South Africa has a new karting world champion after Jayden Els from Boksburg won the Rotax Mini Max Grand Final in Sarno, Italy.
All of 12 years old, the Laerskool Baanbreker primary school academic achiever starred throughout the week, but was caught out by tough conditions in the Pre Finals on Friday and started Saturday’s Final in 10th position. From there however, he drove a stunning race, moving to fifth by the end of the third lap; was in third by the second lap and moved into the lead on lap 6 before driving away to win the 12-lap Final by just over a second from Canadian kid Thomas Nepveu, with Finn Nurmi Tino in third.
“What an amazing end to an awesome week of racing!” young Els beamed as he celebrated after the race. “It was extremely competitive and tough, but we did it! “Thanks so much to all my supporters, sponsors, school friends fellow competitors, family and friends and especially my mom and dad for your incredible support this week, today and always!”
Three other South Africans made it into Rotax Max Grand Finals on Saturday after several hopefuls were eliminated from the Pre Finals in extreme storm conditions Friday, with Justin Allison driving to 18th in the DD2 Final and Eugene Brittz ending 23rd in the same race, while Joshua de Paiva ended 32nd in Micro Max.
The Rotax Max Grand Finals cater only for the champions and runners up in the various national Rotax Max karting championships from around the world every year, with the SA team comprising only South African and African champions or vice champions. Competitors gather at a different track around the world in October, with Sarno near Naples in Italy being this year’s venue, where each driver was as always provided with an identical kart chassis, engine, tyres and components.
Considered to be the purest karting world championship comprising the best drivers from around the world racing on the most even possible playing field, Rotax Max Grand Finals winners are true world champions. Now at the tender age of 12, Jayden Els has earned his place amongst other South African karting world champion legends.