McLaughlin Rewards Fans at Kiwi Nationals

Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin was kept busy signing autographs and engaging with the thousands of motorsport fans who descended on KartSport Hamilton’s Porter Group Raceway to watch the 25-year-old return to his racing roots at the Porter Group KartSport NZ National Sprint Championship meeting over the Easter weekend.

Rotax Heavy podium, Ryan Urban 1st, Scott McLaughlin 2nd, Zach Zaloum 3rd (pic – Fast Company/Jeremy Ward, www.shot360.co.nz)

It was the biggest crowd executives of the club and of the sport’s governing body, KartSport New Zealand, could remember at the club’s track opposite the city’s airport, and McLaughlin – who is Patron of both the club and the national body – made the trip ‘home’ worthwhile with a podium finish (2nd) in the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class.

Rotax Max Heavy class winner Ryan Urban (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

It’s not every day, obviously, that a driver of the calibre and profile of McLaughlin returns to where it all started. But after flying over to watch the annual championship meeting at Rotorua last Easter the Shell V-Power Ford Mustang driver said that there and then he decided he would try and put together a deal to actually drive at the 2019 meeting.


On-board with McLaughlin

“It’s was awesome just to be racing,” he said as he was surrounded by well-wishers after finishing second to top Kiwi karter Ryan Urban in the 22-lap 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class Final on Sunday.

DD2 winner Ryan Wood (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

“It’s always hard being at a race meeting and not racing, so it was great this year to be both a guest – as the Patron – and a driver.”

McLaughlin quickly proved that he had not lost any of the skills behind the wheel of a kart either, qualifying second quickest in class on Friday, and after never finishing lower than 4th across the three heats and Pre-Final grabbed second place off the start in the Final and held the position to the chequered flag.

Louis Sharp, Vortex Mini ROK champion (pic – Fast Company/Jeremy Ward, www.shot360.co.nz)

For race winner – and 2019 NZ#1 – Ryan Urban it was his 11th NZ title win, one obviously made sweeter, albeit tougher, by the presence of McLaughlin.

“He certainly made me work for it,” he said. “In my career I’ve obviously raced against some big names but never a guy who is currently the top dog in the Supercars.”

Flynn Osborne took out Rotax Light (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

Urban, from Auckland, was one of eight 2019 New Zealand National Sprint champions crowned at a packed Porter Group Raceway on Sunday. The others were;

  • Matthew Payne, Auckland – KZ2
  • Ryan Wood, Wellington – Rotax DD2
  • Fynn Osborne, Hamilton – 125ccc Rotax Max Light
  • William Exton, Picton – 125cc Rotax Max Junior
  • Liam Sceats, Auckland – Vortex ROK DVS Junior
  • Louis Sharp, Christchurch – Vortex Mini ROK
  • Mitchell Corin, Tauranga – Cadet ROK

Adding the NZ#1 plate to the South Island one he earned at Labour Weekend last year was just one of the reasons young Christchurch driver Louis Sharp had a big smile on his face on the podium.

William Exton won Junior MAX (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

As well as the kudos that go with earning a #1NZ plate the winners of both the Vortex Mini ROK (Sharp) and new Vortex ROK DVS Junior class (Liam Sceats) titles also earned trips to and entries at this year’s ROK Cup Superfinal event in Italy in October.

Vortex ROK DVS Junior victor Liam Sceats (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

This year’s National Sprint title meeting marked something of a changing of the guard with new names replacing familiar ones on the top step of the podium. The only repeat from the 2018 National Sprint title meeting at Rotorua, was in the fact that a Corin – this time Mitchell – again won the NZ Cadet ROK class title.

Last year it was Mitchell’s older brother Blake who earned the #1NZ plate, driving the very same kart!

1st in Cadet ROk, Mitchell Corin (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

Blake, meanwhile, made his presence felt in the Vortex Mini ROK class, finishing fourth overall in the Final behind Louis Sharp, runner-up Tom Bewley from Havelock North and Alex Crosbie from Invercargill.

Matthew Payne (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

RESULTS

Vortex ROK DVS Jnr

  1. Liam Sceats; 2. Josh Richmond; 3. Ayrton Williams; 4. Hayden Bakkerus; 5. Leo Scott; 6. Jacob Douglas

125cc Rotax Max Jnr

  1. William Exton; 2. Josh Richmond; 3. Clay Osborne; 4. Breanna Morris; 5. Jacob Douglas; 6. Luke Thompson.

125ccc Rotax Max Light

  1. Fynn Osborne; 2. Ryan Crombie; 3. Daniel Bray; 4. Rianna O’Meara-Hunt; 5. Daniel Kinsman; 6. Michael McCulloch

Vortex Mini ROK

  1. Louis Sharp; 2. Tom Bewley; 3. Alex Crosbie; 4. Blake Corin; 5. Hayden Lines; 6. Kiahn Burt.

Cadet ROK

  1. Mitchell Corin; 2. Jamie Thompson, 3. Carson Daly; 4. Izaak Fletcher; 5. Arthur Broughan; 6. Marco Manson.

KZ2
1. Matthew Payne; 2, Daniel Bray; 3. Graeme Smyth; 4. Mathew Kinsman; 5. Ryan Wood; 6. Rhys Tinney.

Rotax DD2

  1. Ryan Wood; 2. Sam Waddell; 3. Bond Roby; 4. Mathew Kinsman; 5. David Malcolm, 6. Matthew Hamilton

125cc Rotax Max Heavy

  1. Ryan Urban; 2. Scott McLaughlin; 3. Zach Zaloum; 4. Arron Cunningham; 5. Darren Walker; 6. Felix Hume.
Scott McLaughlin was quick on his return to top level kart, 2nd fastest in Rotax Heavy (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)
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