jason Greyling (Nigma Media CRG), Andrew Thomas (Carbs and Coffee Media / Blake Brothers CRG) and Rob Peche (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) all entered both classes, but they had to run at DD2 Masters weight to avoid exclusion in that class.

Of the DD2-only entries running on DD2 weight, Sebastian Boyd (Boyd Boss Freight Kosmic) out-qualified Jason Coetzee (CRG) by the tiniest of margins (0.056s). Next fastest on track was Conor Hughes (Natasha Hughes Tony Kart) as the pick of the Masters, ahead of Jason Greyling (Nigma Media CRG) and Roy Gruer (Tony Kart).

Race 1 saw a remarkable start where Hughes bogged down and took the rest of the right-hand side of the grid with him. Greyling, Thomas and Peche tucked themselves in behind the DD2 duo in front, but not before Greyling gave Boyd and Coetzee a fright in the first couple of corners with some competitive racing. Peche ran wide into Turn 1 on the second lap, a costly error that allowed multiple drivers through.

Boyd and Coetzee drove away to take P1 and P2 respectively, with Greyling P3 at the flag and the highest placed Master. Hughes managed to get the better of Thomas as they rounded out the Masters top 3.

Race 2 was another win for Boyd, 4.7s ahead of Coetzee at the flag. Hughes was unchallenged for P3, but the action happened behind him. Gruer suffered a horrible tangle in Turn 1, severely damaging his kart and reshuffling the pecking order at an early stage. Gruer retired his kart and Thomas got the better of Greyling after a fight for P4 at the flag, but P2 in Masters.

Boyd made it three in a row in Race 3, with Coetzee suffering the disastrous result of being underweight on the scale and excluded from the race. Hughes was therefore classified P2 and took his second Masters win of the day ahead of Greyling and Jared Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG). Thomas was the victim of a quite incredible exhaust failure where an entire section of his exhaust blew open.

After a thrilling day of racing, Boyd took home 105 points in DD2. Greyling finished P2 ahead of Thomas, Peche, Michael Jordan (CRG) and Coetzee who will have few or no fond memories of the day.

The DD2 Masters final classification saw Hughes on the top step with 102 points ahead of Greyling and Thomas. Jared Jordan finished P4 ahead of Peche and Steve Beaumont who had plenty to celebrate with his kids instead. Gruer finished P7 after an unlucky day at the track.

Conclusion

It was a cracking day at the track with brilliant racing in every class. There is much to look forward to as 2020 finally starts to redeem itself.

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

Issued on behalf of Western Province Motor Club (WPMC)