WhatSA Rotax Max Challenge Kart National 3 Report
WhereiDube Kart Raceway, KZN
WhenSaturday 10 August 2019
CommunitySouth Africa National

iDube delivers scintillating Max action

The third round of the South African Rotax Max Challenge national karting championship went down at the picturesque  hillside iDube circuit on Saturday. The weekend delivered excellent racing with much lead changing thanks also to close lap times and the rollercoaster nature of the track as certain drivers tightened their grip on a title and that reward of a SA Team World Final seat. Other classes are however set to run right down to the wire...

Local hero Benjamin Habig was one of the drivers to lay claim to the DD2 gearbox title as he beat Gauteng arch rival Brad Liebenberg two races to one, with local lads Dominic Lincoln and Jordan Sherratt second and third on the day ahead of Bloemfontein lad Justin Allison. Habig’s closest title rival Dino Stermin followed ahead of Jamie and Brandon Smith, Sharad Bantho, Nicholas Verheul and Sebastian Boyd. 

Habig now holds a healthy 40-plus point lead, but that does not ensure any title security with the likes of Liebenberg carrying significant drop scores, so a good run for Brad at Zwartkops and a little trouble for Habig could still turn the whole thing on its head, especially with the likes of Stermin, Boyd and Lincoln also lurking.

One man who has a significant grip on his over-30 DD2 Masters championship is SA race legend Michael Stephen, who stormed to a triple win at iDube, ahead of Jonathan Pieterse and Eugene Brittz each time. Alistair Mingay, Brett Brito and Simon Wilde shared out the minor placings in that well-supported class.

Another local hero, Shrien Naidoo took two senior Max wins to championship leader Charl Visser’s one, with Jayden Els third from Simon Simpson-Heath, UAE visitor Liam Crystal, who bounced back with a couple of seconds after trouble in race 1, and Connor Donovan. Capetonian SA Junior champion Visser will head to Zwartkops with a comfortable enough championship lead, but Naidoo has missed three races and former leader Kai van Zyl, who had a tough outing in KZN, will drop far less points after Zwartkops than Visser, who has been consistent all year. 

Jonathan Pieterse was another driver to deliver a dominant performance in Max 175 to open his title lead over Nicholas Verheul up to just over 20 points, while Geoff Stephen consolidated his title third with third on the day ahead of Allan Rice, James Stewart and Shane Foley. Title contender Erwin Sterne earned himself two low drop scores following a tough day at the races. Another dark horse?

In schoolboy action, under-15 Junior Max is one class headed for a major climax at Zwartkops after outsider Ethan Coetzee took the day from title contenders Aqil Alibhai, Tate Bishop and Kyle Visser. Wildcard Jack Rowe ended fifth from erstwhile title leader Troy Dolinschek after Kwanda Mokoena’s season of woe continued in 11th and another title contender, Joseph Oelz was out to injury. Gauteng lad Alibhai now leads the chase from Cape kids Bishop, Dolinschek and Visser, but there are a few lurkers out there, any of whom could spring to prominence come points drop time...

Troy Snyman stormed to another trio of wins in under-13 Mini Max and he is another to have staked a title claim with a dominant performance over Mika Abrahams, Mandla Mlangeni, Matthew Morrell, Ethan Stier and Tyler Robinson, leaving Morrell as Snyman’s closest title rival. Title contender Mahummed Wally however missed the KZN races and should he race well at Zwartkops where he is usually strong, those zero drops could just come in very handy at the end of the day.

Luviwe Sambudla certainly upset the under-11 Micro Max title chase with an unexpected triple victory over Reese Koorzen, Mohammed Moerat, Dhivyen Naidoo, Uzair Khan and Erich Heystek after previous championship leader Reza Levy endured a tough day at the races. This one is going to go down to the wire up in Pretoria too as Cape kid Koorzen now leads the chase by a slender margin over Levy, with Sambudla, Naidoo and Moerat all very close behind.

Cape Town kid Rayan Karriem took two wins en route to the overall baby Bambino win for the day as he surged into that championship lead. Caleb Odendaal ended second from namesake Moss, most impressive rookies Kai van Rensburg and Jordon Wadeley and Luan Mostert, who bounced back to take the final win after a tough day at the track. His day was not quite as tough as former championship leader Tshepang Shisinwana to leave Karriem leading  Shisinwana and Mostert in the chase to become SA’s first ever national Bambino champion.

So, it’s all set to go down at Zwartkops Saturday 21 September when all of South Africa’s 2019 Rotax Max karting champions will be crowned and the team set to travel to Italy to fly the flag at the 2019 Max Grand Finals. Should be an epic finale in Pretoria...


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