Round 4 of the 2019 WPMC Regional Championship was a race day characterised by two interesting and incredibly challenging variables.
The first was the weather. A freezing start to the day with high humidity turned into a relatively dry and cool day by lunchtime, before returning to icy conditions by the early evening. Jetting, tyre pressures and setup as a whole are critical in these conditions.
The second issue is more unusual. With the ROK classes joining the fray ahead of their National at Killarney next week, the Bridgestone rubber they laid down on the circuit brought huge levels of grip to those running MOJO tyres in Rotax classes. This was felt the strongest in the DD2 class which ran straight after the Mini ROKs, where 16 karts on Bridgestones laid rubber down on the racing line.
An action-packed day gave the crowds plenty to shout about, which is exactly what makes karting special.
Bambino (5 – 9 Years)
The battle between Jordon Wadeley (EMR Kartsport Top Kart), Rayan Karriem (Top Kart) and Luan Mostert (AMV Group / DSD Group / Donadio Plant Hire Top Kart) was expected to be tight. It didn’t disappoint.
Karriem won the qualifying battle by only 0.05s from Wadeley, with Mostert a further two tenths back.
Karriem translated pole position into a victory in race 1 as the only Bambino to break a one minute lap time in that race. Wadeley came home in second and Mostert in third.
Favourable track conditions for race 2 became evident with the top four Bambinos, including Kai van Rensburg (7 Films Top Kart), all breaking the one minute barrier. In this race, it was Karriem who took victory once more from Mostert and Wadeley.
Karriem made it three in a row in race 3 ahead of Wadeley and Mostert, rounding off a perfect day for the young star.
Van Rensburg was consistently the best of the rest on the day against Nikolas Louw (Top Kart), Rebecca Wadeley (EMR Kartsport Top Kart) and debutants Riley Stier (Top Kart) and John Norman.
Kid Rok (6 – 10 Years)
Doing double duty on the day, Luan Mostert (AMV Group / DSD Group / Donadio Plant Hire Kosmic) was likely the favourite as 2018 National Kid Rok defending champion with home track advantage.
He didn’t disappoint in qualifying, putting his little kart on pole ahead of Adam Kajee (iCubed Capital / Adams Discount Store Formula-K) and Luke Hill. Grayson van Zummeran (Mtati Projects Praga) and Troy van der Laan qualified 4th and 5th respectively, with only 1.75s separating the class from top to bottom.
Mostert converted pole position into a race win in race 1 ahead of Hill and Kajee.
Race 2 saw Reece Koorzen join the fray where he promptly took the win from Mostert and Hill. In race 3, Hill elevated himself to top spot, taking the win from Mostert by a narrow margin of 0.334s after 8 laps, with Koorzen in third.
Mostert took the overall win for the day ahead of Hill and Kajee, with van Zummeran in 4th ahead of van der Laan. Koorzen finished 6th overall as he didn’t participate in race 1.
Rotax Micro MAX (7 – 12 Years)
Joshua Smit (Dart Motors / S&S Racing Kosmic) played out of his socks in qualifying to put his Kosmic on pole ahead of Reza Levy (EMR Kartsport CRG) and Reese Koorzen (Kosmic). The Ethan battle made up the second half of the grid, comprising Ethan Deacon (CRG), Ethan Stier and Ethan Lennon (Kosmic).
Although Smit took fastest lap in race 1, he could not convert pole position into a race win. Levy took the win ahead of Koorzen with tight racing that is the norm in this class.
Levy made it two in a row in race 2, although Koorzen claimed fastest lap (as well as a new lap record of 45.903s) and therefore pole position for the final race of the day. Smit once again came home in third.
In a late afternoon thriller, Levy scored maximum points for the day with another victory in race 3, just 0.06s ahead of Koorzen.
The Micro MAX championship remains a crowd favourite, with Levy taking the win on this occasion and maintaining his momentum from the previous championship round. Koorzen and Smit joined Levy on the podium, with Lennon winning the battle of the Ethans ahead of Deacon and Stier.
Mini Rok (8 – 13 Years)
Local boy Joaquin de Oliveira (Eastside Cartel Tony Kart) put it on pole against the biggest field of the day, with 16 karts competing in this class. Just half a second separated the top 10 drivers in qualifying.
Nikolas Roos (RKT) took the honours in race 1 however, beating Jayden Goosen (PTA Noord Toyota / Impak Kosmic) and de Oliveira to victory. Local driver Jason MacBeath (Kosmic) took fourth ahead of Moosa Kajee (iCubed Capital / Adams Discount Store Formula K) and Mika Abrahams. Highly experienced karter KC Ensor-Smith only finished 11th, but broke the lap record with a 45.717s screamer.
