Sharp On Point at Top Half Series Rotorua Round

Young gun Louis Sharp made the trip north from Christchurch worthwhile with another near perfect performance in the Cadet ROK class at the second round of the 2017 Hampton Downs-backed Top Half (kart) Series at Rotorua over the weekend.

Sharp, 10, the reigning South Island and New Zealand champion in the Cadet ROK class, won four of his five heats and finished second in the other to claim 249 of the 250 points available at the opening round of this year’s series at Te Puke in June. And he did the same, in similarly trying wet/drying/wet conditions at Rotorua on Sunday.

Louis Sharp, Cadet ROK winner (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

Hayden Lines won the first heat but ended up sixth in class behind Sharp, Jay Urwin, Ashton Phipps, North Island Cadet ROK class champion Kiahn Burt, and Judd Christiansen.

The closest any other driver got to emulating Sharp’s four-from-five win feat came in the ClubSport 120 class where Dean Oliver from Whangarei won two heats and claimed two second places and a third for a grand total of 246 points.

This was three more than class stalwart Steve Muggeridge who came second, and five more than Muggeridge’s KartSport Eastern Bay of Plenty clubmate Mark Rose who ended up third.

Dean Oliver, ClubSport 120 (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

Darren Walker from Tauranga won more races – three of the five in Rotax Max Heavy – but a fifth place finish in the second heat reduced his day points total to 245.

Heat race wins were shared around a little more in other classes with eventual round victor Taylor Harte from Tauranga one of four winners from the six heats needed to cater for all the entries in the Rotax Max Light class.

Harte and class round runner-up Michael McCulloch from the Kapiti Coast won two heat races apiece with the others going to brothers Campbell (Ht 5) and Thomas (Ht 6) Joyes from Hamilton.

Rotax Junior also needed six heats with overall round victory there going to Ashton Grant (two heat wins) from fellow Aucklanders Ryan Crombie (one) and Joshua Parkinson.

Ashton Grant, 1st Rotax Junior (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

The other Senior class, DD2, was won by Bond Roby from Auckland, from fellow heat winners, Ryan Yardley (the reigning NZ Toyota 86 champion enjoying a weekend back in karts), Dave Malcolm and another moonlighting race car driver, Speedway Super Saloon champion Sam Waddell from Tauranga.

In the other Junior class, Vortex Mini ROK, one win, two seconds and two thirds was enough for eight-year-old Emerson Vincent from Pukekohe to win the round from Liam Sceats (three wins, a third and a seventh), and fellow Aucklander Ryan Bell.

Sceats won the stand-alone class Grand Prix though (and with it the $500 cash prize) from Kaden Probst, Vincent and Mason Potter.


Emerson Vincent, Vortex Mini ROK (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

Eight clubs from Whangarei in the north to Tokoroa in the south comprise the Top Half catchment but karters from other areas can compete if they join one of the clubs. That meant that at the Rotorua round the northern zone entry was again supplemented by drivers from Christchurch, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Taranaki.

More information on this year’s Top Half series can be found on KartSport New Zealand’s website and Facebook page

Class sponsors this year are KartZone (Cadet ROK), Supreme Kart Supplies (Vortex Mini ROK), Spartan 4Toyota (Rotax Max Junior), WestSpeed Motorsport (125cc Rotax Max Light), TCB Motorsport (125cc Rotax Max Heavy), Vehicle Grooming Services (ClubSport 120), and Right Karts (Rotax DD2). Other sponsors include RJ’s Licorice and the NZ Rotax Max Challenge.

Convenor Roger Smith received 130 entries for the second round of the Hampton Downs-backed 2017 series hosted by the KartSport Rotorua club at its Mamaku track on Sunday. Competitors don’t have long to wait for the next (third of fourth) round either. It is being hosted by the KartSport Hamilton club at Agrisea Raceway in a fortnight’s time.

2017 Hampton Downs Top Half Series Rnd 2 KartSport Rotorua Rotorua International Raceway Mamaku Rotorua Sunday Sept 17

Cadet ROK
1. Louis Sharp 249 points; 2. Jay Urwin 235; 3. Ashton Phipps 232; 4. Kiahn Burt 228; 5. Judd Christiansen 226; 6. Hayden Lines 219.

Vortex Mini ROK
1. Emerson Vincent 244; 2. Liam Sceats 241; 3. Ryan Bell 226; 4. Hayden Bakkerus 218; 5. Mitchell Sparrow 216; 6. Ayrton Williams 214.

Vortex Mini ROK Grand Prix
1. Liam Sceats; 2. Kaden Probst; 3. Emerson Vincent; 4. Mason Potter; 5. Mitchell Sparrow; 6. Hayden Bakkerus/

Junior Rotax
1. Ashton Grant 241 points; 2. Ryan Crombie 234; 3. Joshua Parkinson 234; 4. Connor Davison 232; 5. Conrad Clark 225; 6. Riley Spargo 218.

1. Bond Roby 240 points; 2, Ryan Yardley 236; 3. Dave Malcolm 235; 4. Sam Waddell 230; 5. Stuart Gould 229; 6. Jason Lee 223.

Rotax Light
1. Taylor Harte 244; 2. Michael McCulloch 242; 3. Campbell Joyes 236; 4. Brad Wenzlick 230; 5. Sam Hunter 226; 6. Thomas Joyes 217.

Rotax Max Heavy
1. Darren Walker 245 points; 2. Scott Allright 241; 3. Ashley Higgins 240; 4. Tony Barrington 239; 5. Ashton Baird 235.

ClubSport 120
1. Dean Oliver 246 points; 2. Steve Muggeridge 243; 3. Mark Rose 231; 4. Cliff Walsh 230; 5. Martin Gleeson 228; 6. Richard Macey 227.

Rnd 1: Sun June 25 Te Puke Auto Electrical Raceway Te Puke
Rnd 2: Sun Sept 17 Rotorua International Raceway Rotorua
Rnd 3: Sun October 01 AgriSea Raceway Hamilton
Rnd 4: Sun Nov 05 KartZone Raceway Edgecumbe