Johann Spiteri: Champion at Racalmuto

Monday, November 18, 2013, 9:55

Motorsport Team Malta driver Johann Spiteri has just been crowned Class Champion for 2013 after winning his class in 5 of the 6 races forming part of the 2013 CSAI Campionato Siciliano di Velocita, promoted by Sikelia Motorsport at the Autodromo Valle dei Templi, Racalmuto.

Johann drove his DDM sponsored Jedi Suzuki in the class for Formula cars under 1000cc. The car is immaculately prepared by his father Charles, a successful racer of the past himself. In so doing he was also successful in lowering the class record, an achievement he attained in the very last round of the championship, with an excellent lap time of 1 minute 03.8 seconds. Only two Maltese drivers have lapped Racalmuto in a faster time, Alan Curmi and Joshua Anastasi, though to be fair both did so in larger engine cars.

This year’s championship was not as well subscribed as that of previous years, partly due to the financial crisis hitting most of Europe at present, but also due to the stringent CSAI rules which require plenty of additional expenses for both drivers and organizers over those of previous years. It is hoped that the situation will be restored to normality next season, after a lengthy meeting was held at the end of the last round of the championship earlier this month between delegates from the CSAI, the promoters, the circuit owners, and other interested parties, the writer included.

Whilst the Campionato di Velocita was at an all time low this year, the Campionato Time Attack has boomed with larger entries on each of the  championship rounds held so far this year. Interest from Sicilians has been growing steadily, but not half as steadily as the interest being shown by Maltese drivers, frustrated by the lack of a motor racing circuit in Malta. In fact Malta was represented by 24 drivers on the October round, and 29 drivers on the penultimate championship round in early November. On both occasions, the hotel at the track was occupied by Maltese racers exclusively.

The rules for the two championships differ considerably; those of the CSAI championship cater for out and out racing prototypes running to International rules, whilst the Time Attack events have their own rules which cater for mass production cars, including road going saloons, but excluding out and out prototype racing cars. The format of the racing is also different with Time Attack drivers able to do as many single timed laps as they please within their allotted sessions, whereas each round of the Campionato di Velocita consists of one qualifying session for grid positions, followed by a 12 lap race.

Among the regular entries in Time Attack events this year has been young Nicky Xerxen who won a European round in Cyprus recently with his potent Mitsubishi EVO. He also holds the time for the outright fastest touring car at Racalmuto. The second fastest time for a touring car is also held by a Maltese driver, Mark Galea with his Subaru Impreza, whilst other regulars like Josef Calleja who also represented Malta in Cyprus, Rodrick Borg, Steve Calleja, Kenneth Bonello, Adrian Muscat Azzopardi, and others have all performed excellently and are all in with a chance of a class win in the championship.

Where sport is concerned, the Maltese are always present. Where motorsport is concerned, the Maltese are always on the rostrum; more often than not, on the top step.

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