This weekend’s round of the 2017 Hampton Downs Top Half Series at Hamilton is set to be the biggest yet with the entry list likely to top the 140 mark.
“And if everyone who says they are coming do, we could even get to 150, which would not only make it the biggest kart event of 2017 but also in recent years.” says series President Roger Smith.
The fact that the KartSport Hamilton club is hosting the annual North Island Sprint Championship event at the Agrisea Raceway kart track over Labour Weekend has helped boost the entry for this weekend’s Hampton Downs-backed Top Half Series’ round.
But Smith also says that a calendar move from earlier in the year to later has also played a part. As has a generous prize pool.
“Yes,’ he says. “With support from all our sponsors we have been able to offer a prize pool of over $37,000 in prizes this year including over $10,000 in actual prize money. I believe this combined with a move to later in the year, and a fun and low cost race environment has seen numbers grow this year.”
Evidence of the strength and popularity of the series can be seen in a breakdown of the 140+ entries already received.
“This weekend,” says Smith, “we will have five class fields of over 20, with at least three of them – as they have been for the last two rounds – oversubscribed for the track limit meaning we will have to run extra heats for those classes.
“With Rotax Junior at 35 entries and Rotax Light and Vortex Mini ROK sitting at about 29 these are amazing fields which bring great racing.”
Karters from all over the country have been quick to support the changes with entries from Dunedin in the south to Whangarei in the north.
With this weekend’s round the third, and the final being hosted by the Eastern Bay of Plenty club at KartZone Raceway at Edgecumbe in early November, it is still too close to call in most of the classes as well.
In the Senior categories Bond Roby from Auckland leads Tauranga’s Sam Waddell and Aucklander Jason Lee in DD2, while Bay of Plenty drivers Taylor Harte and Darren Walker are currently the leading lights in the other Rotax categories.
Harte currently leads Rotax Light from Michael McCulloch from the Kapiti Coast and Campbell Joyes form Hamilton, while Walker leads Rotax Heavy from Aucklander Scott Allright and Rotorua’s Ashton Baird.
Whangarei gets a look-in, in ClubSport 120, with Dean Oliver from the Northland club topping the points standings from Stephen Muggeridge from the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Mark Rose (BoP).
KartSport Mt Wellington club member Ashton Grant is the top ranked driver in the Junior Rotax class heading to Hamilton this weekend but again there is little in it in the points with KartSport Auckland club member Ryan Crombie second and Mt Wellington’s Joshua Parkinson third.
Another KartSport Mt Wellington club member, Liam Sceats, leads Pukekohe youngster Emerson Vincent, and Matthew Membery from the Bay of Plenty, in Vortex Mini ROK, while Christchurch’s Louis Sharp is flying the flag for the travelling Mainland contingent with a lead over Hayden Lines (BoP) and Jay Urwin (Tok) in Cadet ROK.
Eight clubs from Whangarei in the north to Tokoroa in the south comprise the Top Half catchment but karters from other areas are welcome to join the fun.
Rnd 1: Sun June 25 Te Puke Auto Electrical Raceway Te Puke
Rnd 2: Sun Sept 17 Rotorua International Raceway Rotorua
Rnd 3: Sun October 01 AgriSea Raceway Hamilton
Rnd 4: Sun Nov 05 KartZone Raceway Edgecumbe