Preview: New Zealand Schools’ Championship


School-age karters from all over New Zealand are heading to Hawke’s Bay this week to prepare for this year’s KartSport New Zealand Furnware National Schools’ Championships 2018 meeting being held at Hastings on Saturday.

The 16th annual National Schools’ event is being hosted by the KartSport Hawke’s Bay club in conjunction with Napier Boys’ High School at the club’s Chemz Raceway kart track at Roys Hill, north-wets of the city. It has attracted 80 entries across five different classes representing schools from Invercargill in the south to Auckland in the north.

Last years winners of the Bruce McLaren KartSport award were Jacob Cranston from Secondary Schools’ title-winning school, Palmerston North Boys’ High School (left) and Sam Wright of Auckland’s St Kentigern College (right). (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

This year there are five schools – Kings College and Westlake Boys High School from Auckland, John Paul College from Rotorua, Palmerston North Boys High from Palmerston North and Hutt International Boys School from Upper Hutt – vying for Secondary Schools’ honours, and five – Bucklands Beach Primary School (Auckland), Greenpark School (Tauranga), Medbury School (Christchurch), Whakarongo Primary School and Palmerston North Intermediate Normal/Winchester School (Palmerston North) – chasing victory in the Primary/Intermediate division.

Palmerston North Boys High remains the school to beat, last year winning the Secondary Schools’ title in Blenheim for a record-extending sixth time in 15 years.

A special feature of the annual Schools’ event are the Bruce McLaren KartSport Awards presented in association with the Bruce McLaren Trust.

Sam Wright won the Rotax Max Junior class and title. (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

Each year two awards are offered and go to the winners of (in this year’s case) the Rotax Max Junior and new Vortex ROK DVS Junior classes at the event – but only after each driver produces and presents a project at their school on the career, achievements and values demonstrated by the driver the award honours, New Zealand racing great Bruce McLaren.

Last year the awards were won by Jacob Cranston from Palmerston North Boys High School and Sam Wright from Auckland’s St Kentigern College.

This year the annual schools’ event is again also hosting the final round of the ROK Cup New Zealand.

ROK Cup New Zealand is a multi-round series for young drivers contesting the three classes which use Italian-made Vortex engines; Cadet ROK (for 6-11 year-olds), Vortex Mini ROK (for those 9 to 12) and the latest one making its national title debut at this year’s Schools’ meeting, Vortex ROK DVS Junior (for 12-16 year-olds).


The winner and runner-up respectively in the ROK Cup NZ series’ Vortex Mini ROK class were Logan Manson (left) from Levin, and Aston Addy (right) from Hamilton (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

The winner of the Vortex Mini ROK class title in the ROK Cup earns an entry to the annual ROK Cup International Finals meeting in Italy later this year, joining Christchurch driver Jacob Douglas who won his seat when he claimed the class NZ Sprint Champs title at Rotorua over the Easter weekend, while the winner of the Cadet ROK class title gets a new Mini ROK engine.

Heading into the final round of the 2018 ROK Cup NZ series local driver Tom Bewley and Hayden Bakkerus from Auckland are tied for the lead in the Vortex Mini ROK class on 139 points from defending title holder Logan Manson (Levin) who has 136 points.

In Cadet ROK Jay Urwin from Tauranga – who has 139 points – has a two-point margin heading into the final series’ round over Judd Christiansen from Palmerston North and Hawke’s Bay driver Hugo Neal who are tied in second place on 137 points each.

A special feature of this year’s event is that the winner and runner-up in the new Vortex ROK DVS Junior class also earn trips to the ROK Cup International Finals meeting in Italy in October.

The winner of the Rotax Max Light class and 2018 NZ Schools’ title in that class is also in line for an extra prize – a test day in a Formula Ford single seater at Christchurch’s Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, courtesy the South Island Formula Ford Association ,

Event naming rights sponsor Furnware is a Hawke’s Bay-based manufacturer and exporter of specialised furniture for schools.

There will be action on track at Chemz Raceway for testing from 9.00am on Friday and racing from 9.45am-5.00pm on Saturday, rain or shine.



2003 Rangitoto College, Auckland
2004 St Kentigern College, Auckland
2005 Palmerston North Boys’ High, Palmerston North
2006 Waimea College, Nelson
2007 St Kentigern College, Auckland
2008 St Andrews College, Christchurch
2009 St Andrews College, Christchurch
2010 Palmerston North Boys’ High, Palmerston North
2011 Auckland Grammar School, Auckland
2012 Palmerston North Boys’ High, Palmerston North
2013 Burnside High School, Christchurch
2014 Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Palmerston North
2015 St Thomas of Canterbury College, Christchurch
2016 Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Palmerston North
2017 Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Palmerston North

2003 Rangeview Intermediate, Auckland
2004 Waimea Intermediate, Nelson
2005 Marina View School, Auckland
2006 Russley Primary, Christchurch & St Kentigern Intermediate, Auckland
2007 Albany Primary, Auckland
2008 Waikari School and Kaikorai Valley College, Dunedin
2009 Newbury School, Palmerston North
2010 Taradale Intermediate, Napier
2011 Windsor Primary/Chisnell Wood Intermediate, Christchurch
2012 College Street Normal School, Palmerston North
2013 Medbury School, Christchurch
2014 Palmerston North Normal Intermediate/Newbury Primary School, Palmerston North
2015 Balmacewen Intermediate, Dunedin
2016 Palmerston North Normal Intermediate, Palmerston North
2017 Te Mata School/Havelock North Intermediate, Havelock North