Aug 022011

The third National Championship round of the SA Rotax Max Challenge takes place in KZN at the iDube circuit outside Pietermaritzburg on Sunday, August 7. And on August 8, the very first African Open Championship will be run, attracting top karters from countries like Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia and even as far afield as Kenya.

The big attraction of this event is that the winners of Junior Max, Senior Max, DD2 and DD2 Masters classes all get a coveted entry in the Rotax World Finals to be held in the United Arab Emirates at the end of this year.

The visting overseas entrants will also be encouraged to take part in the Sunday’s third round of the SA Rotax Max Challenge National series event, and competition is fierce for the titles in all classes. However, the visitors will not be able to score points in our national series, but will use the nationals only to gain track time for the Monday Africa Open event.

In the Maxterino 60 class for junior karters, KZN’s home-grown hero Clinton Bezuidenhout is looking ultra strong after victories in both the Cape Town round in March and the Port Elizabeth round in mid-June. Bezuidenhout is an acknowledged master on his home track at iDube, but Gauteng hotshots Daygin Prescott and Neha Harpal, and Cape Town’s Henry Bam, are still within striking distance should Clinton strike trouble.

In Junior Max, Cape Town’s Eugene Denyssen leads the series after staying out of the enduring squabble between fellow Capetonian Luke Herring and Aston Hare from Gauteng. Herring and Hare have a long history of “intense rivalry” which cost both of them in the previous round in Port Elizabeth, and it will be interesting to see if cooler heads prevail in KZN. The older Harpal karting brother, Shayur, is in a handy fourth spot in this championship.

Multiple champion Arnold Neveling returned to karting this season after a successful stint in international single-seaters and his vast experience is showing as he leads the glamour-class Senior Max Challenge by a decent margin from Chad van Beurden, Ryan Frost and ChadMacIver, all these drivers being Gauteng-based. KZN’s hope for this class is in the form of the quick Mathew Swanepoel, who has yet to find consistency this year.

The DD2 gearbox class is fast becoming the showcase for South African karting. Luca Canderle is yet another KZN driver who is leading from the front this year, from the perhaps more highly-fancied Eugene Britz and 2010 World Champ Caleb Williams. These drivers both hail from Gauteng, as does Shau Mafuna, currently holding fourth place and going very well this season. 2004Max World Champion and accomplished international single seater contestant Christiano Morgado recently joined the DD2 battle and at 32 years old is still competitive in both DD2 and DD2 masters – rumour has it that he has his own trail rails around iDube so definitely a force to be reconned with.

In the DD2 Masters class for drivers 32 and older, Maruan Selmi and John van Wyk are fighting a grim, dogged battle for overall honours in 2011.

The KZN Double header is particularly attractive to visiting karters, as, with Tuesday 9 being Women’s Day, the two championship meetings effectively fall over a long weekend.

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