Michael Stephen Steals National Karting Headlines

It was a case of experience and old age overcoming youthful exuberance at Saturday’s opening round of the South African National Karting Championships in Port Elizabeth, when triple SA production Car champion Michael Stephen and SA GP3 exponent Roman De Beer dominated the top steps of the podium of the first ever national IAME X30 Shifter races.  Former kart star Stephen had little trouble settling back in as he stamped authority on the X30 field, beating the Tony Kart-mounted De Beer to second in the first two races with Kosmic man Nathan Parkins the best of the regular karters second in the third race en route to third overall.  De Beer, Parkins and young Keegan Masters (Tony) shared third positions in the races.

The weekend also played host to the opening Vortex Rok class championship rounds, where Cape lad Charl Visser (Kosmic) beat his similarly-mounted compatriot JP Hamman and PE local hero Joshua Coertze (Zanardi) in the first primary school age Mini Rok 60cc national round.  SA champion Hamman then took races 2 and 3 from Topkart duo Blaine Rademeyer and Mikaeel Pitamber each time to get his title defence off to a great start, winning overall from the consistent Aidan Strydom, Pitamber and Coertze.  Bloemfontein lightie Stuart White (Kosmic) beat Jozi rivals Luca Munaretto (FA) and Joshua Dias (Birel) to the first Junior Rok race before that trio repeated the same result in race 2.

White then made it three in a row from Cape Town’s reigning SA Maxterino champion Jason Coetzee (Kosmic) and local lad Cameron Kelly on a Birel in the third race.  White took the day overall from Diaz, Coetzee and Munaretto.  SA Super Rok champion and another Port Elizabeth hero Chassen Bright (Zanardi) kept charge of the class by beating Keagan Blanckensee’s TonyKart to second in all three races, while Jason Smith (Tony) was third in the first and third races with Bryn High (Zanardi) third in the second heat.  Little Kyle Visser took one non-championship Cadet race to Sa’aad Variawa’s two after Visser hit trouble in race 2, but fought back to second in the third race.

Tristan Coertze ended second in the middle race and third in the other two.  The second round of the SA Karting Championship goes down at Killarney in Cape Town 25 April when the Rotax Max Evo classes join the action alongside the X30 Shifters and Vortex Rok classes.