Tate Bishop tackled two Championship classes this past weekend. Round 2 of the National ROK Series was combined with the Regional Rotax Championship in what was set to be a very busy 2 days of racing. Tate has come to relish these opportunities to do as much racing as possible and it certainly showed once again as he bagged some amazing results and certainly upset some apple carts in doing so, effectively announcing himself as a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of this year.
It all started out with the MSA Academy class, the junior high school category for the ROK Series that is run in South Africa. Qualifying happened on a cold Friday afternoon with Tate securing a fantastic P2 on the timing screens by the end of the session. He was out qualified by Charl Visser by a mere tenth of a second and Leyton Fourie and Kwanda Mokoena made up the second row. Race one went down less than an hour after qualifying and from the outset Tate showed super pace. Having been behind Visser at the start, he hunted him down with precision and made his move on lap 9 to establish the lead. It stayed this way to the final lap before Visser and Tate went side by side before the back straight. With only enough room for one kart, Tate came off second best. Having been only a few corners away from his maiden MSA Academy win, it was a tough pill to swallow. Tate however, managed to get his kart going again, albeit now way down the order and drove courageously to the finish line. A truly special sight to see and his never give up attitude evident to the end.
The following morning saw Tate prepare for a Rotax Junior Max Qualifying and 5 races (2 MSA Academy and 3 Junior Max). First up was Junior Max Qualifying where Tate managed a respectable P3 on a rain soaked track. Visser, also competing in Junior Max, took pole, followed by Joseph Oelz in P2. It was then back to ROK duties with a fine drive from Tate. Although not managing that so deserved win, he came home in P2 only 3 tenths adrift of race winner Visser.
Lining up on the inside of the second row for the 1st Junior Max race, Tate looked to be carrying his momentum from the Academy class with some fine driving and overtaking skill. He climbed to the front of the field by lap 6 and led for a while before being knocked back to P5. Keeping his ears pinned, he fought back to a commendable 4th at the flag.
The final race in the MSA Academy class went down after the lunch break and Tate showed his compatriots the way around. He led out from the start this time in a quite superb flag to flag performance. He claimed the maiden win he had been searching for and subsequently registered himself as a title contender for the remainder of the season.
“Tate has really stepped up his race game and delivered an outstanding performance this weekend in 2 very tough classes and against the best from all over the country. Now we start pushing for more wins and making life a lot tougher in the front pack.” Commented a chuffed father Tim post the day’s racing.
Race 2 and 3 for Junior Max followed with a P6 and Third respectively. Overall second in MSA Academy and fourth in Junior Max seems like a pretty darn great effort by the young man and he can certainly look forward to the rest of the season with immense confidence. Tate next tackles the 3rd round of the MSA Academy Championship on June 2nd. Stay tuned for all the updates.