The 2021 Western Cape Rotax Max Challenge karting season exploded to life on a typically searing Cape February day thankfully punctuated by an occasional breeze at Killarney on Saturday. The action was just as hot on track in a day of contrasts that saw both a bit of domination as well as some cracking fights for glory through the afternoon. Senior Max was surely the race of the day as Andrew Rackstraw took the overall win without winning a heat.
In a dramatic afternoon, pole man and South African champion Tate Bishop exited the first race early, leaving Jason Coetzee to storm to the win from Rackstraw and Kyle Visser. Bishop then took advantage of a fraught five-way fight ahead of him to move up from the back and pounce for the lead and make off for the second race win over Kyle Visser, while Rackstraw and Storm Lanfear pulled a last lap move on Charl Visser for third and fourth.
Bishop then took care of early leaders Rackstraw and Coetzee to make off for another heat win in the final, but Charl Visser’s day went from bad to worse when he exited after coming from behind to second to release Rackstraw, Kyle Visser and Lanfear after Coetzee was stripped of third for his part in Visser’s demise. That meant that Rackstraw took the day from Kyle Visser, Lanfear, the troubled Charl Visser and Coetzee.
It was a different matter in DD2, where Joseph Oelz came, saw and conquered on his DD2 debut for his return to karting following a year away. Joseph put it on pole position and steamed away to a trio of race wins, with a fastest lap each time over reigning South African champion Sebastian Boyd. Behind them, Masters winner Conor Hughes kept the battling Jared Jordan, Andrew Thomas and Michael Jordan at bay for third overall, ahead of a splendid dice between Steve Beaumont, newcomer Rafe Tayler, Andre Steenkamp and rookie Gil Simoes.
It was a case of more domination when WP Mini champion Reza Levy put a season of quietly learning the bigger class to great use as he troubled the Senior frontrunners en route to a compelling high school Junior Max win. The constantly improving Matthew Wadeley however left Killarney with a new Junior Max lap record as he made Levy work for his final win. Wadeley also held Ethan Stier off for second overall with two heat seconds to Stier’s one with Jaden Jacobs fourth from Joshua Smit and Joaquin de Oliveira, both of whom later concentrated on their Mini Max afternoons.
De Oliveira had a brilliant day in senior primary Mini Max as he made off up front to deliver a clean sweep with three fastest laps too. He left his rivals to fight it out among themselves as the top five each had a turn on the podium through the day in a great start to the Mini Max season. Out of town visitor Erich Heystek improved through the day to deliver a fine come from behind third in heat 2, before going one better to take second for the day by a point from Joshua Smit and another ever-improving local Jordon Wadeley, Keagen Beaumont, Jude Stuart, Ethan Deacon and Oliver Roach.
While those three races saw domination, junior primary Micro Max was on the other hand once again most entertaining. Kegan Martin overcame Dale Hobbs to win the first race but hit trouble in race 2, before bouncing back to pass Hobbs early and drive off to the final heat win. That was not enough to stoop Hobbs from taking the day from Martin, while Aiden Beaumont overcame a tight battle through the day to beat Eric Norman to third. They came home ahead of a most entertaining day long wrought between Matthew Roach, Matthew Chiwara and Siyabonga Ntuli for fifth.
Michael Danks meanwhile laid early claim to the 2021 WP baby Bambino title with yet another dominant pole, triple race wins and a triple fastest lap run en route to the win for the day. Impressive Jozi rookie visitor Kayde Cornofsky, who diced all the way with Siyabonga Ntuli on their way to second and third. And John Norman pinched a podium third in the final heat en route to fourth from Ruan Lewis and Liam Wharton.
The opening round of the Northern Regions Rotax Max Challenge is next up at the Formula K Raceway on 6 March, before the second round of the KZN regionals at iDube on 14 March before the first 2021 Rotax Max National back at Killarney on 26 March 2021. All races remain scheduled to continue without spectators under lockdown regulations.