An Unpredictable but Exciting 2024 South African Rotax Max Challenge Season Awaits

Columns: News and Previews
As the 2024 South African Rotax MAX Challenge (SARMC) kicks off this month, prepare to witness an incredible karting season. The most talented Rotax drivers in the nation are all set to compete for the prestigious national and African Open titles, which will earn them entry to the Rotax MAX Challenge Grand Finals (RMCGF) in Sarno, Italy. (Raymond Cornwell)

In preparation for the four-round national championship and winner-takes-all African Open, drivers will compete in their various regional competitions in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. Unlike in previous seasons, the African Open will take place early as part of the opening national round (and not the final round), which will be hosted in Cape Town in March. This is to finalise all the winners and prepare for an earlier-than-usual RMCGF set for an October return to Italy. National rounds will be hosted at the Killarney Kart Track, iDube Raceway, Formula-K Raceway and Zwartkops Kart Raceway. Each round runs over two days, with typically six practice sessions on a Friday, followed by a warm-up, a qualifying session, and three race heats on the Saturday. The driver accumulating the most points after his/her three heats is declared the overall winner. Points are awarded as follows:

1st - 35 pts
2nd - 32 pts
3rd - 30 pts
4th - 29 pts
5th - 28 pts

In what has become the norm in recent seasons, most drivers have stepped up in class for 2024. Rafael Da Silva (2023 National Micro MAX Champion) moves to Junior MAX, while national Junior MAX Champion Kent Swartz takes on the Senior MAX field. KC Ensor-Smith, the reigning national Senior MAX Champion, will shift his focus to his second season in single-seaters and likely compete in the odd event. At the same time, the DD2 class sees a host of former and current national champions battling for the premier class' title. This includes reigning national champion Sebastian Boyd and four-time national DD2 champion Bradley Liebenberg. Jason Coetzee will also have his hand up in the battle for the championship.

Matthew Shuttleworth is a likely candidate for national Micro MAX honours but will be pushed all the way by 2023 Bambino graduates Luhan de Wet, Luke du Toit and Adriaan Steyn. Several drivers are in the running for the national Mini MAX title, including Brodi Cooper Dowling, Rafael de Sousa, Cristian Verheul and Ronaldo Koen, all of whom have shown incredible promise in their short careers. 

A likely lottery will determine the South African champion in the Junior MAX category. Several Mini MAX graduates, such as Kegan Martin, Reagile Mailula, Keagan Beaumont, and Emma-Rose Dowling, will compete against more seasoned racers, including Georgia Lenaerts, Luke Hill, and Reese Koorzen. It will be an exciting class to watch.

The Senior MAX class will also be challenging to call, with various drivers likely contenders for the national championship. However, aspirants include Kent Swartz, Ethan Stier, Matthew Wadeley, and Jonno Wilson. The 2024 SARMC promises to be exciting for karting enthusiasts, with a host of action and competition expected across all classes. The earlier hosting of the African Open could see a few surprise winners, especially for those who call Cape Town home. Both the Junior and Senior MAX categories add an element of unpredictability to the season and will, therefore, be interesting to see which drivers emerge victorious as they look to earn entry to the RMC Grand Finals in Italy.

Photocredit: Motorsport Fanatix™


Created by: fmarangon2 - 09/02/24

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