From 5th to 8th July 2023, the 12th edition of the SWS International Finals introduced a new destination to the 374 drivers who had qualified throughout the world during the 2022 SWS season. In Slovakia, the races were extremely hotly contested, sometimes even a little too hot in the Sprint categories. The competition was very intense, and the winners were often revealed in the final meters of the Finals. Many positive comments rewarded the efforts of the 3MK Events organising team, who worked hard to satisfy the vast majority of participants.
A much-appreciated venue
The infrastructure of the Slovakia Ring provided a superb setting for the drivers and their entourages. It's an understatement to say that the battles were fierce on the Slovak Karting Center circuit, whose sinuous and technical layout offered a high-level challenge to the competitors. The prize for sportsmanship went unquestionably to the Juniors and Kids as well as to the Endurance Cup teams. On and around the track, there was no shortage of activity in Slovakia to make this 12th edition a memorable one.
Sodikart quality label
The quality of Sodi Rental's equipment weighed very positively in the balance of this adventure in Slovakia. Performance was very much in evidence in all categories, four-stroke and two-stroke, accompanied by a high level of reliability to maximise the competitors' enjoyment. For example, the Sodi RT 10s in the Endurance Cup encountered no technical problems whatsoever during the 12-hour race, which covered almost 700 km at a very brisk pace, confirmed by the small gap between the front-runners at the finish. Safety, which has long been an integral part of Sodikart production, was once again up to scratch.
Looking ahead to 2024
Driven by the desire to do even better, the 3MK Events and Sodikart teams have already begun to learn from the Slovak experience. Consideration has already been given to the overall direction of the SWS International Finals, with the overriding objective of satisfying as many SWS drivers as possible, who commit themselves throughout the year at the partner circuits. There's no doubt about it, Sodikart is ready to develop its concept for the next SWS International Finals to the pleasure of everyone.
Sprint Cup: Affolter wins the Final by a wide margin
The Sprint Cup inaugurated a new race format inspired by that of the FIA Karting championships, in which all the participants competed at least once during the heats before contesting their Super Heat. The intensity of the racing was very high from the very first races, and the limits of sportsmanship were sometimes crossed during the meeting by some of the 88 drivers at the wheel of the powerful Sodi Sport 125cc two-stroke Rotax Junior Evo engines.
Kuba Piechulski (POL - E1GOKART Poznan) secured pole position on Wednesday in Qualifying ahead of Adrián Janecskó (HUN - Karting by Drivingcamp) and Thomas Ronhaar (NLD - Kartbaan Oldenzaal). A regular at the top of the standings, Andrejs Laipnieks (LVA - 333) took the lead on Thursday after 15 heats (five per driver), thanks to his four wins. Piechulski was 2nd ahead of Ronhaar with one win apiece. Adam Szydlowski (POL - Gokart Arena Łódź) moved up to 4th place, while three drivers made strong gains: Robin Affolter (FRA - Karting Audincourt) 5th +16 places, Bastien Meunier (FRA - Karting Loisirs Neuilly) 6th +19 places and Rémi Loth (FRA - Prestige Kart-ing), 7th +13 places. On Saturday, Szydlowski won the Super Heat A ahead of Laipnieks and Tobias Stückler (AUT - Race Speed Boomerang). Laipnieks remained in the lead and started on the front row for the Final alongside Piechulski, ahead of Ronhaar and Szydlowski, then Affolter and Loth on the 3rd row. The Final began with a bang as Laipnieks, Ronhaar, and Meunier retired at the first corner. Loth retired a little later. Affolter had taken 1st position ahead of Alexis Mélis (FRA - Karting des 24 Heures du Mans) and escaped unstoppably. Etienne Huyttens (BEL - Liège Karting) then Wiktor Wota (POL - Kartcenter) came back in turn to take 2nd position. Affolter took a clear victory with a lead of more than 8'' over Wota, who had moved up 10 places. Mélis finally mounted the third step of the podium, Szydlowski finished 4th and Jack Williamson (GBR - Brentwood Karting) made an incredible recovery of 21 places to reach the top five.
2023 Sprint Cup standings - Final A
1- Robin Affolter
2- Wiktor Wota
3- Alexis Mélis
4- Adam Szydlowski
5- Jack Williamson
Sanders wins the 2nd edition of the Women's Cup
30 very competitive female drivers set out to conquer this year's Women's Cup on Sodi Sport 125cc 2-stroke Rotax Junior Evo engines. The relatively large gaps in performance observed during the first few runs disappeared as the participants mastered their machines more and more.
Louise Braune (BEL - Karting Eupen powered by Prokart) dominated the category with her pole position, her four 1st places in the heats, and her victory in the Super Heat. Nicole Protivová (CZE - Motokáry Modrice) climbed back up to 2nd place before the Final against Debby Wolfs (NLD - Kartbaan Oldenzaal) and Marjolaine Martins (FRA - Maraikart). Wolfs took the lead in the Final at the start. Braune came back in his wake at the halfway stage and took 1st position on the 11th lap. The duel continued until the penultimate lap when contact resulted in Wolfs retiring and Braune being given a 10" penalty. Abi Sanders (GBR - Daytona Tamworth) won the cup ahead of Braune and Karla Fadet (FRA - Kart 56) climbed 10 places for her second podium. Lea Tajnikar (SVN - Cibikart Maribor) and Anna Liona Trombitás (HUN - Karting by Drivingcamp) rounded off a top five well clear of the rest of the field.
