Killarney Hosts SARMC’s Most Exciting Round Yet

Columns: Races
Over the weekend, the South African Rotax MAX Challenge (SARMC) held its third round at Killarney International Raceway in Cape Town, South Africa, with over 100 participants competing.

While the weather had been the topic of discussion in the days leading up to the event, Friday saw cool but drying conditions ahead of a sunny Saturday. The junior classes had a strong presence at the event, with Bambino, Micro MAX, and Mini MAX comprising more than half of the national entries (56). Despite some classes having fewer participants, the races remained highly competitive.

Capetonian Michael O'Mahoney, surprised many with his pace in Bambinos, storming off to a convincing opening heat victory from pole position and beating out the more favoured Gauteng drivers. Adriaan Steyn and Luhan De Wet, who came into the round as favourites, were forced to find an answer to O'Mahoney's pace. Steyn, however, found a solution and claimed the remaining two heat victories ahead of O'Mahoney, who scored enough to be crowned the overall winner ahead of Steyn and De Wet. In the meantime, Steyn reduced the gap to De Wet in the overall championship standings.

In Micro MAX, defending champion Rafael da Silva extended his lead in the championship by beating out fellow Rand Kart Club drivers Ronaldo Koen and Matthew Shuttleworth for top honours. Koen, who qualified in pole position on Friday afternoon, narrowly missed out on a maiden national victory, being beaten to the line in the opening two heats by first Da Silva and later Rafael de Sousa. De Sousa, who had shown a strong pace throughout the weekend was looking to record an overall podium result, but was excluded from the final heat results following a technical infringement.

Caleb Odendaal, the defending Mini MAX champion, demonstrated his expertise by outpacing numerous Gauteng and local drivers in the category. He secured two wins and a second-place finish, effectively widening his lead in the championship race. Kegan Martin, who claimed the only other victory on the day, finished as runner-up ahead of Durelle Goodman and a trio of WPMC drivers, Keagan Beaumont and brothers Jack and Josh Moore, with the latter claiming his maiden Mini MAX pole position.

In the 12-to-14-year-old Junior MAX class, local competitor Jude Stuart took an unexpected pole position in a rain-affected qualifying session on Friday afternoon. Stuart could not capitalise on his front-row start, allowing Wian Boshoff to scamper off into the distance to claim the opening heat spoils ahead of Joshua Smit and Reece Koorzen. Koorzen would, however, improve his position in Heat 2 with a win ahead of Boshoff and Stuart. The final heat would eventually see the two championship protagonists go head-to-head after Kent Swartz and Boshoff started on the front row. Unfortunately, the two clashed on track two-thirds into the race, leaving Koorzen to pick up the win and the overall result. Swartz's championship lead was significantly reduced after finishing 16 points behind Boshoff.

In what has become the class to watch in recent months, Senior MAX competitors delivered another nail-biting three heats. Weekend favourite and championship leader KC Ensor-Smith claimed the pole position in a rain-affected session on Friday afternoon that saw several top runners fall foul to the conditions and drop to the back of the grid. This made for some entertaining racing with Muhammed Wally, Ethan Stier, Matthew Wadeley and defending champion Charl Visser coming through the field. After Ensor-Smith lost a few places on the opening lap, Wally drove a calculated race to finish second before a post-race penalty to winner Snyman saw the KZN driver drop to third, giving Wally the win ahead of local driver Storm Lanfear. Heat 2 would see the same three finish in the same order before Ensor-Smith bounced back in Heat 3 to claim his first win on the day ahead of overall winner, Wally.

Investchem Formula 1600 driver and local DD2 competitor Jason Coetzee surprised many with a pole-position performance on a rain-affected Friday afternoon. Coetzee, who finished the opening heat in second behind fellow Capetonian Sebastian Boyd, received a Nose-Cone Infringement Penalty to be classified fifth in the results. Boyd would, however, capitalise on his local knowledge to claim a hat trick of wins and reduce multiple champion and current championship leader Brad Liebenberg's lead by 17 points.

The DD2 Masters' overall win went to Kyle Lawrence, who extended his lead in the championship following two wins and a runner-up position. He beat out local driver Jared Jordan and KZN's Jonathan Pieterse, the only other winner on the day.

The championship will conclude with the final round at Zwartkops Kart Raceway in Pretoria on August 25-26. Multiple titles are still up for grabs, including the chance to become the national champion and earn a ticket to the 2023 Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals, also known as the "Olympics of Karting."

by Raymond Cornwell - Photocredits: Motorsport Fanatix™

Created by: fmarangon2 - 04/07/23

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