ROTAX MAX NR KART PREVIEW – Gauteng Rotax karters finally back on track

The Northern Regions Rotax Max Challenge finally returns to action with round 2 at Zwartkops on Saturday 5 September, over six months after the opening round at the brand new FK Raceway in February.

Among Gauteng’s top karters will however arrive in Pretoria fresh off some star showings at the spectacular Rotax Max National opener last week, so great racing certainly can be anticipated again this weekend. 

The meeting will however be run with all MSA lockdown protocols and social distancing enforced throughout, face masks worn at all times and no spectators allowed, among other measures that should make no difference out on track. 

Bradley Liebenburg will be keen to add to his double race wins at iDube and to put one over Jonathan Pieterse, who won at the NR opener way back then while quick local over-30 Masters driver Nicholas Verheul, will be out to extend his top national form last weekend too. Don’t ignore Wayland Wyman, Nicolas Spanyannis, Eugene Brittz, Ian Allnutt or master Philippe Chapat, among this lot. 

Junior graduate Aqil Alibhai has taken the step up to Senior Max and is ready to take on Cameron O’Connor, who dominated Senior Max last time out. Tahier Ramlall, Hamza Jassat, Erwin Sterne and Andrew Hill should all be itching to finally get back on track in anger too. 

Alibhai had it his own way over rookies Nikolas Roos and Troy Snyman in under-15 high school Junior Max at the NR season opener back in February, but Mohammad Wally was back in town to take the national win last weekend in KZN. Add Tyler Robinson, Kian Grottis and Joao Magalhaes and a few others to the pot and this one should be a fight to watch for sure. 

Champion Troy Snyman fought Ghazi Motlekar to take the day in under-13 Mini Max in February, but Motlekar was in a league of his own at the iDube national and should be the lad to beat there. Expect interference from Luviwe Sambudla, Erich Heystek, KC Ensor Smith and Mathlori Mabunda, while Jedda Bartholomew, Berlin Robinson and Alexandre Magalhaes will be out to impress.      

Ntiyiso Mabunda is out to repeat his surprise under-11 Micro Max win at the opening round back in February, but Mohammed Moerat will be keen to ensure that was just an anomaly. The likes of Reagile Mailula, Hriday Pooren and Enzo Rujugiro will meanwhile also want to continue impressing on track, as they all have of late. 

MJ Thekiso, who won the opening Northern Regions round, and national winner last week, Mattao Mason, should be the kids to beat in baby Bambino, but Manelisi Nkomo, Cristian Verheul and Matthew Shuttleworth will be out to prove a point. Rafael da Silva, Santiago Frade, Shayaan Mohamed, Maddox Mason, Ruald Hartzenberg and Bophelo Motlahlegi are all worthy of a side bet too. 

The weekend’s races are also important as drivers will use these races as preparation for the second round of the South African Rotax Max Challenge at Zwartkops two weeks later.  Sadly no spectators will be allowed under lingering lockdown protocol, so watch this space for results and info over the 5 September weekend and going forward as Gauteng’s Rotax Max karters finally get back down to business at Zwartkops this weekend. 

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