The 2018 season is complete and so is the resurfacing of our beloved karting arena at Killarney.

The two months since the penultimate round of the WP Regional Karting Championships felt like a lifetime. We can only imagine the struggles of parents whose kids are used to a high-adrenaline experience every week.

The resurfacing process and the delays in the curing of the tar were all worth it though. As any Killarney karting gladiator will tell you, the old track was part-racing, part-mountaineering in certain places. With little Kilimanjaros scattered around the tired old surface, ribs took serious pain and so did the chassis. The welding machine will hopefully see far less use with the smooth new surface in place.

Thankfully, the painless ribs accompanied some incredibly exciting racing. A well-used, rubbered-in racing line tends to favour drivers who get the most track time, as they are able to refine their setups and driving techniques.

A “green” circuit levels the playing field to an extent, with some drivers finding as much grip up the inside line of the braking zone as one would find on a normal racing line. Cream always rises to the top and many of the usual names still graced the podiums, but close and slippery racing was the order of the day.

Regrettably, there was no Clubmans class at the final regional, due to the rescheduled race date clashing with Jared Jordan’s wedding. That ruled out Michael Jordan as well, with the Jordan brothers finally getting a front-row lockout, albeit at a wedding venue rather than Killarney! With other Clubmans karters either attending the wedding or travelling for work, the class could not pull together enough entries on the day. They will of course return in 2019 though!

Bambino (5 – 9 Years)

The Killarney youngsters again showed amazing skill to push their Bambino 50cc karts around the shortened version of the Killarney Kart track at speeds in excess of 75 kph – truly extraordinary to see such focus at this age.

Ian Joubert drove to a trio of victories to claim the top step on the podium. Luan Mostert, Rayan Karriem and Eric Norman dazzled the crowds with some extremely close and fair racing throughout the 3 heat races, but it was Mostert who took overall second with Karriem rounding off the podium places. Eric Norman was fourth overall with an ever-improving Matthew Smit in fifth.

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Rotax Micro MAX (7 – 11 Years)

Micro MAX is the step up from the Bambino class, where most of the kids weigh less than the engine and the racing is intense on every lap. The race-craft demonstrated by these karters as they attack the full-length circuit in a 125cc water-cooled 2 stroke is more than impressive, none more so than Reese Koorzen who drove to three impressive victories.

He was closely matched by newly crowned WP Champion Reza Levy who kept a mature head to see his safe path to 2018 glory with an overall second on the day. Bambino karter Matthew Smit’s older brother Joshua claimed an impressive third, followed by Ethan Stier, an unlucky Paul Malcolm who was fastest in qualifying and a returning Valentino Hoffman who looked chuffed to be back in a kart and racing.

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Vortex Mini Rok (8 – 13 Years)

A class that has shown a keen interest from the WP karters provided some close racing. A healthy entry list was ensured through the sheer commitment of many karters who elected to race more than one class on the day.

Lucas Royston was the star of the show as he delivered three superb victories in an enthralling battle against Paul Malcolm, Jason Macbeath and Micro MAX winner Reese Koorzen. That was the order in which they finished overall, while the newly-crowned Mini Rok Champion Kyle Visser and Joaquin de Oliveira rounded off the top six followed by Ethan Stier, Conner Rensberg, Joshua Smit and Valentino Hoffman.

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Rotax Mini MAX (9 – 13 Years)

This is the step up from Micro MAX and the final class that makes use of the “mini chassis.” The year-long battle between South Africa’s top Mini MAX drivers, National Champion Kyle Visser and runner-up Mikhail Fernandez, continued in the WP Regional Championship.

It would see Visser taking the overall victory with two wins on the day ahead of Fernandez with one. The driver of the day could well have been Andre Le Riche, who is never far from the Clubmans pits action where he offers advice and help despite his young age. Andre claimed his first podium finish in the class and the smile across his face was no doubt shared by his parents.

