The 2016 Western Cape Karting Championship explodes back into action at Killarney after a two and a half month break…
Welcome to WPMC Karting
Pick any F1 world champion from the last 20 years and go back to see where they came from. You will find a common thread – all raced karts with great success before embarking on a single-seater career that ultimately delivered Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and the rest to multiple world championships.
Closer to home it’s much the same – pick a top driver – Leeroy Poulter, Mark and Gavin Cronje, Hennie Groenewald, Kelvin van der Linde, Johan Fourie and the rest and you will find that they too came out of racing’s finest breeding ground that delivers world champions every year. The Cronje brothers, Wesley Orr, Cristiano Morgado, Claudio Piazza-Musso, Roman de Beer and a dozen other South African stars have based splendid race careers on their karting world titles.
It isn’t hard to figure that the common thread to building a racing career is a strong start in karting.
South African karting is in excellent health with the newly rationalised blockbuster South African championship running over five rounds to not only find a new crop of SA champions every year, but also to take those drivers to the world finals at the end of every year. And not only is the WPMC’s Karting Section is a major contributor to that process, but the Club also delivered four of the eight SA karting champions in 2014, with Luke Herring taking the SA Max Challenge title, JP Hamman Mini Rok, Jason Coetzee Maxterino and Troy Dolinschek the Cadet challenge.
The fast yet twisty and challenging Killarney kart track across the way from the main track pits is a thriving complex that supports a specialist karting community and the Western Cape karting championships run over eight rounds throughout the year. The Killarney kart track also hosts a round of the SA championship in April.
WPMC karting presently comprises five Rotax Max racing classes as well as new Mini Rok and IAME X30 gearbox classes, in addition to the thriving WP Clubmans class. Starting with the baby Cadet class for five to eight year old kids, the racing is serious business from the bottom with the babies running on a shortened section of the normally 1000 meter kart track through a link in front of the pits.
Next up are the two primary school age group 60cc Maxterino and Mini Rok classes for 8 to 13-year olds, which run the full track, to further hone drivers and deliver incredible racing between the young lads and lasses. The next step up is to the high school Rotax Junior Max 125cc class for teenagers up to 16 years of age (kids can start there from 11) racing full-size karts.
The four open age group kart clsses in the Cape are Rotax Senior Max 125cc class that uses essentially the same karts as the Junior Max but with a slightly higher minimum weight, a slightly more powerful engine and stickier slick tyres. The fastest class is Cape karting is the Rotax DD2 class with a two-speed gearbox and direct drive and split into drivers between 16 and 29 years old and a Masters class for drivers older than 30, while the IAME shifters have 6-speed gearboxes.
The WP Clubmans runs to a lap time formula in three classes with the lesser class competitors being bumped up to the next faster class if they break out. The Clubmen enjoy a strong camaraderie amongst competitors in a fun class.
All six of Maxterino, Mini Rok, Junior and Senior Max, DD2 and X30 are also national classes allowing drivers to compete to the same rules at national level and each class is stringently controlled by technical regulations that require all competitors to use equal equipment. Engines are of identical specification and while chassis are free, they too must comply with stringent regulations. Karts and drivers are weighed after each official session to ensure compliance.
The WPMC Karting Club is run as a separate chapter within the WPMC with its own committee, chairman and full-time secretary. A specialist Clerk of the Course runs races with a team of officials and marshals and races run to lively commentary.
The kart track pits support a specialised local karting industry that includes professional outfits like Kartsport, Perdigao Racing and the SA Kart Racing Academy among others, who form the backbone of karting support. The track is open for practice most days and where you will regularly find tomorrow’s race champions honing their skills. The air-conditioned Kart Café offers good food and refreshments on busier practice days and over race weekends.
You may not yet know names like reigning WP kart champions Luke Herring, Kohen Bam, Jonathan Thomas, JP Hamman or Troy Dolinschek, but get used to them and the many other Cape karting kids who will one day be SA’s future racing stars. WPMC karting is in excellent shape – our drivers are regular front-runners and champions at national level.