Less is also more in kart­ing

STU­ART JOHN­STON rates the con­tenders as new classes see stronger fields for bet­ter rac­ing

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING -

A WEL­COME ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion of classes sees a new look to the first Na­tional Kart­ing Cham­pi­onship meet­ing of 2016, which takes place at Cape Town’s Kil­lar­ney Kart Cir­cuit on April 2.

Three classes have been dropped for the of­fi­cial MSA cham­pi­onships, these be­ing Ju­nior Rok, Su­per Rok and the X30 Shifter classes.

The re­sult is that for 2016 the classes are Max­terino, Mini Rok, Ju­nior Max, Se­nior Max and DD2/ DD2 Masters.

This should see stronger fields in the se­nior classes, and race days that are bet­ter- paced, as with the pre­vi­ous sys­tem it was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to pack­age so many classes into one day’s rac­ing.

Cape Town is ex­tremely strong in the ju­nior classes, es­pe­cially in the Max­terino se­ries for driv­ers aged be­tween eight and 13- year­sold. So, vis­it­ing driv­ers from Gaut­eng, KwaZulu- Natal and the East­ern Cape will have their work cut out to be on the pace.

The Cape trio of Joseph Oelz, Charl Visser and Troy Dolin­schek are ex­tremely strong on their home cir­cuit and likely to qual­ify within a few 1 000ths of a sec­ond of each other, at the sharp end of the grid.

But it would be un­wise to ig­nore chal­lenges from Aqil Alib­hai, Anthony Pre­to­rius and Jor­dan Brooks, up- coun­try rac­ers who have al­ready shown great form this sea­son.

In the Mini Rok class, which caters to the same age- group as the Max­terino se­ries, it is likely to be an all- Gaut­eng show.

Here the young­sters to watch are Kwanda Mokoena, Joshua Coetzee, Jay­den Els, Saood Vari­awa and Cameron Dias.

In the Ju­nior Max it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how quickly grad­u­ates who were highly com­pet­i­tive in Max­terino and Mini Rok in 2015 will fare in this much more pow­er­ful 125 cc class.

No­table amongst these is Ai­dan Stry­dom, who will be in his first sea­son in this class for driv­ers aged 13- to16- years- old. An­other is Blaine Rade­meyer.

From Mozam­bique, Karl Pitzer is ex­pected to be quick, as he won the first re­gional race in Gaut­eng a month ago, while Cameron O’Con­nor is also ex­pected to fly.

Lo­cals Joshua Coetzee, Se­bas­tian Boyd and Dan Lo­choff will have home- cir­cuit ad­van­tage, with Daniel Du­miny from KwaZulu- Natal and Luca Munaretto from Vereenig­ing be­ing wild cards for a win.

In the Se­nior Max, a class for driv­ers 15 years and older, a young­ster to watch is last year’s Ju­nior Max champ, Dino Ster­min.

This Cape driver and his “com- pa­triot” Delano Fowler are said to be ex­pected to fly at Kil­lar­ney in 2016, while Gaut­eng chal­lengers will be Fa­bi­enne Lanz, Delon Thomp­son and Joshua Dias.

East Lon­don’s Shan­non Jack­son is also very quick, as is fel­lowlady driver Ivana Ce­tinich.

A name miss­ing from the kart­ing ac­tion in 2016 is Jonathan Aberdein, the 2015 Se­nior Max cham­pion.

Aberdein has been se­lected for on For­mula 4 in­ter­na­tional sin­gle seat rac­ing in Europe and all karters will wish him well as he steps up yet an­other mo­tor- sport­ing gear.

In 2016 the top gear­box Na­tional class, DD2 sees both the se­nior driv­ers ( 15- years- old and older) and the Masters ( 32 years old and older) com­pete to the same weight limit, whereas pre­vi­ously the Masters ran to a limit eight kilo­gram heav­ier than the younger driv­ers.

As shown by early club and re­gional races this year, some of the “old- timers” are prov­ing very com­pet­i­tive against the young­sters. Chief amongst these “oldies” is Michael Stephen, mul­ti­ple SA Pro­duc­tion car champ who ohso- nearly won the Masters cat­e­gory at Ro­tax Grand fi­nals in Por­tu­gal last year, lead­ing for 18 laps be­fore be­ing punted out.

Cape driv­ers who are ex­pected to be strong here in­clude Luke Her­ring, Ju­lian van der Watt and Jurie Swart, all com­peti­tors who have ex­celled in the ju­nior ranks.

Luke Her­ring, a mul­ti­ple SA kart­ing cham­pion, is likely to be su­per- strong on his home cir­cuit, while Jonathon Thomas is an­other Cape run­ner who could find him­self right at the front of the grid af­ter qual­i­fy­ing. Van der Watt, in­ci­den­tally was a For­mula Ford run­ner up in that cham­pi­onship last year.

If re­cent form is an in­di­ca­tion, Gaut­eng’s Rachelle du Plessis and Justin Ali­son from Bloem­fontein will be on the pace, while in the Masters divi­sion, Marouan Selmi, Ron­nie Bap­tista and Nick Ver­heul and have all shown great form.

From KwaZulu- Natal Ben­jamin Habig is ex­pect­ing to chal­lenge strongly again for the ti­tle, as is masters com­peti­tor Jonathan Pieterse.

Robert Whit­ing is an­other who, on his day, is equally ca­pa­ble of win­ning this fastest, and most­com­pet­i­tive class in SA kart­ing.

Fields for this halo for­mula of SA kart­ing are now ap­proach­ing 30 karts, in­di­cat­ing that kart­ing is one of the go- to for­mu­lae in SA mo­tor­sport.

• For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.kart.co.za, or call Jen­nifer Ver­heul at 082 294 7485.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

KZN top karter Ben­jamin Habig will chal­lenge for the ti­tle as fastest mas­ter in the coun­try in Cape Town on Satur­day.

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