Thrilling end to Karting Nationals
THE 2016 South African Karting Nationals came to a thrilling end at Vereeniging when six drivers were crowned champions at the Vereeniging Kart track on Saturday.
Joshua Coertze came from behind to steal the Mini Rok title, Charl Visser held on to win the Maxterino title, Cameron O’Connor stole the Junior Max championship, Dino Stermin lifted a somewhat controversial Senior Max title and Bradley Liebenberg and Michael Stephen are the 2016 DD2 and DD2 Masters champions, subject to final MSA ratification.
Johannesburg youngster Bradley Liebenberg wrapped up his third SA DD2 championship on the trot in SA karting’s quickest gearbox class, adding the 2016 prize to his 2104 and 2015 gongs. Liebenberg, who is also making a name for himself in Polo Cup racing, reeled off three wins and a second race third place to win the day and cement his position as the King of DD2 as he booked his place at the Rotax Max World Finals in Italy in October. Liebenberg won six races in 2016 en route to his third DD2 title in a row.
Third on the day, second overall in DD2 and Masters winner, multiple SA Production Car champion Michael Stephen added yet another South African racing title to his name as he booked his ticket to the DD2 Masters World Final.
Port Elizabeth driver Stephen was also second in the overall DD2 championship ahead of Durban lad Benjamin Habig, who took the second race win to clinch second on the day from Stephen.
Benoni lad Delon Thompson delivered four brilliant race wins to turn the tables on Dino Stermin in the Senior Max 125 cc championship, but a last race penalty turned the tables to see Stermin emerge as the provisional 2016 South African Senior Max champion. Thompson’s penalty also handed Jozi lady kart heroine Fabienne Lanz the class win for the day, one point ahead of Stellenbosch lad Delano Fowler. The 125 cc Junior Max gang was always going to fight for championship honours, with six drivers within 12 championship points heading into the Finals, but Johannesburg driver Cameron O’ Connor took no prisoners to win the first two races and wrest the championship lead from Camps Bay lad Sebastian Boyd.
Ballito’s Daniel Duminy, who was nudged off track to finish down the field in the first of four high school 125 cc Junior Max races on Saturday, congratulated O’Connor. Duminy said he now looks ahead to his next race in the VW Polo Cup: “I’m looking forward to hop in and race my blue machine at Zwartkops in a few weeks’ time — bring it on!”. There was always going to be tears in the two primary school karting classes, where Kyalami lightie Kwanda Mokoena and Cape Town kid Charl Visser went into the Maxterino 60 cc title on even points, but Visser’s better points drop scenario required him to win one race, which he did in the second heat. From there Charl looked on as Kwanda raced to three race wins, but Visser beat Mokoena to the title by all of 0,25 points.
That was in spite of Kwanda winning seven races through the season to Charl’s three, but the Cape driver’s consistency in scoring podiums did the trick in the end. Cape quartet Troy Dolinschek, Joseph Oelz, Tate Bishop and Kai van Zijl filled out the SA national Maxterino championship top six. Four of the South African champions crowned on Saturday — Bradley Liebenberg, Michael Stephen, Dino Stermin and Cameron O’Connor — will now represent South Africa at the Rotax Max World Finals in Italy in October. They will be joined by the winners in their respective DD2, Masters, Senior and Junior Max classes at the forthcoming wildcard African Open at Zwartkops.
Two Western Cape Town drivers (Stermin and Visser), two Gauteng drivers (Liebenberg and O’Connor) and two Port Elizabeth drivers (Stephen and Coertze) shared the six 2016 South African Karting crowns. — Motorsport Media.