NZ Racers Look Forward To Rotorua Return

press release 13 March 2014

KartSport Rotorua's international-spec track high in the Mamaku Ranges west of the Bay of Plenty city is a favourite of the drivers heading there this weekend for the second round of the 2014 Pro Kart Series. And the man behind the series, Steve Brown, knows why.

"It's a track that flows - you don't get the stop-start hairpins you tend to at some of our older, shorter tracks - it's also very wide, and the staged starting lights are perfect for our standing starts," says Brown.

This year the Pro Kart Series for 6-speed gearbox-equipped 125cc KZ2 class karts again shares its calendar with the Rotax Max Challenge (for non-gearbox Rotax Max 125cc engined karts), meaning over 100 kart racers from Whangarei in the north to Christchurch in the south will converge on the 1204 metre Rotorua track on Saturday and Sunday.

Set to feature in the Pro Kart Series classes at Rotorua this weekend is Tom Curran (#1 KZ2 Masters)
Above: Set to feature in the Pro Kart Series classes at Rotorua this weekend is Tom Curran (#1 KZ2 Masters)
pic - Fast Company/Graham Hughes

After 30+C temperatures at the opening series round in Palmerston North last month, the predicted heavy rain and gale-force winds look set to be a factor, but that, says Brown, is not putting anyone off.

"As long as the rain is not too heavy it won't be a problem, we can put up with that. It's more the wind if it gets up and plays havoc with our Eziups (temporary pit shelters).That's what would make it really hard."

Auckland-based internationals Daniel Bray and Ryan Grant set the pace in the main KZ2 class at the first round but Grant flew out to Italy earlier this week to kick off his long-awaited European campaign meaning competition for Bray this weekend is expected to come from Grant's teammate Graeme Smyth from Auckland and top South Island driver Chris Cox..

Brown also predicts more good things from the trio of young guns - Luke Dobbs, Mitchell Brown and Kent Wheeler - who completed the top five at the first round.

"It'd be fair to say that with his international experience Daniel will be hard to beat, but the places between second and sixth could go to any one of 10 drivers, the depth in the class is that great at the moment," says Brown, who is also expecting more good things from the new introductory class, KZ2 Limited.

"While it's fair to say I'm a bit frustrated with the numbers so far it certainly did its job at Palmerston North and as more people are exposed to it I'm confident you'll see those numbers increase," Brown said.

Daniel Bray from Auckland will be one to watch in KZ2
Above: Daniel Bray from Auckland will be one to watch in KZ2
pic - Fast Company/Graham Hughes

Aucklander Garry Cullum proved to be the man to beat first time out but this weekend Brown reckons it would be a good idea to keep an eye on Cameron Dance and father and son Gerhard and Tommie Benadie.

In the KZ2 Masters class, meanwhile, Hawke's Bay driver Tom Curran is again the pace-setter after taking time out last season to recover from a (non-karting) injury,  with competition expected to again come from Aucklanders Kevin Storr and Mark Wheeler, and Nelson driver Grant Kugener.

This weekend's Pro Kart Series round is the second of six with subsequent rounds to be held at  Hamilton, Te Puke, Hastings and Auckland.

2014 New Zealand  Pro Kart Series Trans-Tasman Challenge meeting Manawatu Toyota Raceway Shirriffs Rd Palmerston North Sat-Sun Feb 22-23

2014 New Zealand Pro Kart Series
Rnd 1: Sun Feb 22-23 Manawatu Toyota Raceway Palmerston North
Rnd 2: Sat-Sun March 15-16 The Rock FM Raceway Rotorua
Rnd 3: Sat-Sun May 17-18 AgriSea Raceway Hamilton
Rnd 4: Sat-Sun June 07-08 Fagan's Valley Raceway Te Puke
Rnd 5: Sat-Sun August 16-17 Chemz Raceway Hastings
Rnd 6: Sat-Sun September 20-21 Strata Networks Raceway Auckland


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