(Apparel by karters for karters at the Carbs and Coffee shop)
Race 2 was a much closer affair, with Roos taking the win from KC Ensor-Smith by just 0.185s. Abrahams finished third ahead of Kajee, Goosen and de Oliveira. MacBeath suffered a DQ and no points for the race, ruining his day.
Race 3 got off to an unpleasant start, with three false starts leading to a red flag and some stern words from the Clerk of the Course. In a cruel twist of fate, young Eric Norman (Kosmic) ended up stuck on the line after the red flag start. Push-start ROK karts are a lot trickier in that situation than Rotax karts with start buttons!
Roos took the win in race 3 once more from de Oliveira, with WPMC championship leader Lucas Royston (Tony Kart) finally having something to smile about with a P3 finish. Abrahams, MacBeath and Ghazi Motlekar (iCubed Capital / Adams Discount Store Formula-K) finished in the top six.
Overall, Roos claimed victory for the day ahead of de Oliveira and Abrahams. Goosen, Kajee and Ensor-Smith rounded out the top six.
Next up were Motlekar and Ethan Lennon (Tony Kart) ahead of Lucas Royston (Tony Kart) who will be heavily disappointed with his race day but ready to come back fighting in the National.
Remaining positions were claimed by Taya van der Laan (Praga), Luke Hill (Praga), Joshua Smit (Dart Motors / S&S Racing Kosmic), Daniel von Zummeren (Mtati Projects Kosmic) and MacBeath who will also be licking his wounds.
Class newbies Norman (Kosmic) and Jude Stuart (Zanardi) predictably brought up the rear of this experienced pack, with a race day experience neither of them will forget.
From a WPMC Championship perspective, Royston in particular will be thrilled that only the WPMC-based drivers count for points, limiting the damage to his championship. De Oliveira finished top of the WPMC drivers ahead of Lennon and Royston.
Rotax Mini MAX (9 – 13 Years)
Ethan Stier (Stier Racing Team / Flatline SA / Tri Brake & Clutch CRG) claimed pole position in a closely-fought qualifying ahead of Jason MacBeath (Kosmic) and Mikhail Fernandez (CRG).
Stier drove away to victory in race 1 by a significant margin of 2.5s considering how close the qualifying times were. MacBeath came home in second and Fernandez in third.
Stier repeated his maximum points position in race 2, but by a much smaller margin of 0.47s ahead of MacBeath and Fernandez once again.
MacBeath persevered and took the checkered flag in race 3 by 0.15s from Stier, with Fernandez just behind them.
Stier took overall victory for the day ahead of MacBeath and Fernandez. Valentino Hoffman was best of the rest ahead of Paul Malcolm (CRG) and Mischa Williams.
Rotax Junior MAX (12 – 15 Years)
Tate Bishop (ANGRI Kosmic) drew first blood in qualifying, taking pole position ahead of Kyle Visser (RKT FA) and Troy Dolinschek (Makita Power Tools Kosmic).
Bishop converted pole position into victory in race 1, although Dolinschek claimed fastest lap. Visser’s day got off to a disastrous start, retiring after 9 laps and promoting Storm Lanfear (Private Client Financial Kosmic) to third.
Dolinschek rebounded to take victory in race 2 ahead of Bishop and Visser.
Race 3 was another Bishop win in a fantastic day for the youngster. Dolinschek took second ahead of Visser and Lanfear.
Bishop claimed the overall win for the day ahead of Dolischek and Luca Wehrli (FA) who will be thrilled with P3. Visser finished P4 ahead of Lanfear, brothers Kyle le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) and Andre le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) and Thaqib Meyer (Itheko Events Tony Kart).
OKJ (12 – 14 Years)
With only two entrants expected, Jarrod Waberski (D.A.W / Praga SA Praga) and Josh le Roux (Kosmic) used this as practice for the National. Tate Bishop’s late entry added some welcome spice to the race.
Waberski qualified on pole and took victory in race 1, but Bishop claimed fastest lap and second position ahead of le Roux after missing qualifying.
Bishop took the win in race 2 ahead of Waberski and le Roux and repeated his feat in race 3, with the checkered flag a familiar sight for Bishop on the day. This was enough for Bishop to take overall honours for the day.
Rotax Senior MAX (14 Years +)
Charl Visser (RKT FA) showed why he is leading the championship with a commanding pole position, three tenths ahead of Kai van Zijl (Unlimited Auto Kosmic) and a further tenth ahead of Simon Simpson-Heath (MF Consultants Kosmic)
Unfortunately, things went downhill fast for Visser from there. Although he managed P3, P1 and P2 respectively in the three races and provisionally broke the lap record in race 1, he was subsequently disqualified for the day for a technical infringement with zero championship points. Whether the team appeals the decision remains to be seen, but if the DQ stands then Visser’s WPMC Regional Championship battle is over.
The revised results reflect Simpson-Heath with a win in race 1 and van Zijl taking the victory in the other two races.
