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The 2013 Rotax Max Karting Challenge gets underway this weekend with drivers from all over around Africa converging on Killarney's challenging 1000m “K” circuit in Cape Town for the first National championship round on Saturday 23 March, followed by the African Open on Sunday.
Each of the four National classes will run four races on Saturday, with two South African reigning world champions and several national and regional champions among the entries.
The biggest field of the day will be in the primary-school Maxterino class, where local drivers fresh from the recent Regional meeting, will have far more than their regular rivals to contend with.
Western Province champion Dario Busi (TonyKart), JP Hamman (Zanardi), Giordano Lupini (TonyKart), Charl Visser (Zanardi), Ike Klaasen (CRG), Jason Coetzee (Zanardi) and Aidan Strydom (Zanardi) will be defending home pride against Stuart White (Zanardi) from Bloemfontein, Durban lad Jarrod Odendaal (TonyKart) and Johannesburg drivers Neha Harpal (CRG) and Dillon van Vuuren (CRG).
Keep an eye on young racer Neha Harpal from Gauteng, however; she showed great potential last year and could just spring a few surprises.
The high school Junior Max class will see the Cape quartet of Umpie Swart (Oil Birel) and Zanardi trio Julian van der Watt, Kohen Bam and Delano Fowler face off against Gauteng lads Keagan Masters (TonyKart) and Bradley Liebenberg (Birel), while SA Maxterino and Mini Rok World champion Clinton Bezuidenhout will further spice to the class as he graduates from the smaller Maxterino Class.
Next up will be the star-studded open Senior Max class where Rok World champion Nathan Parkins (Zanardi), SA Senior Max champion Chad Maciver (CRG), SA and WP Junior Max champion Eugene Deneyssen (Birel) and multiple Cape and SA champion Luke Herring (Zanardi) will take on Gauteng racers Caleb Williams (CRG), Wesley Vosloo (TonyKart) and Cape chargers Jonathan Aberdein (TonyKart) and Hilton Pieters (CRG).
An interesting wild-card entry is that of 'princess' Cate Walker (TonyKart) who has dominated recent Cape Clubmans races.
Topping the bill in terms of sheer speed are the potent DD2 gearbox karts, where South Africa has a double-reigning World champion - Durban racer Cristiano Morgado. Saturday's races will see him challenged, however, by Cape drivers Chad Daniel (CRG), David Perel (Zanardi) and promising youngster Luke van Rensburg (Zanardi), as well as Johannesburg drivers Luca Canderle, Nicholas Verheul (CRG) and Birel duo Ryan Frost and Eugene Britz.
The DD2 Masters Class for drivers older than 32 will see SA Rally star Leeroy Poulter (Birel) under attack from Cape men Lourens van Rensburg (Zanardi) and Johan Hamman (Birel), as well as upcountry rivals such as Erwin Sterne (CRG) and TonyKart drivers Conor Hughes and Richard van Heerden.
On Sunday Killarney will host the African Open round of the Rotax Max Challenge for the first time. The winners of this meeting will gain an automatic entry into the 2013 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, to be held in New Orleans in November.
It will be interesting to see how the contingent from Mozambique and Namibia have sharpened their race skills, as they showed great improvement in the previous two African Open events, run at the Idube circuit in KZN in 2011 and 2012.
The SA Rotax Max Challenge will be run over four rounds in 2013, with the next round to be run in Port Elizabeth in June, Round 3 in KwaZulu-Natal in August, and the final at the Zwartkop Kart Raceway in October.
Competitors in this championship will count their best three meetings, while Regional race results over the season will make up 10 percent of the final championship tallies.