This past Saturday, February 10th, marked the kickoff of the Western Province Kart Championships with Round 1 showcasing a record-breaking number of entries across nine talent-filled classes. Karting fans were treated to a spectacle of high-speed action from the lights out to the checkered flag.
Set against the backdrop of a scorching summer’s day, Killarney witnessed blistering lap times and heart-stopping manoeuvres as drivers battled for glory. Despite the hot conditions, competitors pushed the limits, delivering edge-of-your-seat excitement throughout the day.
Amidst the excitement, a theme quickly emerged as the Cape Town favourites displayed signs of race day rustiness, allowing visitors from across the country to dominate most podium places. While some local drivers found satisfaction in their performance, others now face the sobering reality of the work ahead, recognizing the areas they need to refine before the upcoming Nationals hosted by the WPMC Karting Section in March.
In a fiercely contested Bambino class, it was Radhi Harris who kicked off the day with a strong showing, securing pole position in qualifying, setting the stage for an intense battle ahead.
However, it was Yaqeen Gamieldien who emerged as the standout performer, claiming victory in all three races of the day. Despite Harris’s valiant efforts to challenge him in races 1 and 3, a disappointing DNF in race 2 dashed his hopes for an overall win, relegating him to a respectable third-place finish for the day.
Making an impressive showing in second place overall was Caleb Lingeveldt, with one of his best performances to date and Ebrahim Khalpey rounded off the top four as he showed his progress into the new season.
Gautengs’s Aston Verheul was up next while notably absent from the action was Luhan de Wet, who opted to focus on his Micro Max ambitions.
Choosing to focus on Micro Max didn’t go unrewarded for 2023 National Bambino Runner-Up Luhan De Wet from Gauteng. He wasted no time in stamping his authority, securing pole position early in the day, despite facing a stiff challenge from local contender Liam Wharton, who trailed by a mere 0.079 seconds in qualifying.
Once the races commenced, De Wet showed his skill and speed, clinching victory in all three races with apparent ease. While races 1 and 3 saw him comfortably leading the pack, race 2 provided a thrilling battle as Wharton pushed him to the limit, ultimately securing a well-deserved second-place finish.
Wharton’s consistent performance throughout the day, coupled with his podium finish in races 1 and 3, earned him the second step of the overall podium, ahead of reigning WP champion, Michael O’Mahoney.
Despite facing challenges on the track, Jayden van der Merwe managed to secure a respectable fourth-place finish overall, followed closely by Mia Hermanus, who delivered one of her best results yet in her short karting career.
Completing the top six was Slater Smith ahead of Jake Steyn, and Qaanit Doutie, rounding out a competitive field in the Micro Max.
In a dominant display, Maddox Mason, among the travelling drivers, asserted his authority in the fiercely contested Mini Rok class. Mason’s stellar performance saw him secure pole position and clinch victory in all three races of the day, firmly establishing himself as the one to beat in the on the National scene this season.
However, Mason’s path to victory was far from easy, as each race presented tight battles. Following closely behind was local talent Max Boshoff, who capitalized on Gauteng’s Noah Cronje’s misfortune in race 2 to secure two third-place finishes and a second-place finish, earning him the second step on the overall podium.
Declan Jurgens, another Gauteng driver, rounded out the podium positions, demonstrating his abilities on the day.
The top six were completed by Sebastian Blignaut, Ruhan Victor, and Kayde Cornofsky, who showcased their competitiveness amidst a fiercely contested field.
Local contenders Logan Roehrig and Kiyaan Reddi, while perhaps hoping for more, gained valuable insights into the competition ahead of the upcoming Nationals in March. Further down the grid, Alanzo Dias, Zac Boshoff, Aadiv Singh, Ronald Venter, and Noah Cronje, after encountering troubles, fought hard to salvage their final positions.