Van Zijl therefore took the win for the day ahead of Simpson-Heath and Storm Lanfear (Private Client Financial Kosmic). Reece Oellerman (CRG) and Andrew Thomas (Blake Brothers / Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) rounded out the class.
Rotax MAX 175 (32 Years + or >85kg in your shorts)
The three MAX 175 drivers opted to change their entry to Clubmans instead, raising eyebrows about the future of this class at Killarney. It has been difficult to convert Clubmans drivers to MAX 175, with several of last year’s Clubmans drivers moving to DD2 Masters instead.
Only time will tell.
Rotax DD2 (15 Years +) and DD2 Masters (32 Years + or >85kg in your shorts)
Dino Stermin (Phoenix Risk Solutions Tony Kart) claimed pole position with a blisteringly quick time of 40.209s, only 0.089s ahead of second-fastest man Jason Coetzee (CRG). Sebastian Boyd (Boyd Boss Freight) qualified third, narrowly behind Stermin and Coetzee, with Jonathan Thomas (CRG) around three tenths behind Boyd.
Stermin was dominant in race 1, posting a victory with every lap time in the 40s which is remarkably consistent. Coetzee took second place ahead of Boyd and Thomas.
Stermin made it two in a row in race 2. Coetzee broke the DD2 lap record with a 40.413s masterpiece, but suffered a nosecone penalty in the race which demoted him from P2 to P4 behind Boyd and Thomas.
In race 3 Coetzee tasted victory, beating Stermin and Boyd with Thomas coming home in fourth position once again.
Jarryd Evans had a tough day, finishing 13.8s behind the leaders in race 1 and failing to finish the remaining races. Waldo de Wet (Kosmic) had a similarly difficult day with his own reliability issues.
Overall, Stermin took top step with Coetzee P2 and Boyd P3. Thomas, Evans and de Wet rounded out the class.
DD2 Masters qualifying was a strange affair. Ernst Viljoen’s transponder registered a time of 40.922s which was good enough for pole, but was almost a second faster than the quickest time registered on his Mychron. The transponder time must stand though, which saw Viljoen start in a very unfamiliar pole position ahead of Roy Gruer (CRG) and Conor Hughes (Tony Kart).
Order was restored in race 1, as Hughes took victory. Gruer crossed the line in second but a nosecone penalty demoted him to P3 behind Marco Viegas (Paper Perfect CPT Tony Kart). Viljoen and his miracle transponder came home in fourth position. Rob Peché (Carbs and Coffee Media / AD Trading CRG) was delighted with fifth ahead of André Steenkamp (Carbs and Coffee Media CRG) and Harry Georgiou (DDR / Carbs and Coffee Media Zanardi) after a serious coming-together in Golf Club.
Race 2 and race 3 saw victory for Gruer ahead of Hughes and Viegas. Steenkamp got the better of Viljoen in race 3, drawing some blood in the exciting mid-pack fight.
Gruer’s pace on the day was enough for an overall victory by just one point ahead of Hughes. Viegas took P3 on the day ahead of Viljoen, Steenkamp, Peché and Georgiou.
Johan Hamman (Kosmic), Gary Lennon (Tony Kart) and Jared Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG) opted to take their battle to the Clubmans class instead of MAX 175. This isn’t the easiest change to make as although the karts are identical, Clubmans runs the harder D2 tyre as opposed to the softer (and therefore stickier) D5 compound run in MAX 175.
Hamman (2018 Clubmans champion) executed the smoothest transition, taking pole position ahead of brothers Michael Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG) and Jared Jordan (Jordan Racing CRG). Lennon could only manage fourth on the grid ahead of Sean le Riche (Seleka Racing Kosmic) and Dylan Pelton.
Race 1 saw victory for Hamman, undoubtedly the fastest farmer at Killarney. Jared Jordan and Michael Jordan come home in second and third respectively, with Lennon’s unfortunate day continuing with a retirement after just 2 laps.
Race 2 delivered a victory for Jared Jordan, with Lennon finally having something to smile about with a P2 finish ahead of Michael Jordan.
Lennon’s day continued to improve with a win in the final race of the day as he got to grip (literally) with the different tyre compound. Jared Jordan finished P2 ahead of Hamman.
The final classification saw Jared Jordan on the top step of the podium, with Hamman in P2 and Michael Jordan in P3. Le Riche took P4 ahead of Lennon and Pelton
We have now reached the halfway mark in the WPMC Regional Championship. There are titanic battles in practically every class. Everything is still to play for, proving once again that karting is the closest and most gladiatorial form of motorsport.
After the winter break (where there will be plenty of testing), the racing continues at the end of July. In the meantime, karting fans can get another slice of action on 22 June at Killarney at the ROK National.
Photo credit: David Marchio (www.davidmarchio.co.za)
Issued on behalf of Western Province Motor Club (WPMC)