The countdown has begun for the Giltrap Group backed 2018 KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship title event, the KartSport Rotorua club hosting the annual three-day meeting at its Century Batteries International Raceway high in the Mamaku ranges west of the city over the Easter weekend.
Although late entries do not close until later tonight the club has already accepted almost 140 with records already broken in several classes, particularly the Junior (under 17 yrs) ones.
At 30 the entry for the Vortex Mini ROK (9-12 yrs) class is the best ever and is the best for this age group since 2002, then run as Junior Restricted Yamaha.
With a trip to the annual ROK Cup International meeting in Italy later in the year for the winner of the 2018 Vortex Mini ROK class title there is certainly an incentive to ‘be in to win.” Yet entries across most of the classes that made the Sprint Nationals cut this year are up on those of previous years.
At 26 the entry for Rotax Junior (12-16 yrs) is also at an all-time high, being the highest number not only since the class started, but also the highest ever across all premier Junior categories, eclipsing even the (glory) days of Junior ICA (JICA), Formula Junior and KF3.
With 21 keen young 6-10 year-olds already signed up, the number of entries in the Cadet ROK class is also the best it has been since 2013.
At 23 entries in the 125cc Rotax Max Light Senior class are down on the 2015 record of 27. However, the numbers are up on last year in the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class, and though down on the long term average, the numbers this year are up in both Rotax’s own ‘gearbox’ class, the 2-speed DD2 (11), as well as the 6-speed/125cc KZ2 category (12).
“All-up,” says KartSport New Zealand President Graeme Moore, “I think we have to be happy with the numbers. This is our premier national event, one you need our top Tier 1 licence holders to compete at. It is disappointing the “old favourite” Yamaha classes failed to reach minimum numbers, but the downward entry trend for these classes has been clear for a number of years as competitors switch to more modern engine options.”
“Not everyone in karting wants to, or has what it takes to compete at this level, so to see numbers like these for what – if you like – is an Olympic-qualifier, or at the very least, an international grade, event over three days is something I think everyone involved should be very proud of. It is also fantastic to again have the Giltrap Group supporting our premier event.”
Set to defend 2017 KartSport New Zealand Sprint National class titles at the meeting are Auckland brothers Daniel (125cc Rotax Max Light) and Mat (Rotax DD2) Kinsman, and Christchurch’s Jacob Douglas (Vortex Mini ROK).
Former NZ#1 Gold Coast, Queensland-based driver Lane Moore is also returning for another shot at the NZ 125cc Rotax Max Heavy title he has already won twice, first in 2011 then again in 2015.
Moore is one of three top-rated Australian karters crossing the Tasman for the event, the other two Harrison Hoey from Queensland will contest the Rotax Light title while Sydney youngster Jaiden Pope will compete in the Junior Rotax class. Late entries are also anticipated from a few more Australian drivers.
Qualifying for all 7 classes will be held on Easter Friday afternoon March 30 with heats on Saturday and Pre-Finals, Finals and prizegiving at the track on Sunday April 01.
Spectators are welcome, with action on the track each day between 9.00am and 4.30pm. For more information go to www.kartsportrotorua.nz
The event will also be livestreamed by i-Film NZ Sport, with support from Carters Tyre Service, on Saturday and Sunday. Link HERE.