TOP OF THE CLASS: Michael Stephen took top honours in the DD2 Gearbox class of the SA Rotax Max challenge in PE earlier in April. Image: MotorPress / Heinrich Sauer
Port Elizabeth - The feature event of the second round of the SA Rotax Max Challenge 2016, the DD2 Gearbox class, provided a thrilling tussle between Port Elizabeth’s Michael Stephen and Lonehill’s Bradley Liebenberg (the reigning DD2 SA champion) in all three of the 15-lap races.
The pair passed and re-passed each other for the lead in a superb display of precision driving on the limit. In the end it was Stephen who prevailed, with rarely more than a second between the two all weekend.
In fact, the combined race time for the total of 45 laps saw Stephen emerge the victor with a margin of just 2.7 seconds, and in Race Three Liebenberg finished just 0.19 seconds behind the veteran local track specialist.
Best of the rest
Behind this pair Julian van der Watt from Cape Town, Benjamin Habig from KZN and Stuart White mixed it for the final podium position, with Luca Munaretto coming good in the final race to take a good third spot.
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In the DD2 Masters category (for drivers 32 years and older), which runs as a race-within-a-race in the DD2 class, Michael Stephen was logically the winner, followed by Nicholas Verheul and Jonathan Pieterse. The DD2 class drew a healthy 19 entries to Port Elizabeth, with two National rounds of the four-round SARMC 2016 still to be run.
Young guns running riot
In the Junior Max category for drivers aged 13 to 16 years old, young Jason Coetzee bounced back after a fraught opening round in Cape Town in early April to take the overall win for the day, but the result was hardly clear-cut. He scored just one win, a third and a fifth to head the day’s points haul, from the consistent Daniel Duminy and Cape Town Round One winner Sebastian Boyd.
After an incident-filled first race, Boyd tallied a win and a second place to keep him handily placed for this year’s title, after dominating in Cape Town. The Junior Max category drew 15 entries in Port Elizabeth, once again proving the strength of Rotax karting in the so-called “high-school” class.
In Senior Max, for drivers 15 and over, East Rand karter Delon Thompson scored two race wins and a fifth place to head the day’s points table and following on a very good showing in Round One on his home circuit, this puts him nicely in line to fight for the 2016 National title in this class. Joshua Dias from Gauteng was very quick, winning the last race to place second overall for the day ahead of the very quick lady racer, veteran Fabienne Lanz. Delano Fowler again had a good run to fourth, followed by the equally impressive Dino Stermin and Shannon Jackson.
8-year-old excels on track
Kwanda Mokoena, the Gauteng-based youngster competing in the entry-classes for drivers aged 8-13, had a busy weekend, running in both the Maxterino and Mini Rok 60cc National Championship classes. And he excelled in both categories!
Mokoena made no mistake in Maxterino to signal his title aspirations as he held on to three fine wins in all three races, ahead of the impressive Charl Visser, another title contender, from Cape Town. Joseph Oelz (Cape Town) was third, ahead of yet another Cape hot-shot, Troy Dolinschek, with Muhammed Wally a new name in Maxterino’s elite finishing in fifth ahead of Joshua de Paiva.
In the similarly-configured Mini Rok class, Joshua Coetzee took the honours ahead of Kwanda Mokoena, Daniel Patrizi, Jayden Els, Charl Visser and Leyton Fourie.