By Emilee Wright
The KartSport Rotorua club’s The Rock FM Raceway high in the Mamaku Ranges west of the city hosts the next double-header round of this year’s Giltrap Group New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge this weekend.
The track is New Zealand’s newest and at 1241 metres long and 8 metres wide should allow for some exciting racing with plenty of chances to pass at the fifth series round on Saturday then the sixth on Sunday.
There’s still plenty to race for in each class, too, with Junior Rotax a good example.
Points leader Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington hasn’t yet sealed the deal with Aucklanders Ashton Grant, Joshua Parkinson, Callum Hedge and Sam Wright, and Jackson Rooney from Palmerston North and Ryan Wood from Wellington all still in contention for the class title.
This weekend’s rounds also see three new Juniors stepping up to join the Rotax series for the rest of the year.
In the Senior classes, Manawatu’s Jacob Cranston has a comfortable points lead over the Kapiti Coast’s Michael McCulloch in Rotax Light with John Wallace from Palmerston North third. This weekend’s rounds see the return of Christchurch’s Olivia Yardley after taking some time out from the sport.
In DD2, CJ Sinclair leads the points with 342 points from fellow Aucklander Jonathan Buxeda on 327 with Christchurch driver Ayden Polascheck a close third on 320 points. And with two seats to the global series’ Grand Final (in Portugal in November) available for DD2 drivers this year the race is definitely still on.
Finally, former DD2 Masters Grand Final class title winner Ryan Urban still has work to do to grab his seat for this year’s event with Tiffany Chittenden from Christchurch only 8 points behind.
It’s even closer in the Supermasters section with current leader Dave Malcolm (Auckland) only 4 points up on second-placed Gary Claxton who in turn is just 2 points ahead of Warren Parris in third.
2017 Giltrap Group New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge
Rnds 1 & 2: Sat- Sun Feb 18-19 Manawatu Toyota Raceway, Palmerston North
Rnds 3 & 4: Sat-Sun March 18-19 Te Puke Auto Electrical Raceway, Te Puke
Rnds 5 & 6: Sat-Sun May 20-21 KartSport Rotorua International Raceway, Mamaku, Rotorua
Rnds 7 & 8: Sat-Sun Aug 12 & 13 AgriSea Raceway, Hamilton
2017 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals: November 04-11 2017 Portimao Portugal