These hairpins stand between winners and losers in the weekend’s karting champs at iDube, dubbed the best karting track in the world. Entry is free!
Local racers Habig and Whiting in the hunt for championship points at iDube’s twisty track
PERCHED on a steep hillside in KZN, the tricky iDube Kart Circuit will on Saturday see a fierce points tussle in the Top DD2 Gearbox Class between a veteran from Port Elizabeth and a youngster from Cape Town as karters race in the SA Karting National Championship.
The unique layout of the track allows super-fast downhill sections followed by very tight hairpin bends and a long trek back up the mountain.
Karters have to show exceptional braking skills and their engines tuned to low- to mid-range torque to win at iDube. Because no other circuit in the country poses these challenges, karters who race here in the regional rounds of the SA Rotax Max Challenge have traditionally been favoured as the four-round Rotax series moves to iDube.
Several KZN karters are ready to show the visitors how its done.
Chief amongst local heroes is Benjamin Habig, born and raised in the Tongaat area and the son of famous SA Rally Champion Jan Habig.
Benjamin has come very close to winning the DD2 Gearbox Class National Championship in previous seasons, and this year he lies fourth in the points tally, scoring fourth and fifth places in all six national races counting towards the championship so far.
He has been dominant in Regional races at iDube, and a string of wins here will put him right back into contention when the final round of the SA Rotax Max Challenge National Championship series plays out at Adrenalin Raceway in Vereening in July.
Another local driver who could spoil the party for the visiting drivers is Robert Whiting. Always quick and consistent, he is lying just outside the top six in the DD2 points table.
But so far this season, the DD2 Class has been all about three drivers. Michael Stephen, multiple SA Production Car Champion, is in the unique position of leading both the DD2 overall points race and the DD2 Masters Category. The Port Elizabeth driver made a serious come-back to karting last year, to clinch the DD2 Masters category (for drivers aged 32 and over) and this year he could score a DD2 double.
But a youngster who’ll be out to spoil the senior driver’s year is Cape Town’s Julian van der Watt, trailing Stephen by just two points in the DD2 category, after a clean sweep of wins in Round One, in April.
And then there is Bradley Liebenberg, reigning SA DD2 Champion and also current star in the VW Cup series on the major circuits. Lonehill-based Liebenberg ran Stephen oh-so-close for overall victory in Round Two at Port Elizabeth, and he knows what it takes to win at this level.
Fourth overall is Habig, with Gauteng-based Justin Allison lying fifth in DD2, ahead of Cape Town’s Jonathan Thomas.
In the DD2 Masters category Stephen has a full-house of wins at National level. But in second place is KZN driver Jonathan Pieterse, another “local” who could upset Stephen’s dream of a “double”.
Nick Verheul from Edenvale is currently lying third, and a fitness programme has seen him attain good form of late.
As far as local knowledge in this category for older drivers is concerned, look out for KZN’s Mahomed Bhabha, who could prove very quick in the Masters category at iDube.