by Emilee Wright
The ‘Polar Blast’ that swept the country over the weekend meant drivers contesting the latest double header (5 & 6) round of this year’s Giltrap Group New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge at Rotorua experienced some very wet and cold conditions, particularly on Saturday.
The Junior Max wasn’t dominated by any one driver this weekend. Round 5 qualifying was taken out by Auckland’s Callum Hedge by 0.003 from Wellington’s Ryan Wood. Wood then went on to win heat one, two and the Pre-Final but Hedge came through in the Final to take the win from Palmerston North driver Jackson Rooney and Ryan Wood.
Sunday qualifying was taken out by Jackson Rooney from Callum Hedge and Ryan Wood. Callum Hedge, Sam Wright, Ryan Crombie and Rianna O’Meara Hunt were very consistent in the heat racing all day. Hedge took the Pre Final win from O’Meara-Hunt and Ashton Grant but it was Wellington ace Rianna O’Meara-Hunt who went on to win the Final from Daniel Connor Racing team mates Callum Hedge and Ryan Crombie.
Bay of Plenty driver Corey Green was the master in the rain in the Rotax Light senior class, taking out round 5 qualifying, both heat races and the Pre Final but then the sun came out for the Final and Jacob Cranston came through to take the win by 1.8 seconds over Michael McCulloch, Ryan Yardley and Olivia Yardley with Green finishing up fifth in the Final.
Cranston then carried on his winning way from Saturday into Sunday with a clean sweep over Corey Green and Michael McCulloch. Cranston will be looking to carry these dominating results into Rounds 7 & 8 to secure the Rotax Light seat to the Grand Challenge event in Portugal in November.
With having all the DD2 classes running together it allowed for some awesome on track battles.
DD2 Master driver Ryan Urban took pole position in the rain at Round 5 on Saturday from NZed Motorsport driver Daniel Bray, CJ Sinclair and Jono Buxeda. Urban then went on to win heat 1 by 5.6 seconds from Bray and former Christchurch but now Auckland-based Ryan Yardley.
Series returnee Stuart Marshall proved that time out of the seat hasn’t been an issue finishing second in the DD2 Masters class in the heat racing with Tauranga-based Niki Urwin also having some promising results over the weekend.
Daniel Bray went on to win Round 5 from CJ Sinclair and Ryan Yardley in DD2 while DD2 Masters was won by Ryan Urban from Stuart Marshall and Fraser Hart. David Malcolm was once again the best of the Supermasters from Gary Claxton and Mark Dixon.
On Sunday Bray was another driver to take the clean sweep of all his races. Female driver Tiffany Chittenden showed that she was the Masters category competitor to beat on Sunday, however, after qualifying fifth overall and first Master.
Ryan Urban was the first Master driver home in the Pre-Final though he was closely followed by Chittenden who was not giving up the fight.
Round 6 Finals time arrived and Daniel Bray was just too strong in the dry conditions winning the Final by 8.9 seconds from Jono Buxeda with Bond Roby taking the third step on the podium.
Meanwhile Chittenden’s last lap pass on former class Grand Challenge title winner Ryan Urban allowed her to take her first win in the 2017 Giltrap Group New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge with Praga driver Callum Orr coming away with third place.
CRG driver David Malcolm, who also runs under Daniel Connor Racing, proved to once again be the dominant driver in the Supermasters winning Round 6 from NZed Motorsport driver Gary Claxton followed by Warren Parris.
Competitors can now look forward to the final two rounds of the 2017 Giltrap Group NZRMC at the Kartsport Hamilton club’s AgriSea Raceway on the 12th & 13th of August, at stake the makeup of the New Zealand team to contest the annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, being held between November 4-11 in Portimao, Portugal.
Rnds 5 & 6 KartSport Rotorua International Raceway Mamaku Rotorua Sat-Sun May 20-21 2017
Rnd 5 (Saturday)
Final – 1. Daniel Bray 14:46.081; 2. CJ Sinclair +1.571; 3. Ryan Yardley +12.200; 4. Bond Roby +16.129; 5. Niki Urwin +17.204; 6. Jono Buxeda +20.124
Final – 1. Ryan Urban 14:53.518; 2. Stuart Marshall +9.462;3. Fraser Hart +13.228; 4. Callum Orr +14.420;5. James Smith +16.248; 6. Tiffany Chittenden +17.239;
Rotax Max Light
Final – 1. Jacob Cranston 13:48.511; 2. Michael McCulloch +1.802; 3. Ryan Yardley +5.956; 4. Olivia Yardley +17.872; 5. Corey Green +6 laps; 6. John Wallace +9 laps
Final – 1. Callum Hedge 19:50.862; 2. Jackson Rooney +13.440; 3. Ryan Wood +17.481; 4. Joshua Parkinson +18.485; 5. Rianna O’Meara-Hunt +26.010; 6. Ashton Grant +27.383
Rnd 6 (Sunday)
Final – 1. Daniel Bray 12:29.445; 2. Jono Buxeda +8.910; 3. Bond Roby +10.818; 4. Jason Lee +13.403; 5. Niki Urwin +15.306; 6. Ayden Polaschek +18.282
Final – 1. Tiffany Chittenden 12:39.085; 2. Ryan Urban +53.998; 3. Callum Orr +5.511; 4. Fraser Hart +7.182; 5. Stuart Marshall +8.125; 6. James Smith +14.095
Rotax Max Light
Final – 1. Jacob Cranston 13:44.899; 2. Corey Green +1.753; 3. Michael McCulloch +10.123; 4. Ryan Yardley +10.391;5. Sebastian Noble +10.683; 6. Olivia Yardley +11.630;
Final – 1. Rianna O’Meara-Hunt 16:18.381; 2. Callum Hedge +0.244; 3. Ryan Crombie +0.487; 4. Ryan Wood +2.833; 5. Jackson Rooney +2.927; 6. Ashton Grant +3.153.
Series points after 6 of 8 rounds
1. CJ Sinclair 510 points; 2. Jonathan Buxeda 491; 3. Ayden Polaschek 469; 4. Daniel Bray 454; 5. Hayden Jackson 451; 6. Bond Roby 431.
1. Ryan Urban 528 points; 2. Tiffany Chittenden 512; 3. James Smith 488; 4. Dave Malcolm 469; 5. Garry Claxton 454; 6. Warren Parris 447.
1. Jacob Cranston 536 points; 2. Michael McCulloch 505; 3. John Wallace 468; 4. Corey Green 338; 5. Sebastian Noble 326; 6. Ryan Yardley 321
1. Rianna O’Meara-Hunt 506 points; 2. Callum Hedge 495; 3. Ashton Grant 483; 4. Joshua Parkinson 477; 5. Jackson Rooney 467; 6. Ryan Wood 461