Joseph Oelz, donning his stunning new lid for 2018, went into Saturday’s 1st Round of the 2018 WP Junior Max Championship looking to make his mark while carrying the momentum from previous years. That he certainly did. When one considers this is his rookie season in the class, to come away with 2 out of 3 victories and an overall class win for the day is no small feat.
Oelz showed he meant business from the word go. In the mid morning qualifying session he put in a killer lap of 41.797 missing out on pole, set by Junior Max regular speedster Charl Visser, by a mere 78 hundredths of a second. Troy Dolinkscheck and Simon Simpson Heath would start form row 2 while Tate Bishop and Kai van Zijl, Joseph’s fellow graduates to this class would start from row 3.
Race 1 saw Oelz drop to P3 while Dolinschek snatched P2 during the opening exchanges. The top 6 stuck together like glue for most of the race. Oelz saw his opportunity to grab P2 on lap 5 and duly delivered. This left him chasing Visser for P1. It ended that way, Visser, Oelz, Dolinschek, van Zijl and Bishop.
If race 1 was manic, Race 2 was even more so. With all the top 6 gunning for top stop. Oelz, very much part of the dog fight, was relegated down to P6 in the opening laps. As has come to be expected he fought back admirably, at one stage running in P3, before being run wide onto the dirt on the exit of the fast Kosmic Corner. He eventually crossed the white wash in P4 behind Visser, Bishop and Sibo Solomon.
Having been stunned by the pace upfront from Charl Visser in race 1 and 2. Oelz set about setting the record straight in the final race of the day. Showing blistering pace on a heavily rubbered in tarmac he found his way to the front by lap 3. Visser followed closely after being bumped down the order at the start and eventually got past Oelz to take the lead. Joseph having to settle for P2.
As the day drew to a close with tired bodies and minds, Visser’s kart didn’t manage to make it through parc ferme scrutineering. This meant that all the drivers gained a spot and young Joseph Oelz would take the top step of the podium in his first outing in the class. Quite an incredible achievement.
Stay tuned for more of Joseph’s action on track as he tackles round 2 of the WP Junior Max Championship in less than a month.