New RMC season starts with 3 regional openers in 3 weeks

A brand new 2023 Rotax Max Challenge karting season kicks off with a race in each region over the next three weeks. Drivers around the country will embark on their campaigns focussed on taking their regional titles, and more importantly the national championship in their class. South African RMC champions earn a seat in the national team for the annual ‘Olympics of Karting’ RMC International Grand Finals in December.

With major changes behind the scenes including a step back to MSA control, local series promotor Ed Murray intends delivering the best Rotax Max season yet. “We are seriously upbeat about the 2023 Rotax Max Challenge,” Murray confirmed. “There’s been an administration change, but we will continue to run the races and series as we did before to keep building on a quarter century of Rotax Max Challenge success in South Africa and around the world.”

The season starts with the opening round of the RMC Gauteng Regional championship at Zwartkops this Saturday 4 February. It’s Cape Town’s turn a week later, with the opening WP round at Killarney 11 February, before the KZN RMC season kicks off with what’s sure to be a mini national at iDube’s on 18 February. That meeting is two weeks before the first National, so many drivers form the other regions will race in preparation.

That opening National at iDube on 4 March, is the first of four SA rounds, followed by Formula K in Benoni 29 April, at Killarney 1 July and Zwartkops on 26 August 2023. Drivers’ 10 best of 13 national results, plus a percentage of four designated results out of their eight regional races, comprise their national score. There’s one last chance for drivers to qualify for the ‘Olympics of Karting’ Grand Finals in December, at the wildcard RMC African Open Zwartkops on 1 October.

Rotax Max’s premier class, DD2, for drivers of 15 years and older features a powerful water cooled 2-stroke engine with a 3D printed nicasil cylinder, an electronic power valve, digital ignition and electric start. With a 2-speed gearbox, an auto clutch, direct drive and four-disc braking, DD2 delivers stunning lap times and safe, close racing without breaking the bank.

Watch for regulars, Gauteng champion Jamie and brother Brandon Smith, Kian Grottis, Nicolas Spanoyannis, and Wayland Wyman in the upcountry races. Junior graduates Jayden Goosen and Nicolaos Vostanis, and 4-time SA champion Bradley Liebenberg will keep them honest. 2022 SA champion Sebastian Boyd takes on Joseph Oelz and Jason Coetzee in the Cape, and its Brett Walden versus Nicholas Wuite and Riley Horner in KZN.

Masters is for drivers 32 years and older driving DD2 karts. SA champion Eugene Brittz will take on Kyle Lawrence and Marco Viegas in Gauteng, and Conor Hughes races Andrew Thomas and Michael and Jared Jordan in the Cape. KZN Masters include Jonathan Pieterse, RMC legend and four time world champion Cristiano Morgado and Alistair Mingay. Gauteng also has an over-40 Vets class, where Philippe Chapat dices Derrick Joseph and Jonathan Kairuz.

The next four classes all race 125 cc water cooled 2-stroke engines with chain drive and rear axle braking. Racing full sized chassis, 30 bhp Senior Max will see Muhammad Wally fight old rivals Olerato Sekudu, Roshaan Goodman and Moosa Kajee and ex-Juniors, SA champion KC Ensor-Smith, Nik Roos and Erich Heystek in Gauteng. SA champion Charl Visser has Reza Levy, Storm Lanfear, and former Juniors Ethan Stier and Matthew Wadeley to race in the Cape, and Troy Snyman races Shrien and Dhivyen Naidoo, Jono Pieterse and Yi Fan Li in KZN.

High school Junior Max is for under-15 drivers on similar chassis to Senior, but with a 22 bhp Rotax engine. With champion Ensor-Smith moving up, Wian Boshoff, and Mini Max alumni Kegan Martin, Brandon van der Walt, Ndzalo Khoza and Georgia Lenaerts will fight it out in Gauteng. Reese Koorzen, Jordon Wadeley and Ethan Deacon race Keegan Beaumont and Matthew Chiwara in the Cape, and Jono Wilson dices Travis Mingay and Uzair Khan in KZN.

Hugely popular Mini Max for kids between 9 and 13, uses a 13 bhp Rotax Max engine on a junior chassis. SA champion Caleb Odendaal will be out to do the double, but he has Micro champ Rafael Da Silva, Emma Dowling, Aadam Kajee, Spice Mailula and Kent Swartz among the many chasing him in Gauteng. Keegan and Aiden Beaumont take on Matthew Roach and Matthew Chiwara in the Cape, and its Ryan Falconer against Tayln Patel in KZN.

Micro Max for kids between seven and eleven years old uses a Junior chassis and an 8 bhp Rotax engine. Bambino champion Noah Cronje steps up to take on Johan Nolte, Matthew Shuttleworth, Cristian Verheul, Diego Antunes, Ronaldo Koen, Brodi Dowling and Logan Billau, among others in Gauteng. And watch for Liam Wharton, Jayden van der Merwe and Zach McAuley among the Cape Micro kids.

The kindergarten of motor racing, Bambino caters for kids between 5 and 9 years old racing baby karts powered by 50 cc Comer air cooled engines. It’s all to play for amongst the class regulars, and who knows, maybe a standout first year kid with champion Cronje moving up. Keep an eye on Luhan de Wet, Callum du Toit, Adriaan Steyn and Aston Verheul in Gauteng, while Michael O’Mahoney, Zac Boshoff an Carter Cedras should be the top kids in the Cape.

Of course, all of the above come together in each of the classes to race the four blockbuster nationals around the country. But for now, it’s the opening action in each of the three regional championships to look forward to over the coming three weeks at Zwartkops, Killarney and iDube. Any of those is worth a visit for truly world class action, right on your doorstep.

The only change in Rotax Max Challenge South Africa for 2023 is the series’ behind the scenes return to Motorsport South Africa control. RMC and its officials will continue to run the racing in a standalone MSA National Championship series as before. Star drivers are once again eligible for Regional and National colours and MSA will issue RMC drivers the necessary FIA license to compete internationally. Find out more on the website.

“We came to agreement to return to MSA control for 2023 after months of negotiations,” RMC boss Ed Murray concluded. “We now look forward to a successful karting season in a spirit of mutual cooperation as we work toward a long term agreement for 2024 and beyond.”