The heat was on at the Tony Rust Raceway this past Saturday, when competitors were all fired up in an early bird start for the first round of the 2018 national circuit racing season.
A total of 20 race ready cars lined up at the starting grid, with drivers from Windhoek and Walvis Bay chasing the chequered flag and ultimately a top podium finish.
The undisputed driver of the day was 13-year-old Richard Slamet (jnr), who pulled out all the stops in his maiden race, and made circuit racing history on Saturday to be crowned the youngest Namibian to race a championship event and win.
Not only did he drive his 2-litre 8-Valve Golf to win the X-Class, but competing against some seasoned “big dogs”, he managed to finish fifth overall after putting on an excellent dice, with class rivals Mathew Strydom and Nickey Classens hot on his bumper.
Richard (jnr), who much like Michael Schumacher cut his teeth on the karting circuit from a young age, and holds Junior Max Kart Championship title which has given him the edge. His skilful track handling and driver performance for such a young boy, is evident after Saturday’s race that he’s geared for big things.
In the Clubmans Class A category, the dice was on with top racing driver Christiaan Liebenberg who scored good points despite not finishing the last heat when his car died. Class C driver Athi Mankondwana claimed the top spot ahead of Michael Van Zyl.
Clive Strydom put ‘pedal to the metal’ to win the Clubman’s Class D ahead of Gareth Fourie, whilst Janna Smit driving a Subaru took first place in the E Class.
Meanwhile Christiaan Liebenberg (jnr) won the Karts Junior Max Class with Guido driving into first place in the Maxterino category ahead of Lo-Andre Bruwer and Jadyn Van Zyl. It was said that unfortunately Kart racing entries have taken a dip this year as the driver’s progress onto racing cars on the circuit instead.
The day was organised by the Windhoek Motor Club (WMC), and like all motorsport events, there are unpredictable moments for drivers and cars. It was a disappointing day for Walvis Bay’s reigning circuit champ Allan Martin who didn’t make the start after his car broke down during practise. This set back could affect his chances of defending his title this year, but Martin’s winning streak could prove to the contrary.
The second championship circuit racing event at the Tony Rust track is being held on 21 April, which organisers are hoping to have a bigger line-up at the start, as drivers get their cars race ready for a competitive sprint into the season.