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The start/finish straight at Century Karting (Image: Century Karting)

The second round of Cape Town’s indoor karting league takes place on Tuesday 12 March at Century Karting. The race will be run in clockwise (reverse) direction and will start at 8pm.

The format of the race will be the same as seen two weeks ago at Kenilworth Karting: a 15 minute qualifying session, followed by a two hour endurance race. Each team will pick a single driver to contest qualifying, and may not choose the driver who qualified at the previous event. Driver changes will take place during the race, with each driver receiving a stamp on the forearm from a marshal when getting into the kart. By the end of the two hours, each team must have accumulated 12 stamps.

The first race of the season gave the new teams a taste of what league racing is all about. They know they have to get faster, slicker and more consistent. At the top of the order, the aim is simple: pole position and victory.

The greatest challenge in indoor racing is overtaking, simply because the track is tight and twisty and the karts have very little torque. It is not unusual to see a battle for position last 10 minutes (roughly 30 laps) as an experienced driver knows how to keep an attacker at bay without losing too much time.

And that makes qualifying all the more important. While a race is seldom won and lost in the first few minutes, it certainly is an advantage to be at the front, where there is less chance of being held up by karts that are bunched up in the early stages. For that reason, the teams will choose their qualifying drivers carefully, making every effort to secure that valuable pole position.

For Tuesday’s race, the karts will be largely the same as those used at Kenilworth Karting two weeks ago. The difference will be in the engines – 160cc motors will be used instead of the 200cc units raced last time. That is simply because the 160cc engines have been found to be more driveable, and therefore deliver better laptimes, on the twisty part of the Century Karting circuit.

As half of the league teams are relatively inexperienced, it is quite likely that they will be practising at Century Karting on the weekend. The more experienced teams will also likely take the opportunity to re-acquaint themselves with the clockwise direction. That of course means that there should be some exciting action this weekend at Century Karting, and it will be well worth watching.

But the main event for the league drivers is Tuesday night. Qualifying will get underway at 7:30pm, followed by a short briefing and then the race at 8pm.

The track is located on the mezzanine parking level at Canal Walking shopping centre. There will be refreshments on sale, and with the mall just a few metres away, there is plenty of opportunity to get shopping done before the race starts.

The second race of the indoor karting season promises to deliver close, tense and exciting racing. Can Raceweb repeat their victory of two weeks ago? Or will another team establish themselves as challengers for victory? Come down to Century Karting on Tuesday and find out.

Seven teams lined up for the start of the indoor karting league in Cape Town at Kenilworth Karting on Tuesday 26 February that was dominated start to finish by Raceweb, with No Fear second and AM Racing completing the top three.

There were plenty of new faces in the league, with four new teams out of the seven that took part in the race. Raceweb (returning after a year out), No Fear and Redline Racing were the established teams, and were joined by newcomers Auto Magneto (AM) Racing, Team Play, Maniacs and Sunworx. Not all of the drivers in the new teams were novices, however, as some of the drivers from 2012 who found themselves without a team joined up with the 2013 entrants.

The evening started with a 15 minute qualifying session, which established a starting order that would remain almost unchanged throughout the race. The qualifying results were as follows:

Pos Team Time Gap Interval
1 Raceweb 20.320 0.000 0.000
2 AM Racing 20.360 0.040 0.040
3 No Fear 20.380 0.060 0.020
4 Redline Racing 20.970 0.650 0.590
5 Team Play 21.090 0.770 0.120
6 Maniacs 21.300 0.980 0.210
7 Sunworx 21.770 1.450 0.470

Just six hundredths of a second separated the top three in qualifying, but the rest of the field struggled to match the blistering pace set by the leading teams. As the season progresses, the field can be expected to close up and all seven teams should be covered by no more than a few tenths in qualifying by the end of the year.

The race featured a rolling start, which is new in the league for 2013. Raceweb led from pole position and set about building a gap to the rest of the pack. AM Racing and No Fear kept close to the leader in the early part of the race, with Redline Racing in what would become quite a lonely fourth position, as they dropped back from the top three but pulled away comfortably from the bottom three teams.

