Perfect Cape Town weather, close racing and a fair share of controversy were all part of the script at Killarney’s opening round of the 2016 South African National Karting Championship, but the weekend will likely better be remembered for the fact that local drivers proved totally dominant.
Not only did Western Province Motorsport Club karters Julian van der Watt, Dino Stermin, Sebastian Boyd, Joseph Oelz and Charl Visser each win one of the five national categories that made up the meeting, but local racers won thirteen of Saturday’s fifteen races too and with most classes offering their champions a seat in the Rotax Max World Finals in Italy in October, Cape karting once again starts the season on a high note.
Killarney is well known as a hard nut to crack for visiting karters and Saturday proved no exception with three of the winners unbeaten over the weekend, but this year saw a local lad coming out on top of the fastest Rotax DD2 shifter class too for the first time when Formula Ford frontrunner Julian van der Watt (Kosmic) came from behind each time to beat SA DD2 champion and Jozi Polo Cup racer Bradley Liebenberg (Birel) and Masters class winner, Port Elizabeth’s multiple SA Production Car champion and GTC racer Michael Stephen.
Another Cape driver and VW Polo Cup racer Umpie Swart (Birel) was fourth in DD2 from Durbanite Benjamin Habig (TonyKart), former WP champ Jonathan Thomas (Partners CRG), Bloem driver Justin Allison (Tony Kart) and Tristan de Nobrega, Robert Whiting and Michael Buchholz rounding off the top ten. Stephen was the clear winner of the slightly heavier Masters class for drivers over 30 years old where Jonathan Pieterse and Marouan Selmi ended up tied on second place points.
The open age group 125cc Rotax Max Challenge is one class where Cape drivers have regularly dominated over the years and this year was no exception when reigning SA Junior Max champion Dino Stermin (Kosmic) overcame a difficult first heat to take two hard fought wins to take overall honours for the day. Benoni lad Delon Thompson (Kosmic) had the rare distinction of beating the locals in the first heat en route to second from local lad Delano Fowler (TonyKart), Durban’s Jordan Sherratt (Birel), lovely Northern Regions Max Challenge champion, Miss Fabienne Lanz (Formula K), Cape lad Chadley Swartz (Kosmic), Joshua Dias and two more lady drivers in Ivana Cetinich and Shannon Jackson.
Although it was no walk in the park, Sebastian Boyd (Kosmic) made no mistakes en route to three fine race wins and a dominant maiden national high school 125cc Junior Max victory over local rival Daniel Duminy who drove a characteristically steady weekend to bring his Kosmic home second from Johannesburg driver Blaine Rademeyer (Birel), Worcester lad JP Hamman (Kosmic), Mozambican Karl Pitzer (FA), Durbanite Dominic Lincoln (Tony) and local lad Andrew Rackstraw (Tony).
Cameron O’Connor, Storm Lanfear and Jason Coetzee rounded off the Junior Max top ten, but Coetzee, who was second to Boyd in the first and third heats, was party to a controversial second heat last lap that saw him excluded from that heat and Dario Busi, who had led most of that heat excluded for the day for their parts in some questionable last lap race 2 tactics…
Joseph Oelz (Zanardi) was unstoppable en route to his trio of 60cc primary school Maxterino wins amid a Cape Town rout where local drivers Kai van Zijl (CRG) and Kosmic trio Troy Dolinschek, Tate Bishop and Jason MacBeath took the top five places. Jozi lad Kwanda Mokoena (FA) ended sixth from race 1 & 2 second place driver Charl Visser (Zanardi) as upcountry kids Anthony Pretorius, Jordan Brooks and Joshua de Paiva rounded out the top ten.
There may have been just one Cape driver on the other primary school 60cc Mini Rok grid, but that did not prevent wildcard Charl Visser (Zanardi) from winning it. Visser was first home in all three races but was docked five places for a startline infringement to hand Kwanda Makoena (FA) a rare out of town victory in the finale.
Jozi Kosmic trio Jayden Els, Daniele Patrizi and Saood Variawa were next up from PE lightie Joshua Coertze, Daniel de Paiva, Leyton Fourie, Cameron Dias and Jarrod Waberski. Visser’s Mini Rok win was however all the more impressive considering that he bounced straight back to win the second Mini Rok race immediately after being significantly shaken up when thrown from his kart in a hefty second race Maxteino crash.
Now all that remains to be seen is if Cape Town’s karters can continue to dominate the national races away from home. The second round of the SA national karting championship follows in Port Elizabeth on Workers Day 1 May.