Home hero Arnold takes Laserfiche glory
The second round of the South African Rotax Max Challenge national karting championship produced racing of the highest order as usual across five classes fought out by the country’s top karters on another ideal Highveld afternoon at Vereeniging’s Laserfiche Raceway, but it was Vereeniging local hero Arnold Neveling who ultimately proved indomitable in the premier DD2 gearbox class.
Neveling won all three races but not before a hard fight each time, to win the day from Durban driver Benjamin Habig and Jurie Swart from Cape Town, while Port Elizabeth’s Michael Stephen took fourth en route to the Masters win and another pair of Capetonians, Luke Herring and Jonathan Thomas ended up fifth and sixth. Johannesburg driver Bradley Liebenberg led race from the opening lap until lap 8, when he lost lost four places as Neveling took the lead, but Liebenberg fought back to end up to take third behind Swart.
Then Herring led race 3 for a few laps until being pulled into the dice behind, leaving Neveling to once again make off up front to beat Liebenberg, Habig, Herring and Swart home. Race 3 was another robust affair as Habig, Herring and Liebenberg led the way until Liebenerg and Herring clashed, earning Herring a 5 place penalty, before Neveling fought back to win from Habig, Cape driver Jason Coetzee and Swart.
Cristiano Morgado ended up 7th overall and second in Masters, with Coetzee next up from Liebenberg and Brandon Smith in tenth, Sebastian Boyd, Robert Whiting, Ivana Cetinich, Jordan North and Daniel Duminy; Masters man Pascal Acquaah, Anton Pommersheim and Masters trio Brett Brito, Bryn High and Jonathan Pieterse closed off the top twenty. Neveling now leads the close-fought DD2 national title race from Habig, Stephen, Morgado and Swart.
Wayland Wyman never won a heat en route to Senior Max honours for the day over Shrien Naidoo and race 1 and 2 winner, Durban lad Dominic Lincoln in a dramatic day in Senior Max. Jason Coetzee led most of race 1 only to lose out to Lincoln and Wayman at the flag, but the Cape Town driver was later excluded on a technicality to promote Jonathan Pieterse to third. Lincoln then led most of race 2 from Verheul, but had to fight a resurgent Wayman off in the end, with Nick Verheul third from Coetzee who fought through from the back.
Coetzee then scored a lights to flag win from Naidoo and Wyman after Lincoln stopped early on and Verheul retired late in the race. Pieterse ended up fourth for the day from Verheul, Carlo Olivier and Riley Horner, while Ian Allnut, Luvuyo Mobwano and Dane van Heerde closed off the top ten ahead of Coetzee and Cristiano Morgado who missed race 2. That all leaves Jonathan Pieterse in a close Senior Max championship lead over Wyman, Lincoln, Verheul, Olivier and van Heerde.
Cape Town drivers dominated the under-15 high school Junior Max races, with Joseph Oelz beating compatriot Charl Visser two races to one and Jozi lads Aqil Alibhai, Leyton Fourie and Daniel de Paiva next up ahead of another Cape driver, Simon Simpson-Heath. Visser came from seventh to win race 1 over Alibhai after Oelz had led from the start but dropped back later on to end third before Oelz then got ahead of Fourie early and went on to win. Oelz then led race 3 from early on to win from Visser, who fought back to second over Daniele Patrizi.
Patrizi ended up seventh overall from first round winner Jarrod Waberski, Tate Bishop and Zaeem Goolam in tenth; Joseph Ellerine, Sebastian Smith, Ethan Coetzee and Nathi Msimanga with troubled trio Kwanda Mokoena, Tiffany Napier and Jayden Els next up. The upshot of all that is Charl Visser now leads the championship overall from Alibhai and Oelz, Waberski and Fourie.
Jozi kid Jordan Brooks was unstoppable as he delivered a trio of race wins en route to an emphatic under-13 primary school Mini Max win for the day over local rivals Joshua de Paiva and Liam de Beer with Cape lads Mikhail Fernandez and the unfortunate Kyle Visser next up. Brooks and Visser diced for the lead until lap 8, when Visser dropped back to sixth, leaving de Paiva and de Beer to pick up second and third. Visser then led race 2 all the way only to be pipped to the post by Brooks, before Brooks and Visser diced for race 3 until Visser dropped back after a bump to leave Brooks to win.
Josh le Roux was sixth for the day from Mandla Mlangeni, Elam Modiba, Jagger Robertson and Joaquin De Oliveira in tenth ahead of Jayden Goosen, Melandri van Wyk and Simone Jacobs. Mikhail Fernandez and Liam de Beer now share the South African Mini Max title chase, with Josh le Roux and Joshua de Paiva tied for second ahead of Kyle Visser and Joaquin de Oliveira split by just two points at the championship half way point.
Muhammad Wally was another local lad to race to a triple win on the day when he won three of the four newly proclaimed South African championship under-11 Micro Max races to take the day over Capetonian race 1 winner Reza Levy, with Joshua de Paiva third for the day over Reese Koorzen. Levy came from behind to beat Wally, and de Paiva to the race 1 win, before Wally led most of race 2 before having to fight Levy and de Paiva off in race 2. Wally and Levy then diced all the way in race 3 until de Paiva became involved and dice Wally home with Levy third and then Wally came from behind to overcome Levy, Koorzen and de Paiva in the final.
Troy Snyman ended up fifth overall from Bjorn Bertholdt, KC Ensor-Smith, Mohammed Moerat, Dhivyen Naidoo and Moosa Kajee in tenth with those drivers in the same overall championship positions with this class now racing four times in the last three national meetings to make up the 12 rounds required. Luviwe Sambudla ended up 11th from Kyle Beukes, Wian Boshoff, Kent Swartz and Ethan Stier, while Mika Abrahams, Rayn Asmal, Hriday Pooren, Luke Hill and Uzair Khan rounded off the top twenty.
There’s a long break before the third round of the South African Rotax Max national karting championships at Killarney in Cape Town 11 August, although the wildcard African Open goes down at Zwartkops 1 July, while the Northern Regions karting championship karting returns to Vereeniging and the Laserfiche Raceway later in the year.