Not too far into the race, No Fear ran into some bad luck and dropped a couple of laps back to fifth place. They quickly established that they were too quick to be that far back and set about chasing down fourth and then third place, which they took from Redline Racing in the second half of the race. No Fear will be a team to watch through the season. They displayed raw pace throughout the race, and set the fastest lap of 20.07 seconds.

AM Racing, although they were a new team, were certainly well prepared, and drove a quick and consistent race to cross the line in an impressive second place. Unfortunately for the team, they incurred a two-lap penalty for completing an extra lap after the chequered flag fell. The penalty moved them behind No Fear in the final results, which will be disappointing for AM Racing, but they will take comfort from their competitive performance first time out.

The three teams remaining new teams – Team Play, Maniacs and Sunworx – found out first-hand just how tough the racing is in the league, as they battled between themselves for the final three positions behind Redline Racing. Maniacs were the most competitive, which was to be expected as they had a number of experienced league drivers in the team, and they finished 7 laps behind Redline Racing and 16 laps behind winners Raceweb. But for Team Play and Sunworx, the evening was about staying out of trouble and constantly letting the leaders through under blue flags. The first race for a new team is always tough, and to their credit the new teams gained significantly in pace through the race, to the point that Team Play were putting in consistent high 20-second laps towards the end.

Raceweb were, as expected, immaculate. Pole position was followed by a perfect start and then a flawless two hours of racing, in which they didn’t put a wheel wrong. With a resounding victory, they have made their intentions for the season clear – win the league as clinically as possible. While they had reason to celebrate, however, Raceweb instead reacted to the race with a great display of sportsmanship, giving their first place trophy to No Fear in recognition of an inspired performance from a difficult early-race position.

Perhaps most importantly, the atmosphere at the track was extremely positive, with teams chatting to one another and applauding each other’s achievements. With new teams and new faces, new friendships will doubtless form before long, which can only help the league to grow. Indoor league karting is a very accessible form of motor racing, and is therefore a great opportunity to build close communities.

The second race of the season will be at Century Karting, at Canal Walk shopping centre in Century City, on Tuesday 12 March. The action promises to get better and better.

Full race results:

Pos Team Laps Completed Gap Interval
1 Raceweb 335.000 0.000 0.000
2 No Fear 332.000 -3 laps -3 laps
3 AM Racing 332.000 -3 laps -9.73 sec
4 Redline Racing 326.000 -9 laps -6 laps
5 Maniacs 319.000 -16 laps -7 laps
6 Team Play 309.000 -26 laps -10 laps
7 Sunworx 305.000 -30 laps -4 laps

193723_200522843305494_3335478_oIndoor karting is popular all over the world, as an accessible, safe and thrilling hobby. But there are inevitably those who take it more seriously than that, and the result is league racing of a startlingly high standard.

In Cape Town, indoor league racing takes place at Kenilworth Karting and Century Karting. The races are two-hour team events, complete with refuelling and driver changes. Starting positions are determined by a 10 minute qualifying session, in which drivers push to the maximum in search of lap times and often end up setting times within tenths or even hundredths of a second of each other. At the end of the races, the top teams are typically separated by a lap or two, and sometimes as little as a second or two.

At Century Karting, the karts provided are those used by the general public for social racing. But for league, there is a period of meticulous preparation before the race, to ensure maximum performance from the karts and as level a playing field as possible. At Century Karting, the karts are powered by 160cc 4-stroke single cylinder engines with centrifugal clutches. Braking is done exclusively on the rear axle, which adds to the challenge of driving on the limit.

For public racing at Kenilworth Karting, the karts are the same specification as those at Century Karting, but for league the engines are swapped for more powerful 200cc units. The larger engines reduce lap times by about 5% and push the drivers hard physically as G-forces are increased throughout the circuit.

The 2013 league season gets underway at Kenilworth Karting tomorrow evening, 26 February. Qualifying starts at 19:30 and the race gets underway at 20:00. The race will be run on the alternative layout, which is only used for league racing and provides a tight, twisty and technical challenge for the drivers. Seven teams will compete for victory, the first time a field larger than six teams has been entered, which promises to deliver plenty of action over the two hours.

Spectators are welcome and there will be food and drinks on sale. The racing is always exciting and entertaining, and well worth watching for any racing fan.

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