WhatNorthern Regions Karting Round 1 Preview
WhereFormula K Kart Track, Benoni
WhenSaturday 29 February 2020
CommunityGauteng Regional

New track for leap year Max season start

There is great excitement among Gauteng’s karting community ahead of what promises to be a quantum start to leap year 2020’s Rotax Max Northern Regions karting season when the first round kicks off at the brand new Formula K Karting Circuit near Benoni on Saturday 29 February. 

Said to be South Africa’s premier kart track, the Grade A CIK and FIA karting federation certified Formula K is currently the only South African circuit eligible to host world championship kart races. The highly versatile new circuit comprises a basic 1.5km kart track, but can be raced on a broad variety of layouts from a faster 2.1km layout to a short, sharp baby kart format.

The facility is now gearing up for its first MSA championship races at Saturday's leap year Gauteng Rotax Max opener, with the cream of Northern Regions karters counting sleeps to the Rand Kart Club-run big day. Track owner Philip Swanepoel is a passionate karter who loves his shifter karts and has invited all 125 shifter karters to enter and enjoy this opening FK meeting with a full days racing on offer, while the Shifter Club class will become a regular feature at future RKC events.

The weekend’s form may very well also be stirred up by it being everyone's first race at FK, so there could be a few surprises right through the field starting from the baby Bambinos, a large field of bright eyed and excited racing first timers are expected to join the grid and judging by the recent opening club races at Zwartkops, Rafael da Silva, MJ Thekiso, Matthew Shuttleworth and Cristian Verheul should be the pace lads. Also expect Manelisi Nkomo, Aiden Beaumont, Ruald Hartzenberg, Mattao and Maddox Mason , Santiago Frade and Shayaan Mohamed to be well in the fray.

Stepping up to this year's primary school classes, under-11 Micro Max has been allowed a few upgrades to the smallest specification liquid-cooled Rotax Max 125cc engine generation and the quicker karts should suit Mohammed Moerat, Hriday Pooren and Ntiyiso Mabunda, who will likely be among the pace makers. Also look out for Reagile Mailula, Enzo Rujugiro, Keagan Beaumont and Berlin Robinson.

Next step up is to under-13 Mini Max, where Erich Heystek, Ghazi Motlekar and top Micro graduates Wian Boshoff and Luviwe Sambudla should be the kids to beat and they will have Kgabang Mngadi, Nathan Shana, Jedda Bartholomew and Alexandre Magalhães among others to keep them honest. Mini Max likewise uses a version of the ultra-reliable state of the art button-start water-cooled chan-drive Rotax Max 125cc engine in a slightly stronger state of tune.

Next step up is to under-15 Junior Max, where the same base engine is used in a significantly stronger state of tune on a full-sized chassis. Not only are Rotax Max kart engines renowned to be super-reliable, but over the years they have also become famous for being most consistent in performance to ensure the closest possible racing in Junior Max, and that is certain to see the best dicing between old rivals Aqil Alibhai and Kwanda Mokoena, Mini Max champion Troy Snyman and Jordan Brooks, as well as Luviwe Sambudla, Tyler Robinson and João Magalhães.

Open class Senior Max is the top chain-drive Rotax karting class and it uses a full cream version of that 125cc engine complete with a power valve and on Saturday, the likes of Nicholas Verheul, Dane van Heerde and Shannon Jackson will do battle against Kgalema Mngadi, Tahier Ramlall, Hamza Jassat and Andrew Hill.

The DD2 gearbox class is the premier league of Rotax Max karting — direct drive with a two-speed gearbox over and above disc brakes up front (chain drive karts only have a single disc brake on the solid rear axle), DD2 is an absolute pleasure to watch and regularly draws the cream of the crop of South African racers to drive them. Nicholas Verheul, Philippe Chapat, Tinahe Ncube, Carlo Gil and Rob Nicholson to be on the grid at FK on the weekend, possibly up against the likes of champions Bradley Liebenberg, Arnold Neveling and Wayland Wyman, as well as Justin Allison, Brandon and Jamie Smith, Jurgen and Anton Pommersheim, Nicolas Spanoyannis and Llewellyn Myburgh.

The weekend will be rounded off by the Clubmen, where Erwin Sterne will take on Llewellyn Sutherland and Avinesh Francis among others, as well as veterans Michael Hawcroft, Lionel Black, Robert Fulton and Kurt Schultz.

The new Formula K Karting Circuit has all the facilities to make for a great day at the races and is easy to find on Golden Drive off Snake Road in Morehill, Benoni — that's right off the Snake Road offramp on the N12 to Mphumalanga and left onto Golden Drive where you will find the circuit on your right. See you there!


Issued on behalf of Rotax Max Challenge

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