The national lockdown in South Africa was recently downgraded to Level 3 which allowed for further restrictions to be lifted coming into effect on 1 June 2020, amongst others the return of kart testing at some circuits across South Africa.Parolin Racing South Africa, who in association with *SDB Motorsport and under the guidance of team principal, Brandon Whiteley, has been preparing for such a time where teams would be given the go-ahead for a return to the track.
“Parolin Racing South Africa has been waiting patiently and the time has finally arrived where we can return to the circuit, albeit under strict conditions of safety. We’ll need to wear masks and maintain social distancing at all times, as well as ensure that we conform to the guidelines set out for everyone during what is essentially testing conditions. While many of us were stuck at home during the initial phase of lockdown, we as a team have stayed in contact. Sean Frost, who also joined the team at the start of the season in a technical role, has played an integral part ensuring that our drivers stay in shape and maintain a satisfactory level of fitness. So I’m confident that my drivers will be more than ready to take to the circuit without too much fatigue setting in,” stated Whiteley.
As mentioned by Whiteley, Frost is not only a highly-respected technician; he is also a mixed martial artist, a full-contact sport that requires immense discipline and rigorous training. “At the start of the season, I was approached by Brandon (Whiteley) to join Parolin Racing South Africa. While I took little time in making my decision, I was initially brought in for my technical knowledge with regards to kart preparation. As soon as the lockdown was announced and the season abruptly halted due to the COVID19 pandemic, I offered to step in and draft a physical training schedule. I think it was met with mixed emotions at first,” Frost jokingly stated.
All of the drivers have had to keep themselves occupied with a variety of activities, including some schooling via video from their various learning institutions. Following a break from schooling, most of these motorsport enthusiasts would switch to their gaming consoles or PCs for a few laps on their favourite racing game.
Raymond Cornwell, Media Liaison Officer for Parolin Racing South Africa, recently spoke with parents about their children and their activities during the lockdown.
SHAYAAN MOHAMED (6), BAMBINO, KID ROK
“Shayaan is eager to get out onto the track again. He often complains about missing his team-mates. He has been quite active on the trampoline and also very busy on his race simulator. Every couple of days he asks to wear his Parolin race suit. He’s also been enjoying his hover kart much more during the lockdown and has learned the art of drifting it. He’s quite the entertainer when he wants to be,” says Aqeeb Mohammed, Shayaan’s father.
GEORGIA LENAERTS (10), MINI ROK
“Lockdown has made Georgia realise how much she loves and misses karting. She also misses the camaraderie with her team-mates. She struggled with the fitness routine that was given to her but said she’d make up for it on the track with some really quick laps. She really wants to be back out on the circuit as soon as possible and we’re all hoping it isn’t going to take much longer,” states Alex Lenaerts, Georgia’s father.
CHRISTOPHER TAIT (11), MINI ROK
“How quickly life has changed. One day we’re racing and the next we’re not. Forced to stay home, Christopher was unable to attend school, play sports or socialise with any friends. For Christopher, the biggest adaptation was not being able to do what he loves most, and that’s karting.
Homeschooling Christopher has been very challenging for both of us but it seems we have found a good rhythm and it’s becoming increasingly easier. Christopher says I’m a good teacher but the results at year-end will show,” Katherine Tait, Christopher’s mother, jokes.
“Regarding fitness and well-being, we start each morning with a 60-minute walk around the estate before we hit the school books. After that, I allow Christopher some time to unwind with a choice of activities. He, however, always chooses the simulator, a project that he and his dad completed a few weeks back. It was a great time for them to spend together, with Christopher learning the art of welding and grinding. We now look forward to getting back out on the circuit,” said Katherine.
JOAQUIN DE OLIVEIRA (11), MINI ROK
“Joaquin has been very busy during the lockdown, especially with schoolwork. He’s only in Grade 6 but has been inundated with school work. Joaquin has a passion for cooking and spends time in the kitchen helping me prepare the family meals. Joaquin is very dedicated and follows the workouts from Sean (Frost), the fitness coach. We also include cycling and regular walks. When he has a chance he is on his simulator training and staying mentally stimulated. The lockdown has been difficult for him and he is missing the kart circuit tremendously,” states Lucille de Oliveira, Joaquin’s mother.
KENT SWARTZ (11), MINI ROK
“Kent celebrated his 11th birthday during the lockdown period and we arranged a virtual birthday party for him. It was a Fortnite themed party and most of his friends joined him online in a celebration where we gifted each of them with game skins. Kent also helped set up his sister’s YouTube channel (Kourtney Talk). Other activities included a few challenges like a 3D pen art and Hatchimal toy challenge. It wasn’t all play, however, with Kent having to participate in home-schooling lessons during the lockdown. He really enjoys the time with his family and pets most, but says he’s now ready to get back in his kart,” says Peter Swartz, Kent’s father.
JORDAN BROOKES (14), OKJ
“Jordan starts his day with a run around 08:00 followed by a shower and then breakfast. After that, his school routine starts and he’s kept busy for two to three hours a day. Afternoons are spent playing sports, like tennis, hockey and the occasional game of croquet. Any available spare time he has he spends it playing mobile phone games and watching television. Although he hasn’t said as much, we know he’s really eager to get out onto the circuit as soon as possible,” stated Dean Brookes, Jordan’s father.
AADAM KAJEE (10), KID ROK & MOOSA KAJEE (12), MINI ROK
“It’s been a busy time for both Aadam and Moosa since lockdown forced us all to stay home. Despite them not being able to attend school, they’ve been very busy with online schooling. Fortunately, they understand the value of excelling at school and they are quite disciplined in this area. Their spare time is mainly filled with playing soccer in the backyard and hitting the punch-bag which serves as physical exercise. They both get time on the PlayStation console, although Aadam enjoys playing in his room with his toys and Lego. Television and Youtube pretty much take up the remaining activities,” shares Imraan Kajee, father to Aadam and Moosa.
BERLIN ROBINSON (9), MINI ROK & TYLER ROBINSON (11), OKJ
“The first couple of weeks of lockdown, Tyler and Berlin were on school holidays but since 14 April both have been occupied with online schooling. During the break, they have mostly been playing board games, cycling, baking, taking cooking lessons, binge-watching their favourite Netflix shows and movies, and also learning to knit. Tyler, in particular, has been learning the art of bladesmithing with her father, Kyle. Both girls are keen to get into their karts as soon as possible and be out on the circuit again. It’s been too long,” stated Jackie Robinson, mother of the two girls.
We’ve been preparing the karts Shane de beer, head of SDB Motorsport anThe team and its drivers are clearly motivated to return to the circuit,
No doubt that the newest ‘kids on the block’ are a team that has already shown that they are going to contend for race wins across a number of classes with no shortage of talented drivers. The team’s commitment to develop drivers through its driving academy, as well as its devotion to raise further awareness for special needs children in motorsport has shown that Parolin Racing South Africa is more than just a another race team.
“Here at Parolin Racing South Africa we would like to do more than just groom the next karting champion, we would like to make a real difference in society and with various partnerships we will be able to do just that. It’s something that is both exciting and rewarding to us as a team. I can’t divulge much right now as to who will be partnering with us in this, but all will be revealed very soon,” stated Raymond Cornwell, Parolin Racing South Africa’s Media Liaison Officer.