Ro­tax Max Chal­lenge kart­ing de­liv­ers high-speed tum­bles

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING - STU­ART JONHSTON

JUSTIN Al­li­son from Bloem­fontein did as we pre­dicted in

Wheels last week to win the ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive DD2 Gear­box Class head­liner race of the sec­ond Na­tional round in the 2015 South African Ro­tax Max Chal­lenge kart­ing ex­trav­a­ganza.

The race meet­ing, which saw karters com­pete in four dif­fer­ent Ro­tax cat­e­gories, was no­table for a se­ries of high-speed tum­bles and clashes be­tween front-run­ners, and a num­ber of penal­ties were im­posed in the var­i­ous classes.

For­tu­nately there were no se­ri­ous in­juries, although one karter was taken to hos­pi­tal for a check-up af­ter a crash in the Satur­day morn­ing warm-up.

Held at the Vereenig­ing Kart race­way on Satur­day, Al­li­son was fol­lowed home by Jonathan Aberdein from Cape Town and in sec­ond place and KZN’s Ben­jamin Habig in third.

Habig led Race Two at one stage.

In the DD2 Mas­ters cat­e­gory, for driv­ers 32 years and older, Potchef­stroom’s Ron­nie Bap­tista emerged the win­ner af­ter his main ri­val, Dur­ban’s cham­pion Cris Mor­gado, suf­fered a huge cart-wheel­ing crash in the sec­ond race.

He was luck­ily un­in­jured, leav­ing the track af­ter avoid­ing a spin­ning com­peti­tor. Master’s stal­wart John van Wyk (now based in Eng­land) took sec­ond, ahead of Ni­cholas Ver­heul, who suf­fered ex­haust valve prob­lems in the sec­ond race, but bounced back to fin­ish sec­ond in the fi­nal race.

Max Chal­lenge

Jonathan Aberdein has set him­self the am­bi­tious SA Cham­pi­onship task of com­pet­ing in both DD2 and the non-gear­box Ro­tax Max Chal­lenge class this year, the two top cat­e­gories in in­ter­na­tional kart­ing.

And once again he was at the cut­ting edge of the grid, and, con­se­quently, the cen­tre of some con­tro­versy.

Dic­ing with Race One win­ner Jor­dan Sher­rat (KZN) in the sec­ond race, on the fi­nal lap the two dis­puted the same piece of tar­mac three corners away from the che­quered flag, with Aberdein eas­ing Sher­rat wide and Sher­rat in turn short-cut­ting over the grass to win.

The re­sult­ing stew­ards meet­ing re­versed this or­der, with quick lady driver Fa­bi­enne Lanz in third. How­ever, for over­all hon­ours it was Natal’s Luca Can­derle who had the last laugh. His sec­ond place in Race One and a fourth in Race Two was fol­lowed up by a win in the fi­nal, to see him de­clared win­ner for the day.

His de­ci­sion to com­pete in Max Chal­lenge as well as DD2 is thus pay­ing div­i­dends for this very quick and ex­pe­ri­enced driver.

Ju­nior Max Chal­lenge

With an ul­tra-strong field of 18 karts en­tered for this class for driv­ers aged 13 to 16, the fu­ture for kart­ing bodes well in South Africa. As in­deed the rac­ing proved, with any one of six driv­ers in con­tention for the lead through­out the three races held over the week­end. The only driver miss­ing from this bunch early on was the un­for­tu­nate Luca Munaretto, who qual­i­fied fifth on the Fri­day, but was in­volved in an ac­ci­dent straight af­ter­wards as he slowed down af­ter set­ting his lap time, and he was out for the week­end.

Thus the race for over­all hon­ours de­vel­oped be­tween Gaut­eng ace Joshua Dias and KZN kart­ing re­turnee and for­mer Max­terino cham­pion Clin­ton Bezuiden­hout.

These two shared the wins and dis­puted the race lead all week­end, and Dias in fact was look­ing good for an over­all vic­tory, but was docked five places af­ter jump­ing the start in Race 3! Thus the over­all win for Round Two went to the giveno-quar­ter Bezuiden­hout.

If ei­ther of these two made the slight­est slip there was a train of four driv­ers right on their rear axles the en­tire week­end. Jason Coet­zee from Cape Town placed third over­all, from KZN’s Do­minic Lin­coln, fol­lowed by two more Cape driv­ers, Dino Ster­min and De­lano Fowler.

Max­terino

The Max­terino cat­e­gory for 60 cc karts is the Na­tional Cham­pi­onship class for the small­est driv­ers in the 2015 SARMC but ar­guably the most com­pet­i­tive!

Some 18 driv­ers took the start in Race One, and the favourite, Kwanda Makoena duly won the first heat on Fri­day.

How­ever his Satur­day morn­ing warm-up shunt put him out for the week­end and this left the way clear for the likes of the in­cred­i­bly de­ter­mined Ai­dan Stry­dom from Cape Town (win­ner of Round One on home turf) and Gaut­eng’s Cameron O’Con­nor to fight things out.

They were joined in bat­tle by Gu­ateng’s Zaood Vari­awa and another bunch of quick Cape driv­ers, in­clud­ing Joseph Oelz and Troy Dolin­schek.

A fea­ture of this rac­ing was the way these driv­ers passed and re-passed each other many times a lap, and yet still man­aged to leave room for each other on the exit of a cor­ner.

At close of play it was O’Con­nor that won the day from Vari­awa, with Stry­dom third over­all ,af­ter look­ing like a po­ten­tial win­ner all week­end but tan­gling at cru­cial mo­ments. Fourth was Oelz, fol­lowed by Dolin­schek, and yet another quick Cape driver, Charl Visser. • The third round of the 2015 South African Ro­tax Max Chal­lenge is to be held at the Idube Race­way in the KwaZulu-Natal Mid­lands, in Au­gust, with the fi­nal round sched­uled for Oc­to­ber at the Zwartkops Race­way, west of Pre­to­ria.

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