There was a tough initiation for the three young Kiwi karters, Jacob Douglas, Logan Manson and Kaden Probst, who contested the final round of this year’s Trofeo D’Autunno (Autumn Trophy) series at the South Garda kart track near Lonato in the country’s north-east over the weekend.
In Italy for the annual ROK Cup International meeting at the same venue this coming weekend, all three showed pace but only one – Levin’s Logan Manson – made it to a Final, finishing 22nd out of 36 in the B Final.
With 107 entries in the Mini ROK class alone, it was something of a baptism of fire for the three young Kiwis.
The field was split into three groups for Qualifying with reigning New Zealand Vortex Mini ROK class champion Jacob Douglas quickest in qualifying with a 55.122, good enough for eighth place in the S3 group.
Neither Kaden Probst (55.858) nor Logan Manson (56.003) were far behind but the times were so close that each ended up 30th overall in their group, Probst S1, Manson S2.
That left Jacob Douglas 24th quickest out of the 107 entrants, with Logan Manson 88th and Kaden Probst 89th.
Each then went into the heat races to sort the order out for the A and B Finals.
Jacob Douglas started his off P8 on the grid and managed a best finish of 17th but also had a dnf, coming off second best in the frantic ‘take-no-prisoners’ action on track.
“Yes.” said Matt Hamilton, who with partner Tiffany Chittenden was running Jacob at the meeting with assistance from the UK-based Fusion Motorsport squad. “A bad start in the second (heat) meant he was back in the messy stuff and ended up getting spun into from behind which knocked his chain off.”
Kaden Probst was also put through the wringer in his heats, being classified 36th in the first (after losing a wheel) and 34th (after starting 30th) in another, having been turned around at the esses and eventually pulling out because of the damage caused.
“Given we hadn’t done any testing we were poking around a bit in the dark with set-up in the weekend, but the promising thing,’ Kaden said in a message home,” was that in the tuning and free practice runs I could beat the kid who ended up 10th in the A Final”
Logan Manson, however, managed to move – and stay – forward in his heats, with a best finish of 20th (from P29) in his first and 22nd (from P30) in the second.
That was enough to see him start the B Final from P23 on the grid and get as high as 16th before being swallowed by the chasing pack and crossing the finish line 22nd.
The trio now remain in Italy for this year’s ROK Cup International event this coming weekend.
All three are racing in Italy with support from the KartSport New Zealand Elite Driver Travel Fund, a partnership with Dunlop tyres/Lascom Motorsport, Vortex Engines importer and ROK Cup NZL promoter Supreme Kart Supplies and the Motul oil distributor, High Performance Lubricants.