He was followed by his brother Kyle in fourth, Troy Snyman in fifth and Joaquin de Oliveira in sixth, who after showing great pace in qualifying was unable to race the final two heats of the day. It was enough for de Oliveira to claim a well-deserved 3rd overall in the 2018 standings after a great first year in the class.

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Rotax Junior MAX (12 – 15 Years)

Junior MAX is where things get really fast. The up-and-coming talents of South African motorsport fight it out on a senior chassis, with lap times and top speeds that require absolute focus to deliver consistently.

While the title race was all but over with one round left to run, this didn’t detract from the awesome display of racing put on by these teenagers. After Charl Visser was quickest in the morning’s qualifying session, Troy Dolinschek fought back valiantly to claim two victories to Visser’s one, enough to give Dolinschek the overall win.

Visser stood on the second step of the podium next to Tate Bishop who secured third on the day and in the championship ahead of Kai van Zijl. It was an intense battle, as is commonplace in Junior MAX.

Storm Lanfear and rookie Mikaeel Moolla rounded off the top six. Moolla has shown some impressive pace in the few races he has done so far, so keep a keen eye on his progress in 2019.

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Rotax Senior MAX (14 Years +)

They may not have a driver’s licence for the road yet, but these teenagers can drive. So can the brave adults who battle with them in this class, mastering the premier chain-driven platform before perhaps moving on to the DD2 gearbox class.

Some of the most decorated names in Killarney karting fought it out on the slippery surface, including Jurie Swart who took the overall win on the day from his “Team Lit” teammate Jason Coetzee. Jason wrapped up the 2018 Senior MAX title, with his nearest rival Andrew Rackstraw not in attendance at this race.

Storm Lanfear impressed with the final podium spot, with Tristan de Nobrega coming in fourth. Carbs and Coffee’s own Andrew Thomas came home in fifth, closing the gap to the big names in front considerably.

Returning legend Dario Busi came in sixth after a brake issue in race three destroyed his chances of a podium. Johann Hamman, racing in Senior MAX with no Clubmans class available, proved once again that age is just a number by giving drivers more than 30 years his junior a proper run for their money.

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Rotax DD2 (15 Years +) and DD2 Masters (32 Years +)

120km/h on the highway is one thing but doing it in a kart across an apex with other karts just cms away is where life really gets interesting.

This is the Premier League of karting. While some drivers probably feel they had a season as good as Jose Mourinho’s United, others showed that they have the consistency, focus and perhaps just enough luck to compete and win at the very highest level.

Jurie Swart reinforced his dominance, wrapping up the 2018 DD2 title as he beat teammate Jason Coetzee two races to one en route to winning the day and the championship.

The surprise of the day was undoubtedly Ricky Perdigao, who showed that racing a kart is like riding a bicycle – once you know how, you never forget it. After a lengthy period away from racing, he took a scintillating third overall along with victory in the Masters class.

Jonathan Thomas came in fourth, followed by Jacques De Bruyn, Conor Hughes, Roy Gruer and Ernst Viljoen. De Bruyn and Hughes managed podium finishes in Masters while Gruer narrowly missed out on the overall Masters title, an awesome effort for his first season of kart racing.

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Looking ahead

The 2018 season had all the thrills and spills synonymous with this magical sport. The new track provides an exciting surface for 2019, which will also see the introduction of the Rotax MAX 175 class for older drivers (32+) who are scratching their heads about how to get down to weight for Senior MAX.

Rotax MAX 175 will be a natural progression for fast Clubmans drivers looking to race for a ticket to the 2019 RMCGF to compete in the DD2 Masters class, as well as for drivers returning to the sport. The smart money is probably on Johann Hamman as WPMC’s best chance in the series, but we all know that karting is capable of delivering serious upsets.

We cannot wait for 2019!

All results are provisional at the time of writing and official results will be published by WPMC Karting and MSA.

Special Thanks to Heinrich Sauer Photography for his contribution to the gallery.