Rotax Grand Final Kicks Off Big 2-Weeks Overseas For Kiwis

The 18th annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting at Portimao in Portugal which begins on Saturday (Nov 04) kicks off a big fortnight overseas for 15 Kiwi karters.

Auckland drivers Ryan Urban, CJ Sinclair, Jono Buxeda and Dave Malcolm, Jacob Cranston from Palmerston North, Ryan Wood from Wellington and Tiffany Chittenden from Christchruch, are flying the New Zealand flag at the Grand Finals meeting at Portimao in Portugal between November 04 and the 11th.

New Zealand’s Giltrap Group Rotax Max Challenge series’ 2017 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals representatives (clockwise from lower right) Ryan Wood, Tiffany Chittenden, Jacob Cranston, CJ Sinclair, Daniel Bray, Ryan Urban and Dave Malcolm (Daniel Bray is travelling with the team but his place in the DD2 class has been taken by Jono Buxeda). (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

Then between November 15 and 19 Tiffany Chittenden and Daniel Bray (who is travelling to the Rotax event but working there in a mentoring rather than driving role this time) will join Matthew Hamilton and Jacob Douglas from Christchurch, Dylan Drysdale from Auckland and his Sydney-based older brother Josh, the Stewart sisters, Ashleigh and Madeline, from Wellington and Jay Urwin from Tauranga at the 21st annual SuperKarts USA (SKUSA) Supernationals meeting at Las Vegas in the United States.

This year’s Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting has attracted 360 drivers from 50 countries with competition spread over six classes, DD2, DD2 Masters, Rotax Max, Junior Max and Micro and Mini Max.

New Zealand has been represented at all 17 previous Challenge events and has a strong record with a win for Ryan Urban in the DD2 Masters class in 2015, a second in the Rotax Max class in 2010 in Italy and third in DD2 in 2016 for Palmerston North driver Josh Hart, and thirds for Christchurch’s Matt Hamilton (in Rotax Max in 2009 in Egypt and DD2 in Italy in 2010) and Wanganui’s Earl Bamber in Junior Max at Lanzarote in 2004.

This year Jacob Cranston will compete in Rotax Max, CJ Sinclair and Jono Buxeda in DD2, Ryan Urban, Tiffany Chittenden and Dave Malcolm in DD2 Masters, and Ryan Wood in Rotax Junior.

Last year, at the 17th annual Grand Challenge meeting held in Italy Palmerston North driver Josh Hart was the top finishing Kiwi with his third placing in the DD2 class. Hart qualified sixth, won his class Pre-Final and started the Final from pole.


2015 DD2 Masters class winner Ryan Urban was the next best Kiwi finisher with a hard-won sixth place in that class.

This year’s SuperKarts USA street race meeting in a huge converted car park near the famous Las Vegas strip is the 21st annual one and is again expected to attract over 500 entries, making it the biggest single karting event in the world.

Bray will fly out of Portugal next Sunday bound for Las Vegas in the United States where he will meet up with the Drysdale brothers and the rest of the Kiwi contingent.

This year both Bray and reigning class NZ KZ2 class Sprint champion Dylan Drysdale will be running in the main international class, KZ.

Hamilton, who won the S4 Stock Moto class at the same meeting three years ago, will again run in the top SKUSA class, S1 Stock Moto, while Josh Drysdale will run in S2 Stock Moto, Chittenden in S4 (Masters) Stock Moto, Douglas in Mini Swift and Urwin in Micro Swift.

As they have in Australia this year, Madeline Stewart will run in KZ, Ashleigh in X30.