Five National titles were won in the 2014 SARMC karting series at Zwartkops on Saturday, October 4 2014 and a total of nine drivers have won entries to compete in Spain at the Rotax World Championship at the end of November.
Bradley Liebenberg dominated the top-billed DD2 Gearbox races at the final round of the 2014 SA Rotax Max Challenge karting championship at Zwartkops on Saturday, October 4.
The Gauteng youngster, in his very first season of senior karting, was the class of the field, winning three of the four races at Zwartkops, the fourth and final National Championship round of this year’s series.
COMPETITIVE LAP TIMES
Liebenberg went into the final round trailing KZN’s Benjamin Habig on points. However, Habig, also in his first season of senior karting, saw his championship hopes virtually disappear on the first lap of the first of the four races that made up the final championship round. Habig, son of multiple SA Rally Champ Jan Habig, fought back to win the third race, and placed second in the final race to Liebenberg. But there was no doubting the way Liebenberg stamped his authority on the proceedings.
Rotax’s South African distributor Ed Murray said that Habig too showed great maturity in his first senior year: “This is a karter that is going to go a long way. Even more heartening was seeing a field of over 25 karts in DD2 for the last round of the championship.
"The lap times are unreal in their closeness, and this has to be the most competitive form of motor racing in the country at the moment. The racing we are seeing in the Rotax series at the moment hearkens back to the glory days a decade ago, when we had the likes of the Cronje brothers, Leeroy Poulter, Cris Morgado, Michael Stephen, and many more all vying for top honours."
Liebenberg will head a team of South African drivers that will compete at the 2014 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Spain at the end of November 2014. Each winner of the four Rotax classes in 2014 wins an entry to the finals, which sees more than 60 countries compete with over 300 drivers, for the most closely-fought prizes in international karting. The 2014 SA National Champions will be joined by four drivers who won titles in September’s Rotax African Open event, also held at Zwartkops. And in addition one more driver in the DD2 Masters will be joining the team.
SA'S BEST KARTER
The DD2 class for twin-speed gearbox machines saw Liebenberg take his third title in 2014, as he also won both the DD2 class and the Junior Max Challenge class at the African Open. In the SA championship, he was followed home on points by Habig, Eugene Britts, Arnold Neveling, Mitchell Licen and Cris Morgado in this year’s SA championship, which also takes into account performances in regional events throughout the year.
Cris Morgado is perhaps the best known driver in SA karting right now, as he has won three DD2 Masters World Championships on the trot and goes to Spain as the defending champion, having again dominated this class in in South Africa in 2014. As Morgado already has a place in the final booked, thanks to a win in the African Open, he will be joined in the Grand Finals by Pretoria’s Erwin Sterne who finished runner up to Cris in the Nationals. And Richard van Heerde of KZN, who finished third in the DD2 Masters Championship, also gets a place on the grid in Spain, as the masters event was not fully subscribed. 2015 will see the Masters class in SA gain a number of younger (over 32 years) raising the bar!
In Senior Max, Cape Town’s Luke Herring realised the potential he has shown through his seasons of karting in the junior ranks, and his 2014 title is well deserved. But, despite being absolutely dominant at the start of the season the season, Herring was pushed all the way in latter part of the season by fellow Capetonian Julian van der Watt, who in fact won three out of the four Senior Max races at Zwartkops on Saturday, and was perhaps unfortunate to just be pipped for the title. Third in the series was Eugene Denyssen, followed by Jonathan Aberdein, these two drivers both being from Cape Town, which has shown a strong resurgence in completive karting in recent years.
In Junior Max, the racing was fantastically close, with the title finally going to KZN’s Jordan Sherratt. This youngster has had an incredibly strong season, winning three of the four final races at Zwartkops, and scoring a total of six wins in the 13 National Championship races held over four rounds in 2014.
Sherratt was chased hard by the impressive former Maxterino 60cc champion Clinton Bezuidenhout, and Delano Fowler and Kohen Bam from WP.
In the Maxterino 60cc class, the competitiveness of this category for drivers aged eight to13 has increased with each event in 2014. After four races at Zwartkops on Saturday the title was finally awarded to Jason Coetzee, who scored an impressive four out of four wins in the 18 kart field. He just pipped fellow Capetonian JP Hamman for the title, by three points. The winner of the Maxterino series wins an air ticket to spectate at the Grand Finals in Spain.
WHO WILL DRIVE?
The make-up of the SA team for Spain takes into consideration a top driver like Liebenberg winning more than one title, and thus awards the Junior ticket in the world finals to the runner-up. This occured in Junior Max at the Rotax African Open where Kohen Bam has already been awarded a place in the Grand Finals in Spain, thanks to a second-place finish
The question that remains unanswered at this point in time (dependant on the outcome of an MSA Appeal hearing) is who will get the second ticket in DD2? Liebenberg has already secured a place in Spain due to either his African Open win or his SA Championship win but if he is penalized for the on-track incident at the African Open then runner up Eugene Britzz gets seat. If however Liebenberg retains the African title then SA Championship runner up Benjamin Habig gets the seat! Watch this space!
In Senior Max, Eugene Denyssen’s African Open win sees him join SA champ Luke Herring in Spain. And the three DD2 Masters entries are Cris Morgado, Erwin Sterne and Richard van Heerde, as previously mentioned.
Each driver that gains a place in the Grand Finals will, on arrival in Spain, be given a brand new kart chassis, new engine, tyres, fuel, tools and kart trolley for free use in the five-day event. This amazing system has been in place since the first Rotax Grand Finals were held in late 1999, and is unique in world motorsport. It is also one of the reasons that the Rotax Max Challenge karting series is far and away the biggest karting series on a global level, and has been so for many years.