Boyd, Lawrence, Smith, Swartz, Odendaal, da Silva & Steyn crowned

Sebastian Boyd, Kyle Lawrence, KC Ensor Smith, Kent Swartz, Caleb Odendaal, Rafael da Silva, and Adriaan Steyn are the 2023 South African Rotax Max National Karting Champions. They were crowned following a thrilling day of racing at Zwartkops on Saturday.

A most dramatic day of premier Rotax DD2 Masters gearbox class started with reigning champion Sebastian Boyd not starting the opening heat, leaving wildcard teammate Jamie Smith to twice defeat championship leader Bradley Liebenberg in the opening two races. Boyd fought back to fourth in the second race before winning the final two heats. Overall, Smith took the day from Liebenberg, Kian Grottis, Nicolaos Vostanis and Dusan Radojevic. Boyd ended up seventh behind Masters winner Jonathan Pieterse.

All of which meant that Sebastian Boyd and Bradley Liebenberg ended up tied on an identical set of National Championship results and points. But Boyd ultimately took his second DD2 title on the trot by dint of a better regional contribution in the Cape versus Liebenberg in Gauteng. Kian Grottis wound up third in the title chase from Nicolaos Vostanis and Masters duo Jonathan Pieterse and Kyle Lawrence in another epic title conundrum.

KZN lad Jonathan Pieterse took the over-31-year-old DD2 Masters day thanks to his three race wins over local man Kyle Lawrence’s one with a podium-rich Bjorn Roos third. But despite Jonathan Pieterse beating Kyle Lawrence in the overall chase, it was Lawrence who took the close Masters title over Pieterse as a result of the individual Masters championship tallying up in his favour. Cape duo Conor Hughes and Jared Jordan ended up third and fourth in the chase from Bjorn Roos and Niel Lambrechts.

Roshaan Goodman topped an epic day of Rotax Senior Max racing that saw three different winners in four races. Consistent Ethan Bostander ended second on the day behind heat 2 winner Goodman, while final winner Troy Snyman was third for the day. Fourth man KC Ensor Smith added two vital race wins ahead of Olerato Sekudu, Muhammad Wally, Nielen Marx and Kian Spies. Ensor-Smith however did enough to add the Senior title to his 2022 Junior crown. Snyman wound up second from old rival Wally, Bostander, Goodman and Sekudu.

High school Junior Max was another 2023 Rotax karting tipping point as Kent Swartz delivered a perfect grand slam day of four race wins over the battling Gianna Pascoal, Jonno Wilson, Georgia Lenaerts and Wian Boshoff. Jordon Wadeley was sixth from Mauro Da Luz and Amani Kinyua. Swartz ultimately opened up a comfortable Junior Max championship margin over to take the title over Boshoff, while Wilson, Wadeley, Lenaerts and Kinyua off for third.

Reagile Mailula was in dominant under-13 Rotax Mini Max form. He took three of the four wins on the day from race 3 winner Kegan Martin, and a composed Caleb Odendaal, who held Durelle Goodman, Keagan Beaumont and Taylin Patel off for third ahead of Franco Gibhard and Emma Dowling. That was enough for Caleb Odendaal to ultimately trot to an easy back to back 2023 South African Mini Max title from Martin, who only just kept Mailula at bay in third from, Beaumont, Goodman, and Dowling.

Rafael Da Silva took two Micro Max wins to take the under-11 win for the day from second and third race winners Matthew Shuttleworth and Cristian Verheul. Ronaldo Koen ended up fourth from Brodi Dowling, Callum du Toit, Ruvan Maritz, and Benjamin Gibhard. In so doing, Rafael da Silva took a comfortable back-to-back Rotax Micro Max championship win from Dowling, but it was super close for third as Ronaldo Koen edged Shuttleworth with Cristian Verheul close behind from Jayden van der Merwe.

The baby Bambinos proved another epic battle as Adriaan Steyn took two heat wins to Luhan de Wet’s one to take the day. Ronald Venter ended up third overall from Yaqeen Gamieldien, Alonzo De Oliveira, Lwashu Mathebula, Slater Smith and Sebastien Shuttleworth. Adriaan Steyn’s effort on the day was enough to wrest the 2023 title from Luhan De Wet by all of 1.5 points, with Venter third from Luke du Toit, Smith, and Mathebula.

That earned Adriaan Steyn a South African karting suit and the chance to support the South African National Team at the Rotax Max ‘Olympics of Karting’ Rotax Max Grand Finals in Bahrain in December. The rest of the champions, Sebastian Boyd, Kyle Lawrence, KC Ensor Smith, Kent Swartz, Caleb Odendaal, and Rafael da Silva, now form the core of the National Team set to compete at the Bahrain Grand Finals. They will be joined by the winners of the forthcoming African Open back at Zwartkops on 1 October.