Close Racing, the biggest fields in SA Karting, and a scrappy DD2 result at Round Two of the 2013 South African Rotax Max Challenge Nationals in Port Elizabeth.
The premier class in SA Karting, the DD2 Gearbox category of the Rotax Max Challenge series, dished up its usual mix of ultra close racing, misfortune for at least one high-profile front runner, and some controversy in the race stewards room, post-race.
The current World DD2 Masters Champion, Cristiano Morgado, had elected to run in the main class, rather than the Masters category for this round and in Races One and Two it looked like it was all going according to plan for the Durban racer, as he notched back-to-back victories.
However, a mistake by one of the track marshals at the start of the second race, concerning the incorrect placement of marker cones, saw one of Morgado’s main rivals, Ryan Frost, take a trip down a cul-de sac, and being forced to execute a u-turn and thus place out of the points.
Lobbying by Frost’s camp to the race stewards saw the result of the second race being scrapped, but this situation is provisional, as at least one of the 14 competitors who followed the intended route (and thus scored vital championship points!) has lodged an appeal, so the race results of Race Two might well be reinstated. In which case the results as published here will read a lot differently than they do right now.
As things turned out Morgado picked up brake trouble in Races Three and Four, and thus ended up at the back of the field of the day.
On track, there was some very hard racing going on between Nick Verheul, Ryan Frost, and Luca Canderle, with Luke van Rensburg and Eugene Britz also punching their weight. A notable performance came from young female driver Rachelle du Plessis, daughter of veteran V8 track star Roelf, as she placed sixth overall for the day and is improving with every outing!
Luke van Rensburg from Cape Town’s performance was also excellent from this up- and-coming Cape Town “discovery”. In the DD2 Masters category, perennial front-runner John van Wyk was once again the class of the field, finishing ahead of Conor Hughes, Marouan Selmi and Lourens van Rensburg.
There were two drivers that really stood way out front in the Maxterino National Class, the serious feeder formula for the Rotax Max Challenge classes. Chayse Augustus from KZN and Stuart White from the Free State were pretty much in a class of their own in the first two races, but in Races Three and Four the chasing pack of young karters gradually reeled the leading pair in, and by the end of Race Four the likes of Joshua Coetrze, Dillon van Vuuren and JP Hamman were right in there. Local PE karter Coertze deserves a mention as he is relatively new to Maxterino competition at this level. A front runner from the first round in Cape Town, but missing in PE, was Aidan Strydom. Dario Busi, another Cape driver, was also super quick in Caoe Town as he was in PE, but his overall result was marred by an excursion in the first race.
Keagan Masters was simply dominant in Junior Max all weekend in PE, scoring almost a full house of race wins, although he was involved in a first-race clash that saw him end up at the back of the pack as a weekend-opener. From then on it was business as usual for Masters, scoring three straight victories to come away with a points haul of 124. Bradley Liebenberg offered some challenge, with two second places his best result, while Jordan Sherratt won the first racer and placed well in the other three to end up third for the weekend. Jurie Swart also showed well in Race Two and Race Three, while a relative newcomer to the series, Trent Varejes, caused a stir by placing fifth overall, and picking up two second places. A total of 15 entries made it to the grid for Junior Max in PE.
Eugene Denyssen dominated the Senior Max category comprehensively in PE, winning all four races but it may not have been so easy for the Capetonian, had not Chad van Beurden from Gauteng and Luke Herring from Cape Town not carried on their not-so-private vendetta and persisted in running each other off the track.
The squabble between these two allowed Richard Upton from KZN through into second place overall for the day, after lodging a second place in Race Three, backed up by a pair of third places and a fourth.
Van Beurden and Herring filled the next two places on the overall standings, ahead of the rather causal Ricky Hill, who had a quiet weekend by his standards, and another Cape driver, Hilton Pieters.
All in all, a very successful Round Two for this series, which carries prizes of trips to the Rotax Grand Finals in New Orleans in mid-November. There are still two National Rounds to go, in KZN in August, and in Pretoria in October.
Round Two, 2013 SA Rotax Max Challenge Nationals, port Elazabeth, June 29.
1.Chayse Augustus, 137 points
2.Stuart White, 128 points
3.Joshua Coertze 113 points
4.Dillon van Vuuren 108 points
5.JP Hamman 108 points
6.Charl Visser 107 points
1. Keagan Masters 124 points
2. Bradley Liebenberg 123 points
3. Jordan Sherratt 119 points
4. Jurie Swart 115 points
5. Trent Varejes 114 points
6. Shayur Harpal 109 points
1. Eugene Denyssen 140 points
2. Richard Upton 121 points
3. Chad van Beurden 118 points
4. Luke Herring 115 points
5. Ricky Hill 109 points
6. Hilton Pieters 105 points
1. Ryan Frost 99 points
2. Nicholas Verheul 97 points
3. Luca Canderle 88 points
4. Luke van Rensburg 84 points
5. Eugene Britz 83 points
6. Rachelle du Plessis 77 points
* results provisional, subject to an appeal.
1. John van Wyk 97 points
2. Conor Hughes 97 points
3. Marouan Selmi 93 points
4. Lourens van Rensburg 89 points
5. Richard van Heerden 95 points
6. Jason Plumbly 82 points
* Results subject to an appeal.