In Cape Town this February, 2-stroke karting was our Valentine.

Ask five people what they love about karting and you’ll get five different answers. Whether the challenge of the perfect setup, the magic of tyre pressure strategy or the sheer exhilaration of turn 1 on the opening lap, there was something for everyone as the karting community came together to celebrate their love for the newly resurfaced track that was finally ready for racing.

Of course, everyone loves winning too – any racing driver who tells you otherwise is lying. The trick is to create your own definition of winning for any given day. The checkered flag is reserved for a fortunate few, but achieving a personal best lap time or getting closer to your biggest rival is just as important.

Bambino (5 – 9 Years)

Although some members of the senior classes might consider themselves the heart-throbs of the pit lane, the reality is that nobody tugs at the heartstrings quite like the brave young Bambinos who tackled the full 1km Killarney karting circuit for the first time. Whilst the majority of kids their age are coming to terms with starting school and learning their ABCs, these young racers are lapping Killarney at an average speed above 60km/h.

Rayan Karriem (Top Kart) was unbeatable on the day, with an astonishing clean sweep of pole in qualifying, the leading position on every lap and therefore all three race wins. Luan Mostert (AMV Group/DSD Group/Donadio Plant Hire Top Kart) looked set for a podium on the day before problems late in race 1 plagued him into race 2, but he pulled it back to take a well-deserved second place in race 3.

Rhoderick Simpson (R.A.W Projects Top Kart), whose father is no stranger to racing having competed in Formula Supercars and V8 Masters on Killarney main circuit, drove a beautiful karting debut under the watchful eyes of his proud parents, claiming second overall for the day.  

Another family name that has known great success on main circuit is Wadeley, with brother and sister due of Jordan (EMR Top Kart) and Rebecca (EMR Top Kart) putting in a strong debut. Jordan grabbed the final podium spot for the day, while Rebecca improved her pace throughout the day and was rewarded with the hallowed Kito Cup.

Rotax Micro MAX (7 – 12 Years)

Reese Koorzen has certainly made his intentions known for the 2019 championship. With pole position, P1 every lap and three race wins with the fastest lap in each race, we can safely conclude that Reese looks like the man to beat this year.

Joshua Smit (Dart Motors / S&S Racing Kosmic) will need to find a few tenths to take the fight to Reese, but did secure a hat-trick of second places to take second overall for the day which is a great start to any championship.

Ethan Deacon (CRG) took the third step on the podium, with a result that Team Deacon can be most proud of and with useful points in the bag.

Micro MAX defending champion Reza Levy (EMR Kartsport CRG) had a tough start to his season, after he hit trouble in the 8th lap of the second race. The season still has many laps to go, so he will look to come back fighting in round 2 and beyond.

Newcomers to the class Ethan Lennon (Kosmic) and Luan Mostert (AMV Group/DSD Group/Donadio Plant Hire Kosmic) rounded off the top six as they improved with practically every lap.

Mini Rok (8 – 13 Years)

The Rok’kers put on a splendid show, with the top three on track separated by little more than a breath after 12 laps of racing.

Lucas Royston (Tony Kart) took the overall victory from a determined Joaquin de Oliveira (Tony Kart) after Royston took two victories to de Oliveira’s one. Jason Macbeath rounded off the podium with three thirds followed by Ethan Stier, Joshua Smit (Dart Motors / S&S Racing Kosmic) and Ethan Lennon (Kosmic).

This class saw racing on and off the track, with the Royston family setting up a racing simulator in the pit lane to keep the young drivers busy between heats. These kids just can’t get enough!

Rotax Mini MAX (9 – 13 Years)

We can never decide whether the commentators love or loathe this class, simply because it keeps them screaming for all 12 laps.

Jason Macbeath claimed pole in a qualifying session where less than half a second covered the top six drivers. Ethan Stier (CRG) would steal the show though in race 1, with an exceptional drive from fourth to the checkered flag. He carried that confidence into the subsequent heats with a further two victories and a clean sweep for the day – a stunning result that gave us one of the photographs of the day.

Mikhail Fernandez (CRG) made Ethan work for his wins, particularly in the final heat where only half a second separated the young gladiators after 12 laps. A late entry from Valentino Hoffman was certainly not in vain as he rounded off the podium for the day.

Troy Snyman made good use of his Killarney track time to prepare for next month’s National, with fourth overall for the day. Troy took a clean sweep of victories at the Northern Regions opener at Laserfiche Raceway last weekend, which gives us some evidence of the level of talent present in Cape Town. Homeground advantage was fairly limited this weekend due to lack of practice time during the track resurfacing.

Paul Malcolm (CRG) drove well to take fifth on the day with Mischa Williams (Zanardi) rounding off the top 6 with her distinctive new sticker kit. MacBeath endured a really tough day in the end after his qualifying heroics, with seventh overall after scoring no points in the second heat. He will look to bounce back in the next regional.

Rotax Junior MAX (12 – 15 Years)

Tate Bishop (ANGRI Kosmic) kicked off his 2019 campaign with pole position in qualifying, but contact on the second lap in race 1 severely hampered his day as the damage caused an electrical issue that saw him miss race 2. Although he could only manage eighth overall for the day, he should carry confidence from that qualifying result into the next race.

Troy Dolinschek (Kosmic) dominated proceedings, with three wins and around a 9 second gap to the rest of a field spearheaded by Kyle Visser (RKT FA) who took second overall for the day.

Storm Lanfear (Private Client Financial Kosmic) drove a consistent race to round off the podium. Tristan Galp will take many positives from a day on which he demonstrated the pace needed to fight for podiums this year.

