A huge field of some 30 karts is expected for the top-billing DD2 Gearbox class at the opening round of the 2015 SA Rotax Max Challenge karting championship at the Killarney circuit in Cape Town on Saturday, April 25. The Rotax series is going from strength to strength in 2015, and all eyes will be on defending DD2 Champion Bradley Liebenberg from Lonehill, in Gauteng, to see if his dominance last season continues this season in the first of the four-round national championship that includes the top four classes in SA karting. And adding interest will be the performance of the new Rotax Evo engines homologated for 2015, which have shown, after intensive pre-season testing, to be even more driver friendly than the previous-specification, ultra-reliable 125 cc water-cooled engines used in the Rotax series for the past 15 years.
The DD2 events in Cape Town will see the DD2 Masters category run in the same race as the DD2 races, thus swelling the field to an expected 30 runners. The Masters category for drivers 32 and older will be particularly interesting, as multiple SA and World DD2 Masters champ Cris Morgado from Durban is likely to see his position of dominance challenged by a number of younger karters who move into the category this season. Notable amongst these is Nicholas Verheul from Gauteng, who has been a regular challenger for top honours in DD2 for a number of seasons.
KZN’s Jono Pieterse returns after a 10 layoff and is also expected to mix it with John Van Wyk and Maroan Selmi at the sharp end. Vying for top overall DD2 honours at the front of the field along with Bradley Liebenberg will be Cape drivers Jonathan Aberdein, Chad Maciver and Kyle Mitchel (Gauteng), Luca Canderle and Benjamin Habig from KZN and Pretoria’s Eugene Britz and any one of these could take the honors. At the other end of the karting age scale, the Maxterino 60 class for pre-teens has received an entry of some 20 karts.
Cape Town has a strong contingent of Maxterino flyers and Aidan Strydom, Charl Visser and Joseph Oelz will face an up-country challenge from the likes of Kwanda Makoena who won at Zwartkops two weeks ago in a regional event, and Aquil Alibhai. Junior Max, for drivers aged 12-16 is another category that is expected to draw a full field of up to 20 karts, a gratifying state of affairs for the South African Rotax series which has produced a dozen home-grown world karting champions over the past 15 years. Drivers to watch in this very competitive field include Delon Thompson, Cameron O’ Connor, Joshua Diaz and Daniel Duminy from KZN .
Cape Town home-turf defenders here will include Delano Fowler, Dino Stermin, and Giordano Lupini. In the Senior Max category, look for the “first lady” of karting, Fabienne Lanz, to be right at the front of the field, challenging Cape stalwarts Eugene Denyssen, Henry Bam, Chadley Swartz and Jonathan Aberdein. Aberdein, son of Wesbank Audi Quattro racing star Chris Aberdien who set Killarney’s main circuit on fire with stirring saloon car performances in the 1990s, is also entered in the Rotax DD2 class and has set record breaking times in both classes.
The Cape Town race on April 25 is the first of the four-round SARMC series that will move next to KZN followed by Vereeniging and the final at Zwartkops in Pretoria in late September. And the winners of the various Rotax categories will win a berth to the international Rotax Grand Finals karting championship, the biggest karting event in the world, where drivers from some 60 countries will compete for glory. This year the Grand Finals will be held in the Algarve, Portugal, in early November.