2023 Women's Cup standings
1- Abi Sanders
2- Louise Braune
3- Karla Fadet
4- Lea Tajnikar
5- Anna Liona Trombitás
Kid Cup: Victory for Sovic ahead of the finish line
The 30 Kids put on a superb sporting show at the wheel of their Sodi LR5 200cc 4-stroke Honda cars. 2nd in 2022, Oscar Lambert (GBR - Dubaï Autodrome) dominated the 2023 Kid Cup from the Qualifying Heats onwards. Leader after the heats, he won the Super Heat and started from 1st position in the Final. Simon Both (SVK - Max 60) moved up to 2nd (+6 places) and Alexey Mukhin (Leader Track Podolsk) 3rd (+11 places). A complicated start delayed Both while Lambert led most of the race. On his home turf, Maximilian Sovic (SVK - Slovakia Karting Club) quickly moved up from 5th to 2nd place and then closed the gap on the leader. He made a decisive attack with two laps to go and finally won the race a tenth ahead of Piasciak Marcel (POL - Racing Kart). Lambert finished 3rd, Mukhin 4th, and Mikey Brisenden (GBR - Brentwood Karting) 5th, two places better off. Both had moved up from 20th to 11th place.
2023 Kid Cup standings
1- Maximilian Sovic
2- Piasciak Marcel
3- Oscar Lambert
4- Alexey Mukhin
5- Mikey Brisenden
After the 2022 Kid Cup, Kosenina wins the Junior Cup
For three days, 30 Junior drivers raced against each other on 200cc 4-stroke Honda Sodi LR5s. Jeremy Montgomery-Swan (GBR - Dubaï Autodrome) shone in Qualifying, but Nejc Kosenina (SVN - Karting Maribor) was ahead of him after the heats. Montgomery-Swan went on to win the Super Heat, while Kosenina maintained her advantage in the standings and took the lead in the Final. In the lead on the second run, Kokoa Sugawara (JPN - Harbor Circuit Kisarazu) was passed by Ziemowit Werra (POL - Motokáry Modrice). Kosenina regained the lead from lap 7 to 13 before the final battle. Werra and Richard Benka (SVK - Slovakia Karting Club) swapped 1st position, but Montgomery-Swan crossed the line first before being demoted to 2nd because of a bad manoeuvre. Kosenina drove an intelligent and well-considered race to claim a well-deserved victory in the top category. Benka finished 3rd ahead of Werra, Sugawara was penalised for his aggressive driving and it was Emil Forkner (DEU - Cool Runners Kart) who took 5th place.
2023 Junior Cup standings
1- Nejc Kosenina
2- Jeremy Montgomery-Swan
3- Richard Benka
4- Ziemowit Werra
5- Noah Lanuza
Endurance Cup: PF Racing by 2.5 seconds
The performance and reliability of the Sodi RT 10s with their Honda 390cc 4-stroke engines once again ensured a high-quality Endurance competition between the 44 teams selected for the SWS. The 12-hour race went off without a hitch. Strategy, race intelligence and team spirit prevailed over pure speed, as is often the case in this discipline. Very few penalties interfered with the final result.
By setting the fastest time in Qualifying, Eiriz Pro (CHE) was given the unofficial status of favourite over PF Racing (DEU) and Red Racing (ITA). The race got underway at midday and the battle at the front soon involved PFV (ITA) and PF Racing, closely watched by Dammuso Dad & Son (ITA) and Creatia Racing Team (ESP). PK16 Racing (FRA) held 5th position for a long time, although the gaps remained very small. Euroracing ASD (ITA) and Red Racing Spirit (ITA) monopolised 3rd and 4th positions from the ninth hour of the race, with Red Racing going into the final hour in the lead. With its excellent management of pit stops, PF Racing finally took the win at midnight after 577 laps, as fireworks celebrated the finish. PFV followed in 2nd place by 2.5'', which gives an idea of the intensity of the competition. The 3rd place of PS&A - Advogados (PRT) 25'' further back was a nice surprise while Eiriz Pro finished 4th at 1'10''. PK16 Racing rounded off the top five by a lap, followed by 30'' by Creatia Racing Team. Six different nationalities were represented in the top six teams.
2023 Endurance Cup standings
1- JPF Racing 577 laps
Christian Douven - Dennis Hölle - Niklas Krüger
2- PFV 577 laps - à 2,5’’
Boris Bouvier - Damiano Marchesan - Nicolò Soffiati
3- PS&A - Advogados 577 laps - à 25’’
André Caiado - Ruben Conceicao - Duarte Lopes
4- Eiriz Pro 577 laps - à 1’09
Sven Baumberger - Alexi Bourqui - Tom Chiappe
5- PL16 Racing 576 laps
Valentin Bréaux - Thomas Condaminas - Gary Galant
Great atmosphere during the evening at the X-Bionic Sphere
The SWS International Finals 2023 ended on a high note in the sporting and festive atmosphere of the X-Bionic Sphere, a renowned Olympic training and leisure centre on the banks of the Danube. The evening attracted a large number of participants for a much-appreciated moment of relaxation after four days of fierce competition. The dance floor replaced the race track for the prize-giving ceremony.
Thanks to the involvement of SWS partners, the podium ceremony was enlivened by a host of prizes. The winners received a Bell helmet, except in the Sprint category where Robin Affolter received a B.R.M Chronograph watch specially made for the occasion. The winners of the four Sprint categories were invited to a test day with the SODI Racing Team. As winners of the Endurance Cup, the JPF Racing team won free entry to a 24-hour SWS race. BRM bracelets and ITAKA Shop vouchers were handed out to the drivers on the podiums, and other prizes were awarded by random draw.
The SWS International Finals 2024 will be held in Genk, Belgium
The legendary Genk circuit, "Home of Champions", has been chosen to host the SWS flagship event in Belgium on the track that saw Max Verstappen launch his incredible motorsport career in karting.