THE Engen SupaKart championship series has all the ingredients to make it a thrilling season.
The fact that South African drivers took two world titles at the Rok World Cup in Italy last year augurs well for the future of the Engen SupaKart series.
As in the past, the series gets under way at Port Elizabeth's demanding, yet friendly, Celso Scribante circuit, on Victoria Drive, which features a good combination of fast sweeps and a tight infield section. Kicking off the programme on Saturday will be the youngsters, aged between eight and 13 years, in the 100cc Mini Rok class.
Clinton Bezuidenhout (Unity Car Hire/Zanardi) won the title last year and went on to win the world title, narrowly ahead of team-mate Liam Pienaar. Delon Thompson (Top Kart), and Joshua Dias and Bloemfontein's Stuart White (both Blue Label Telecoms/Zanardi) are expected to be at the sharp end of the pack.
Junior Rok is where drivers get to use full-size chassis and are coupled to 125cc water-cooled motors, which ensure lap times are not far off the fastest karts on the day. This class is open to all drivers from the year of their 12th birthday, to December 31 of the year their 16th birthday occurs.
Title favourites will undoubtedly be reigning champ Bradley Liebenberg (Birel), TonyKart- mounted Keagan Masters and Umpie Swart (Indy Oil/Birel).
Adding some glamour to the class are local lass Belinda van Niekerk and Birel's Ivana Cetinich, from Gauteng. It would be foolish to ignore Birel driver Sisa Ngebulana who could surprise a few.
The fastest non-gearbox or traditional karts in the country are Super Rok, for drivers who turn 15 during the course of the year and there is no maximum age limit. Interestingly, there is a fine balance between hot-headed teenage temperament and experience.
Topping the list of drivers will be Ryan Frost (Top Kart), Simon Moss (Tsogo Sun/Watermax TonyKart) and Chassen Bright (Protec/LUK/GO Wax/Zanardi).
Also on the bill is an invitation event comprising three heats for the cadet class and Liyen Mudaly and Ian Fourie should be among the favourites.