Gauteng’s Ronaldo Koen emerged triumphant in the fiercely contested Rotax Mini Max races. Koen was on top form, outqualifying local favourites Michael Danks and Aiden Beaumont before going on to secure three comfortable wins throughout the day. Koen’s performance not only earned him the top spot on the podium but also served as an excellent warm-up ahead of his return to Cape Town for the March RMC National and African Open.
Meanwhile, Danks and Beaumont engaged in a heated battle for the remaining steps of the podium. Beaumont’s ninth-place finish in the final race of the day ensured Danks emerged victorious in their duel, securing second place overall, with Beaumont settling for third. Both drivers collected valuable regional points, setting a strong foundation for their 2024 campaigns.
Ruan Lewis delivered a top performance, securing fourth place overall, while Gauteng’s Rafael de Sousa and local talent Zac Hindley rounded out the top six.
Further down the grid, intense battles unfolded, with Ruvan Maritz edging out locals Ashaan Reddi and Zach McAuley. Debutants Thanduyise Nhlapo and Andrew Retter also impressed in their first outing, with Retter showcasing potential despite a setback in race 1.
The OKJ class delivered excitement with a packed grid of drivers showcasing a blend of local and out-of-town talent. The races were characterized by intense battles ensuring a dynamic display of competition from start to finish.
Gauteng’s Mattao Mason set the pace by securing pole position in qualifying, but it was local sensation Reese Koorzen who made an early statement with a race 1 victory, edging out the pole-sitter. The Gauteng duo of Gianna Pascoal and Wian Boshoff followed closely behind.
Race 2 saw local lad William Marshall claim victory, with Sebastian Dias and Aaron Mason in tow. The action reached a fever pitch in race 3 as Boshoff emerged triumphant, securing his third race win of the day. Koorzen and Dias rounded out the top three in the final race.
Boshoff’s stellar performance throughout the day was enough to clinch victory, with Koorzen settling for second place overall. Marshall’s consistent showing earned him a spot on the podium in third place.
Aaron Mason showcased resilience to secure fourth place, ahead of Dias and Mason, despite encountering challenges during the races.
Further down the field, fierce battles ensued, with Manelisi Nkomo leading the charge to edge out competitors such as Caleb Cupido, Aleksandar Praizovic, and Jesse Swart to finalize the top ten.
Gianna Pascoal and Jack Moore followed closely behind, with locals Ashay Nagura and Max Denisov rounding out the field. Unfortunately, Matthew Chiwara faced difficulties and did not start in the final two races
Gauteng’s Kegan Martin emerged as the victor in a fiercely contested Rotax Junior Max. Martin’s stellar performance, marked by three race wins, propelled him to the top spot on the podium, leaving him undoubtedly elated with his success down in the Cape.
The day began with local talent Keagan Beaumont securing pole position in qualifying, setting the stage for a closely contested battle. However, Beaumont’s hopes were dashed by a catastrophic engine failure, opening the door for Martin and Cape Town’s Jordon Wadeley to vie for the win.
Wadeley’s impressive second-place finish in race 2, coupled with a third-place finish in the final race of the day, secured him the title of the best-placed local driver and second place overall. Meanwhile, out-of-towner Luke Hill delivered an impressive showing to claim third place on the podium.
Sebastian Dias showed his abilities with a fourth place overall, while Beaumont’s resilient performance saw him fight through the field to claim fifth place overall, following his setback earlier in the day.
Nicholas Lennox rounded out the top six, followed closely by Sebastiano Human, James Nash, Anwill April, Georgia Lenaerts, Christian Verheul, and Onwabile Mcinga, all of whom exhibited some proper talent in this class, setting the stage for an enthralling 2024 both at National and Regional level.
Rotax Senior Max provided early excitement and a few surprises during qualifying with Zac Laden stunning the field by clinching a sensational pole position, edging out notable drivers such as Polo Cup Champion Charl Visser and Supa Cup driver Tate Bishop. The top three were separated by less than a tenth of a second, with newcomer Luca Wehrli impressively close behind on his Senior Max debut.
However, it was Visser who ultimately showcased his class, securing three comfortable wins from three races to claim victory for the day. Laden provided stiff competition in race 1 before encountering trouble, allowing Wehrli to seize the opportunity and secure second place overall.
