Wild Weather Tests KZ Karters at Rotorua

Torrential rain and a streaming wet track on Saturday and a dry track but cool temperatures on Sunday tested both the skill and resolve of karters contesting the third round of this year’s Molecule-backed ProKart Series at Rotorua over the weekend.

Auckland-based international Daniel Bray ended his weekend at KartSport Rotorua’s Century Batteries International Raceway on a high with a win and new class lap record in the Lascom Motorsport KZ2 class final heat. But career-long rival – and current class NZ #1 – Mat Kinsman ended up winning the round after victories in the first two heats and Pre-Final, and third place finishes in the third heat and the Final.

KZ2 winner Mat Kinsman (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

Both were caught out by the changeable weather conditions in Qualifying – where young gun Jacob Cranston, fellow Palmerston North driver Nelson Hartley and Daniel Bugler from Blenheim were first, second and third quickest respectively.

It was Bray, however, who bounced back to win the Top Ten Shootout – from Kinsman, Cranston and another of the KZ2 class’ fast-rising young guns, Hunter Cheetham from Tauranga – and the third heat from Kinsman, Rnd 2 class winner Matt Payne from Auckland and Rhys Tinney from Hamilton.

But when Kinsman won the Pre-Final from Payne and Tinney with Bray fourth, the die was set. Though Bray won the Final from Matt Payne, the points Kinsman earned from finishing third gave him the round win by two points over Bray with Rhys Tinney third and Matt Payne fourth.

Second place was enough for Bray to retain his series lead with just two more rounds to go….. though the margin now is just a single point over Mat Kinsman with Matt Payne third a further six points back and top female driver Madeline Stewart fourth, three points behind Payne.

Meanwhile, nothing the weather Gods threw at the meeting upset Jared MacKenzie in the combined Lascom Motorsport KZ2 Masters/KZ4 class races, the Auckland ace very much dominating proceedings to claim his second consecutive class round win.

Jared MacKenzie won KZ2 Masters (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

MacKenzie didn’t quite have it all his own way, with Hawke’s Bay driver Tim Louhran pipping him for the top spot in the Top Ten Shootout and New Plymouth’s Nick Isaac and series promotor Steve Brown from Auckland both beating him to the line in the third heat.

With MacKenzie having missed the first round of this year’s Molecule series, Brown also continues to lead the Lascom Motorsport KZ2 Masters class points standings from fellow Aucklander Kevin Storr (who tied for second in class for the round with Isaac), Isaac, and Andrew Hunt from Auckland.


Finally, the podium was packed when it came time to hand out the trophies in the Lascom Motorsport KZ4 class with three drivers – Jamie Pollock from Wellington, Garry Cullum from Auckland and Aaron Wooley from Hamilton – tied on 12 points and judged to be joint winners by the series organisers.

Victory in KZ4 was split between Aaron Wooley (above), Jamie Pollock and Garry Cullum (pic – Fast Company/Graham Hughes)

After claiming class wins at the first two rounds, Auckland driver Regan Hall could manage only one race win at Rotorua, and ended up fourth behind joint winners Pollock, Cullum and Wooley.

Hall did manage to retain his series lead though, albeit by just three points now from a resurgent Cullum with Pollock third a further two points back.

The Molecule ProKart Series now takes a break to avoid the worst of the winter weather, resuming for the penultimate round at the KartSport Bay of Plenty club’s Te Puke Auto Electrical Raceway over the August 04-05 weekend.


Lascom Motorsport KZ2

Round points
1. Mat Kinsman 40 points; 2. Daniel Bray 38; 3. Rhys Tinney 36; 4. Matt Payne 35; 5. Daniel Bugler 34; 6. Jacob Cranston 33.
Series points after Rnd 3 of 5
1. Daniel Bray 264 points; 2. Mat Kinsman 263; 3. Matt Payne 257; 4. Madeline Stewart 254; 5. Rhys Tinney 253; 6. Jacob Cranston 250.

Lascom Motorsport KZ2 Masters

Round points
1. Jared MacKenzie 40 points; 2=. Kevin Storr & Nick Isaac 38; 4. Steve Brown 35; 5. Andrew Hunt 34; 6. Tim Loughran 33.
Series points after Rnd 3 of 5
1. Steve Brown 263 points; 2=. Kevan Storr & Nick Isaac 257; 4. Andrew Hunt 255; 5=. Tim Loughran & Enrico van der Griend 250.

Lascom Motorsport KZ4

Round points
1=. Jamie Pollock/Garry Cullum/Aaron Wooley 40 points; 4. Regan Hall 35; 5. Gerhard Benadie 34; 6. Julian Osborne 33.
Series points after Rnd 3 of 5
1. Regan Hall 183 points; 2. Garry Cullum 174; 3. Jamie Pollock 173; 4. Gerhard Benadie 171; 5. Aaron Wooley 167; 6=. Brendan Benadie & Shaun Curran 165.