Summarize

WhatNorthern Regions Karting Round 1 Preview
WhereZwartkops International Kart Raceway, Pretoria
WhenSaturday 17 February 2018
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Northern Regions season starts Saturday

The 2018 Northern Regions Karting championships kick off when the Rand Kart Club hosts the first round at the Zwartkops International Kart Track Saturday 17 February, where some old rivalries can be expected to be rekindled at the highest level and new ones joined. 

There’s a new-look to the local series, with the old air-cooled Maxterino 60s now replaced by a pair of pukka Rotax Max classes to better cater for the broad 7-13 year old age group above the baby Cadets. Both these classes now use Rotax 125cc water-cooled engines in their simplest states of tune, while the open class DD2 gearbox and re-tuned Rotax Senior Max and popular Junior Max continue as before with more highly tuned variants of the same engine architecture.   

The top DD2 class will see even quicker action this year thanks to latest laser-printed engine port technology and full grids of both the regular under-31 and old man Masters classes looking better than ever in all provinces. The DD2 lads will have to contend with the lovely Ivana Cetinich this year, although Cetinich will miss the first round to recuperate from recent surgery. That should leave the way open for Masters regular Philippe Chapat, brothers Brandon and Jamie Smith, Nathan Hammond, Nicolas Spanoyannis, Carlo Gil, Dayne van Rensburg, Jean-Pierre Joubert and Anton Pommersheim fighting it out for top honours in Pretoria on Saturday.

The effervescent Senior Max enjoys a step up this year with more — and more consistent power on tap this season thanks to that new 3D digital cylinder technology and stickier tyres for 2018 attracting fresh interest to grow the class. Expect the likes of Wayland Wyman, Carlo Olivier and Baksi Komane to make the running up front and Ian Allnutt, Damian Hammond, Farhaan Basha and Taiibi Tucci to all be in with a shout too. East London lass Shannon Jackson and former DD2 star Euan Taylor are two big names making a comeback in 2018…

The under-15 Junior Max class is really strong as always for 2018 and this one is set to be a melting pot of newly promoted primary school champions countrywide this year. 2016 World Mini Max champion Jayden Els stole the 2017 NR Junior Max title in his rookie year and he’ll be out to stamp his authority on a wild field of tough high school age kids including 2017 SA Mini Max champion Leyton Fourie, 2017 SA Mini Rok champion Kwanda Mokoena and regular primary school frontrunners; Jarrod Waberski, Daniel De Paiva and Ethan Coetzee. Don’t forget Junior Max regulars, leading karting lasses Tiffany Napier and Cameron Dias as well as the likes of Alesio Angelucci, Connor Donovan, Jonathan Tapuch and Alexi Taliotes among this lot.

The change to Rotax Max classes at primary school level has been met with great support — not least of all in a huge field in under-11 Micro Max that is now the biggest class in Karting country wide. There is however one man to beat in the Micro class and that’s SA champ Muhammad Wally, who dominated last year. Never underestimate the likes of 2016 NR Cadet champion Mohammed Moerat, the quick Joshua De Paiva, Rayn Asmal, Moosa Kajee or Luke Hill from this equation though, while Kyle Beukes, Jayden Goosen, Hriday Pooren and Nathan Shana are all likely to have an important say too.

Things are likely to get off to a slightly slower start in under-13 Mini Max though as most of last year’s frontrunners are now too old and exiled to race in Junior Max, and many top Micro Max front runners are electing to do another year in the  super popular Micro Max class. Still, Josh Le Roux, Reece Fuller, Mandla Malangeni and Troy Snyman are among the quicker kids likely to race hard here, while and Taya Van Der Laan and Melandri van Wyk were on form in the recent club races.

The baby under-8 year old Cadet class is another that’s set to grow thanks to new cost saving measures and re-configured specifications coming into play. Little Cyril Jacobs, Tshepang Shisinwana and Aadam Kajee can be expected to star in the smallest and youngest class in four-wheeled racing while Goran Gruben, Enzo Rujugiro and Troy Van Der Laan are out to learn and improve every race.

Saturday should be a most entertaining day at the Zwartkops International Kart Raceway situated at the Zwartkops Raceway on the R55 just outside Laudium, Pretoria. Entrance is free and the facility offers great grub at the clubhouse with full amenities and of course, an entire afternoon of spellbinding kart racing at its best…