The BirelART South Africa Official team entered the Africa Open final with very high aspirations after dominating in the pre-final rounds. Whilst they were able to secure two titles, they also experienced heartbreak in classes which looked like sure victories.
Cadet driver, Tshepang Shisinwana qualified 2nd and won pre-final 1. He took 2nd in pre-final 2 and despite fighting hard in the final looked like he was going to narrowly miss out on the title. Much to the delight of his many fans, however, Tshepang managed to steal victory from the clutches of defeat in a thrilling run to the finish line.
“It was a very hard race and I just managed to find that bit extra as we got to the finish line. I am very happy,” commented Tshepang shyly.
Bjorn Bertholdt did the BirelART brand proud in Micro Max. After qualifying 12th and finishing 10th and 11th respectively in the pre-finals, Bjorn had the drive of his life to finish 5th in the final.
“It was a tough weekend, with lots of bumping and barging. I am happy with my final position,” confirmed Bjorn.
Rayn Asmal was also in the thick of the action in Micro Max, defending and challenge for position throughout the day. Rayn qualified 19th and progressively worked his way through the field until ending the day in 14th place. Quite an achievement for the rookie in such a robust field.
“My kart felt good and I enjoyed the race,” exclaimed Rayn.
Jordan Brooks has to be the undisputed driver of the day. Not only did he qualify on pole, but he was also the only driver in any class to have taken three out of three race wins.
“It was a great weekend. I took six out of six wins over the last two days. I want to thank Jesus Christ for blessing me with these wins, Uncle Corrie, my sponsor, my Mom, Dad, Sister and Grandfather for all of their support. Finally, thanks to Matthew for having my back,” enthused Jordan.
Matthew Morrell had an impressive weekend and looked set for a top three finish. He started pre-final 1 from 3rd on the grid, which was the best possible position from a strategic point of view. Matthew tucked in behind Jordan off the start, not only keeping the competition away from Jordan, but also securing himself a fantastic 2nd place. He went on to take 3rd in pre-final 2, but it all went wrong in the final when he was hit from behind into turn 1. This caused a spin and by the time he was able to rejoin the track, he was at the back of the field. He managed to cross the line 7th.
“Thank you to my mechanic and to Corrie for all of your hard work. We were unlucky in the last race, but that’s racing,” commented Matthew.
Tiffany Napier had a good run in Junior Max. After qualifying 9th, Tiffany finished 8th in pre-final 1, 12th in pre-final 2 and ended the day in 9th.
“It was a very long weekend, but my kart felt good. I had good pace and am happy that I was able to be competitive and stay out of trouble,” reflected Tiffany.
It was heartbreak in Senior Max for Dominic Lincoln. He qualified second and won both of the pre-finals, but victory just wasn’t on the cards for the KZN based driver who experienced a technical gremlin in the final race.
“The kart was very good and I was exceptionally quick throughout the whole weekend. Everything was set for a great final, but I was forced to retire after a power valve stuck open,” explained Dominic.
Connor Donovan had a good showing in his Senior Max debut. Although he only qualified in 9th and finished 12th and 11th in the pre-finals, he kept the best for last. Through consistent driving and staying out of the carnage, Connor claimed a fantastic 5th place finish in the final.
“It was a tough weekend and I had a few teething problems, but the team were able to sort these out before the final. It was a great final and I am ecstatic with the result,” exclaimed Connor.
It was more heart break in the class for UAE driver, Liam Crystal. Liam settled into the kart very quickly and was immediately on the pace. He qualified 6th and finished 9th and 5th in the pre-finals. He had a brilliant start to the final, launching himself straight into third place. Liam was up to second, when he received a rather unsporting and blatant ram from a fellow competitor on the last lap. He ended his campaign in 10th.
“I really enjoyed racing here, it is a lot less frenetic than Europe and the UAE and the karters are very relaxed and super friendly,” enthused Liam.
Everything seemed to be coming together for Bradley Liebenberg in DD2. The reigning champ qualified on pole and won the 1st pre-final. He finished 2nd in pre-final 2 and was the favourite to claim yet another title. After getting into the lead, Bradley ran wide and lost a few positions. He managed to get back to the front before being unceremoniously escorted off the circuit.
“I thought I had the win in the bag. Unfortunately, after being hit, I lost my rear bumper and knew I would be underweight. I circulated to try and help Roman to a podium position,” explained Bradley.
Being bumped off the track seemed to be the order of the day, as Jordan North was also punted off track in the final. Jordan qualified 10th and finished 8th and 9th in the two pre-finals. He was set for a good finish when he was purposely torpedoed off the track.
“The last race was a disaster, but overall this has been my best weekend with the team yet. I had good pace and definitely felt like I had a competitive edge. A massive thank you to the entire BirelART team for all of their hard work. I can’t wait for Cape Town,” commented Jordan.
Roman de Beer had a good day, playing a dual role as driver trainer and driver. He qualified 11th and finished 7th in pre-final 1. He spun off in pre-final 2, but it was the final that counted. Roman put in an impressive drive to finish in 4th place.
“There were a couple of issues, but overall I think the team produced some great results this weekend. I am happy with my performance as well and think that I have gained a huge amount of knowledge and credibility amongst the youngsters in the team,” Roman concluded.
Source: Motorsport Marketing Image: Racepress