Wehrli’s stellar performance throughout the day, including a second, third, and fifth-place finish in the races, earned him a well-deserved second step on the podium in his debut Senior Max outing while Junior Max graduate Ethan Deacon also made his mark, securing the final podium spot with an impressive performance at the first asking.
Despite a challenging day, Tate Bishop managed to salvage fourth place overall, ahead of Cole Hewetson, Storm Lanfear, and Gabriele Gazzilli. Unfortunately, Laden’s promising start was marred by troubles in race 2, causing him to miss the final race and ultimately placing him ahead of newcomer Zimvo Majova who rounded out the results.
DD2 & DD2 MASTERS
Rotax DD2 delivered thrilling action with local contenders Joseph Oelz and Sebastian Boyd setting the pace in a closely contested qualifying session, separated by a mere fifty-eight thousandths of a second. However, it was the impressive debutants Matthew Wadeley and Ethan Stier who turned heads by lining up on the second row for their first DD2 race.
In DD2 Masters, Jared Jordan showcased his prowess by securing pole position ahead of rivals Conor Hughes and the returning Roy Gruer.
Race 1 saw Oelz claim victory ahead of Boyd, while Jason Coetzee fought back from a challenging qualifying session to secure third place. Boyd’s impressive performance was highlighted by setting a new DD2 lap record of 39.933, a testament to the pace on display.
In Masters, Jordan comfortably secured the win ahead of Hughes and Gauteng’s Bjorn Roos.
Race 2 proved just as intense, with Boyd edging out Coetzee and Oelz for the win. Jordan continued his Masters dominance with another victory ahead of Gruer and Roos before Gruer made a remarkable return to the sport by taking the final Masters win of the day.
Boyd clinched victory once again in race three, ahead of Coetzee and Oelz, securing the top DD2 spot for the day. Oelz and Coetzee followed closely behind, with impressive rookie showings from Stier and Wadeley.
In the Masters division, Jared Jordan took the top spot, followed by Gruer and Roos on the podium. Next up was Michael Jordon, Hughes, who suffered an underweight exclusion in race 2, Robert Peche and Johan Hamman.
Julian van der Watt and Andrew Schofield showcased their racing prowess during the qualifying session of the WP Clubmans class, asserting their dominance ahead of impressive newcomer, Brendan Lennox.
Van der Watt’s exceptional performance continued throughout the day as he secured three easy wins, solidifying his position at the top of the leaderboard. The flawless run served as an ideal pre-season preparation for the South African GTC driver.
In the Gold class, Sean le Riche claimed second place overall, demonstrating his skills, while Schofield, despite missing the final race, managed to secure third place.
In the Silver class, Lennox faced challenges, including a weight exclusion in race 1 and a challenging off-track incident in race 2, thwarting his hopes for the day. This opened the door for Jade Smith to seize the overall victory, followed by Christopher Flack and PJ Garbutt, who delivered impressive performances.
Andy Wehrli made a strong debut in karting, securing fourth place overall, while newcomers Ryan Eastwood and Alex Lepelley showcased promise in their inaugural outings. Lennox rounded out the results, despite encountering setbacks throughout the day.
In conclusion, Round 1 of the Western Province Kart Championships provided a thrilling display of karting talent, with out-of-town drivers dominating the podiums and setting a high standard for local competitors. The day showcased the level of competition the local drivers will need to match and exceed in the upcoming events.
Reflecting on the results, it’s evident that the WPMC Karters have work ahead of them to step up to the challenge and elevate their performance. With the Rok and RMC Nationals + African Open set to be hosted by the WPMC Karting Section in March, drivers have a valuable opportunity to showcase their abilities on a national stage.
Looking ahead, regional action will resume in April and we look forward to welcoming one and all to Killarney Karting over the following months.
As the season progresses, we anticipate more exhilarating races and fierce competition, making for an exciting and unforgettable karting season in Western Province.