This weekend’s round of Australia’s 2018 Rotax Pro Tour series in Sydney will see 11 Kiwi karters competing, one of the largest groups ever to cross the Tasman for either a Pro Tour (RPT) or Australian Kart Championship (AKC) round.
Leading the way are earlier series’ round class winners Josh Hart from Palmerston North and Ryan Wood from Wellington and joining them and other Pro Tour regulars Sam Waddell, Michael McCulloch, Jackson Rooney and Sebastian Manson, are the Stewart sisters, Madeline and Ashleigh, the Drysdale brothers Josh and Dylan, and Josh Bethune.
Hart heads to Sydney as the series points leader in the Rotax 125 Light class. Tauranga ace Sam Waddell is third in the DD2 class point standings while Wood and Rooney are currently fourth and fifth respectively in Junior Max.
Last year Madeline Stewart made Australasian karting history by being the first female driver to win her class (Rotax 125 Light) at a round of the Rotax Pro Tour. So far this year, however, she and older sister Ashleigh have focused on the Australian Kart Championship series, Madeline racing in the KZ2 class, Ashleigh in X30.
Because Madeline has to miss the next round of that series at Emerald in Queensland’s Far North with a school trip to Cambodia and Vietnam, the decision was made for the sisters to swap back to the Rotax Pro Tour series for the final three rounds beginning in Sydney this weekend.
This time only Ashleigh will return to the Rotax 125 Light class, however, Madeline choosing to step up to the two-speed/front wheel brakes DD2 class.
There she will join fellow Kiwis Sam Waddell, young gun Josh Bethune from Auckland and Sydney-based Josh Drysdale.
Josh Drysdale’s younger brother, Dylan, has also focused on the AKC’s KZ2 class, but this weekend returns to his direct drive roots by joining fellow returnee Ashleigh Stewart and KartSport Manawatu club alumni Josh Hart and Michael McCulloch in Rotax 125 Light.
Both Ryan Wood and Jackson Rooney are round podium prospects in Junior Max, as is Sebastian Manson in Mini Max.
Practice begins at the Eastern Creek kart circuit (adjacent to Sydney Motorsport Park near Penrith in Sydney’s outer west) on Friday with qualifying and heat races on Saturday and Pre-Finals and Finals on Sunday.
- You can follow all the Rotax Pro Tour action at www.rotax.com.au or www.facebook.com/rotaxprotour.
2018 Australian Rotax Pro Tour
Rnd 1 Jan 26-28 Todd Rd Melbourne VIC
Rnd 2 March 9-11 Dubbo NSW
Rnd 3 May 04-06 Ipswich QLD
Rnd 4 June 22-24 Eastern Creek NSW
Rnd 5 Aug 10-12 Albury VIC
Rnd 6 Sept 14-16 TBA