WhatNR 2 Report, National 2 Preview
WhereZwartkops International Kart Raceway, Pretoria
WhenSaturday 5 September 2020
CommunitySouth Africa National

Junior refugee Alibhai wins on Senior Max debut

Lockdown never ended quite as Junior Max karting ace Aqil Alibhai would have liked. 

The Ormonde, Johannesburg racer experienced a growth spurt through the break that was enough to prove a disadvantage when he rocked up at the scales on his return to the racetrack. He and his Junior kart were far enough over the class minimum weight limit to affect his performance at the opening national round a few weeks back and the results did not come.

There was only one thing to do, and that was to step up to Senior Max. The bigger open age group class comfortably accommodates the growing lad’s stature and not only did Aqil make his Senior debut in the weekend's Northern Regions races, but he won, too!

“Saturday turned out to be a bigger deal than we expected,” a delighted Aqil reported. “We came here to learn the heavier and more powerful kart and I ended up at the sharp end, so we had a brilliant day after all. “I'm still racing against known rivals, but the new class is taking a little getting used to. “That said, I think we transitioned pretty well!

“We qualified on pole position and l led the race from the start, but the accelerator cable snapped on the last lap and that was it. “That’s racing, I suppose!

“Then I came from last on the grid to second in race two, but it got a bit rough on my way through and my nose cone was dislodged, which meant a five second penalty, so I ended up fourth. “The final was perfect though — I had to work my way up from fourth, but I was in front by two-thirds distance and held on for the win.

“We never quite expected that, and to be honest, we should have made the switch before the iDube national, but it is what it is. “It’s not all lost though, only the 10 best results count and we have 12 national heats left to race, so if I keep it clean, and with a little luck, there’s still a chance. 

“Of course there’s still the African Open too, and we managed to get tickets to the last two Rotax Junior Max World Finals there, so it would be a hat trick to do it in Senior. “I’m up to the challenge, starting at the Zwartkops Double Header next weekend, so bring it on!"


Issued on behalf of Aqil Alibhai

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