Coetzee an SA hero on World Final debut
Durbanville, Cape Town karting star Jason Coetzee may have headed to the Rotax World Karting Finals in Portugal on the back foot last week, but the DF Malan Hoer Skool fifteen-year old came home as the toast of the team’s DD2 field after delivering a stunning performance in only his second race in that premier Rotax class.
Coetzee earned a DD2 gearbox kart place in the South African team by taking the non-gearbox Senior Max seat at the Zwartkops African Open earlier of the year, which was a bit of a curved ball as Jason had not even driven a gearbox kart at the time. That did not stop the young man from taking the bull by the horns as he arrived in Portugal as the youngest and least experienced DD2 driver on the grid, racing against national champions from around the world.
Coetzee did not disappoint, emerging among the cream of the SA DD2 crop as he went furthest into the competition than any of his teammates, finishing 14th out of 36 drivers in the pre-final to miss the final cut by all of five points. “That was so good!” a delighted Jason admitted. “What a great experience — it’s just a pity that everything came together a bit too late.
“I had never driven a gearbox kart before October, so I had to adapt to racing with gears and we also had to learn about the Birel chassis we all drove in Portugal and which I raced for the first time, in a very short time, but I am very happy with my 14th in that pre-final, especially considering that I was the youngest driver in the class in only my second race in a DD2 kart.
“Of course I would have preferred to have made it into the Final, but now I have so much more experience and confidence to carry in to next year’s racing and rally I want that ticket next year! “I need to thank my team — Dennis from CRG Holland , my mechanic Joost and Umpie my mentor for keeping me focused.
“Most of all I want to thank my mom and dad for their investment in my sport to allow me to me reach for my dream — I would never have achieved any of it without them.