Mini MAX driver Mikhail Fernandez (CRG) decided to race on Saturday morning having never practiced in the more powerful Junior MAX kart. Predictably, he didn’t have the pace to run with the rest of the pack, but that situation will no doubt change if he decides to continue in this class this year.

Rotax Senior MAX (14 Years +)

Charl Visser (RKT FA) drove away to three impressive wins as the rest of the Senior MAX field squabbled for track position behind him. Having put it on pole by nearly a full second in qualifying, it was left up to the other drivers to try and catch him throughout the day.

The biggest challenge came from Reece Oellerman (CRG) who had the pace for a podium but had a challenging day culminating in his wheel flying off in spectacular fashion during the opening exchanges of race 3, leaving both him and his CRG tricycle stranded in the dust.

Benefiting from Oellerman’s misfortunes and showing they have the outright speed and skill to challenge for victory in 2018 were Junior MAX graduates Simon Simpson-Heath (Kosmic) and Kai van Zijl (Unlimited Auto Kosmic), who claimed second and third spots on the podium behind Visser after some great duels throughout the day.

There was also a titanic battle between Storm Lanfear (Private Client Financial Kosmic) and Andrew Thomas (Blake Brothers/Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) as they fought for fourth overall with Lanfear winning out on that one.

Michael Jordan ( CRG) had his debut drive in the class and will look to find more pace on the sticky D5 tyres for the next regional after stepping up from Clubmans to the premier chain-driven class.

Rotax MAX 175 (32 Years + or >85kg in your shorts)

Although there were only three entrants for the new class on the programme, the crowd was treated to a spectacular battle as Johan Hamman (Kosmic), Gary Lennon (Tony Kart) and Jared Jordan (CRG) gave it everything they had to win the inaugural race.

With only a few tenths separating these three drivers, the racing was furious. Lennon took victory in the first heat, Hamman in the second and Jordan in the third.

Jordan’s rear bumper did not survive the second heat and unfortunately he scored no points as a result, which would be a pivotal factor in the final positions of Lennon, Hamman and Jordan. Lennon deserves a special mention for this result as he has moved to MAX 175 from DD2, which requires a vastly different driving style.

This class can only go from strength to strength during 2019 if the first race is anything to go by.

Rotax DD2 (15 Years +) and DD2 Masters (32 Years + or >85kg in your shorts)

A hush always comes over the grandstand at Killarney when the DD2s warm up in the pre-race grid, with a distinctive sound that makes it obvious even to first-time spectators that these karts are special machines. The tension in the air is palpable as the karts shift into first gear with a distinctive clunk.

Dino Stermin (Tony Kart) put his Italian-coloured kart on pole for race one, but could only manage third overall for the day. Stermin was pipped by Jason Coetzee (TeamLit CRG) for the win in race 1 and race 2 and had trouble in race 3. It was Coetzee who took the overall win for the day with three wins, although Jonathan Thomas (CRG) did get close in the final heat with second overall for the day.

Sebastian Boyd (Boyd Boss Freight Kosmic) banked useful championship points with fourth overall, while Jarryd Evans celebrated his new CA(SA) status the day after board exam results with fifth place. Newcomer Waldo de Wet (Kosmic) showed exceptional pace on debut to take sixth overall after a titanic battle with several of the Masters.

The DD2 Masters class thrilled the crowd and racers alike, with experienced drivers up against class newcomers. Conor Hughes (Kosmic) had an eventful race but still managed to take the overall win for the day with impressive pace, followed by Ernst Viljoen who was rewarded for vastly improved fitness and consistently fast driving with second for the day. Marco Viegas (Paper Perfect CPT Tony Kart) drove a strong race to take the final podium position.

Class debutants Andre Steenkamp (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) and Rob Peché (Carbs and Coffee Media / AD Trading CRG) rounded off the top five with measured points-focused racecraft learnt during their days in Clubmans. Whilst, Steenkamp is already showing strong pace, Peché will look to further close the gap in pace to the rest of the field, having found 1.4s on the day between practice and his best lap in the second heat.

Roy Gruer (CRG) was gutted after showing exceptional pace with pole position in qualifying and a win in heat 1, but he had terrible luck thereafter. He scored no points in the second heat after an unfortunate incident on the warm-up lap and had a tough final heat with a damaged kart, resulting in sixth overall for the day. Harry Georgiou (Zanardi) will also take heart from a strong showing of pace on the day that wasn’t reflected at all in the final points, taking seventh overall on a day that he will look to forget as he heads into the rest of the season.

Clubmans

After a late withdrawal by Sean le Riche due to unforeseen personal circumstances, Clubmans had only two entrants for the first regional.

The decision was made to run the class behind Junior Max, where Jordan brothers Michael (Arrow) and Jared (Zanardi) dusted off their Clubmans karts to take their sibling rivalry to the next level. Jared took two out of three wins and the overall win for the day.

The Clubmans class offers a highly cost-effective way to start your karting adventure as an adult. There are a number of suitable karts currently for sale and plenty of support to be found throughout the pit lane in terms of technical help and second-hand parts.

Conclusion

It was a long wait for karting to return to Killarney after the break for World Rallycross and the track resurfacing. Thankfully, the sport is alive and well in Cape Town and the racing is fierce.

There is barely any time for rest with the second regional scheduled for March 2nd. Some drivers will be celebrating their victories this week, while others will spend the next two weeks digging deep for the heart to come back fighting.

This is where champions are born.

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

Issued on behalf of Western Province Motor Club (WPMC)