Laserfiche delivers NR fireworks
Saturday’s second round Northern Regions Karting Championship races at Vereeniging’s Laserfiche Raceway will be remembered for a number of reasons — not least a most dramatic day on track highlighted by phenomenal racing across the board. There were multiple winners in several classes and unexpected overall wins on a day that saw multiple penalties, while an afternoon shower even further stirred it up and it all went down in a mini national atmosphere with several drivers up from around the country in preparation of the National Championship round at this circuit coming up in two weeks time.
Perhaps the most dramatic action of the day went down in high school Rotax Junior Max in a trio of races whose lap charts look more like bowls of spaghetti and which results remain provisional too. Neither overall winner Daniele Patrizi nor second man Jarrod Waberski won a race on the day, but third placed Cape Town visitor, Joseph Oelz up to prepare for that Rotax Max national in two weeks time, dominated the opening two heats. A clash with Kwanda Mokoena took Oelz out of the lead of the final as the two plummeted down the field and dropped them to third and fourth on the day ahead of race 3 winner Jayden Els in fifth.
Els had earlier tangled with Aqil Alibhai to see both of them out of the first race, but the former Mini Max world champion worked his way back to the front to again scrap with Alibhai in the final, before Aquil slipped back to end sixth in that race. Another two Cape visitors, Charl Visser who struggled in spite of good pace and Simon Simpson-Heath were sixth and seventh ahead of Ethan Coetzee, Nathi Msimanga, Alessio Angelucci and Zaeem Goolam. Regular Junior Max frontrunners Leyton Fourie, Tiffany Napier, Alibhai, Joseph Ellerine, Cameron Dias and Daniel de Paiva rounded out the results in what was without doubt a day of significant attrition.
Bradley Liebenberg benefited Arnold Neveling suffering not one, but two five-second nose cone penalties to rob Neveling of the first two Rotax DD2 gearbox class race wins and take the day from Neveling, who finally managed to win the final, but not before helping Cape visitor Jurie Swart out of the lead early on. Swart fought back to fourth in the final to take third for the day ahead of Cape compatriot and teammate Jason Coetzee, Bloemfontein driver Justin Allison, Benjamin Habig from Durban and Jordan North from Northcliff.
Masters winner Richard Fuller, returning lady star Ivana Cetinich and Anton Pommersheim rounded off the DD2 top ten ahead of Pascal Acquaah, Nathan Hammond, Nicholas Spanoyannis, Jamie Smith, while Llewllyn Myburghled lad home troubled Masters trio Philippe Chapat, Jean-Pierre Joubert and Cristiano Morgado, all three of whom hit trouble in the second and third races.
Perhaps the most confusing class of the day, Rotax Junior Max saw three different race winners after Liam Pienaar took the opening race before hitting trouble in the next two. That left Wayland Wyman to win race 2, but only after Cape visitor Jason Coetzee was excluded from first on a technicality. Coetzee then bounced back to deliver a decisive win in the final, coming from last on the grid to take the lead on lap 3 after making an inspired gamble to race on slicks following an afternoon squawl just before race 3. The track then dried quickly, catching the rest out as Coetzee raced away to win at ease.
So Wyman took the overall Senior win in the end from Vaal local Joshua Dias, Durban duo Cristiano Morgado and Dominic Lincoln, Pretoria driver Nicholas Verheul and East London lass Shannon Jackson. Shrien Naidoo ended seventh from race 1 winner Pienaar, Ian Allnutt, Damian Hammond, Luvuyu Mobwano, race 3 winner Coetzee, Farhaan Basha and Carlo Olivier.
In primary school action, two Cape Town visitors, Mikhail Fernandez and Kyle Visser benefited from race 1 and 2 winner Joshua de Paiva retiring from the lead of the final to take first and second overall in under-13 Mini Max. Fernandez eventually came from behind to beat Visser to the flag in the final and steal the win from Visser, with de Paiva third and best of the locals after all ahead of Jordan Brooks, Liam De Beer and Mathew Morrell. Josh le Roux, Jayden Goosen, Jagger Robertson and Moosa Kajee completed the top ten ahead of Taya van der Laan, Mandla Mlangeni, Troy Snyman, Reece Fuller and Melandri van Wyk.
Under-11 Rotax Micro Max delivered a pair of relatively straightforward races after Mohammed Moerat and Luke Hill tangled early on to leave Joshua de Paiva to clear off to the race 1 win from Moerat. De Paiva took race 2 from Muhammad Wally, but a damp track stirred things up in the final, where Moerat, de Paiva and Wally duked it out before Moerat brought it home to win the final and the day from de Paiva. KC Ensor Smith’s final race second was enough to see him into third overall from Wally, while Luviwe Sambudla took a couple of thirds en route to fifth overall ahead of Kent Swartz, Kyle Beukes, Troy Snyman, Luke Hill and Hriday Pooren in tenth. Wian Boshoff, Cyril Jacobs, Rayn Asmal, Mika Abrahams, Dhivyen Naidoo and Erich Heystek entertained in their hard dices for the minor placings.
Cyril Jacobs took under-8 kindergarden Cadet honours two-races-to-one over Tshepang Shisinwana, but only after Shisinwana took a 5 place penalty for a race 2 jump start to hand the win — and the day to Jacobs. Anesu Maphumulo ended up third from Aadam Kajee and Goran Gruban, with Troy van der Laan next up from Enzo Rujugiro and Keagan Beaumant.
A damp last race did little to prevent Kenny Garcia from storming to a dominant Clubmans Senior win over Jeandre le Roux and Ivan Hartley, while Johan van der Walt took a similarly compelling Clubman veterans win over Maurice Garcia, Lionel Black and Andre le Roux.
The Laserfiche Raceway now prepares for the second round of the South African Rotax Max Challenge National Championship Saturday 28 April before the Northern Regions racers head to Zwartkops for the third round of the Gauteng championships a week later on 5 May.