Can The Kiwis Shake Up The Aussies at AKC Finale?

A six-strong squad of Kiwi karters led by now-Sydney-based former NZ champion Dylan Drysdale could well shake up their trans-Tasman counterparts at the final round of this year’s SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol Edge meeting at Melbourne’s Todd Rd track this weekend.

Dylan Drysdale (KZ2 #29) was the top-scoring Kiwi karter at the previous round (pic – Fast Company/Coopers Photography)

“And why not?” asked Auckland-based international Daniel Bray who this weekend will be looking after the engines for Patrizicorse team teammates, Drysdale and Troy Loeskow. “Looks like it is going to be colder and wetter than Auckland!”

The long range weather forecast is indeed for rain, with the likelihood of showers on both Saturday and Sunday and a low of just 3 degrees C on Sunday. In other words, conditions which Drysdale and fellow Kiwis, sisters Madeline and Ashleigh Stewart from Wellington, Jackson Rooney from Palmerston North, Emerson Vincent from Pukekohe and Kaden Probst from Auckland, are more used to competing in than many of their Australian counterparts.

Ashleigh Stewart (#28 Iame X30) (pic – Fast Company/Coopers Photography)

Ironically Drysdale, 18, is coming off his best round of the 2018 Australian season so far, qualifying quickest in the premier KZ2 class and ended up a season-best second in the class Final, which turned into a round win when the results were confirmed following the publishing of fuel testing results, at the penultimate round at a hot, dry Emerald kart track in far-north Queensland

That result elevated him to sixth in the series points standings with a very real chance of improving at least two places if things go his way. Teammate Troy Loeskow is even better placed in second with an outside chance of going one better should current KZ2 class points leader Aaron Cameron has less than a perfect weekend.

Having missed the Emerald round thanks to a date clash with a school trip to Vietnam, Madeline Stewart is not in the running for a place in the series’ points standings but she is still keen to make her presence felt in the KZ2 class.

Madeline Stewart (#82 KZ2), (pic – Fast Company/Coopers Photography)

Now that she is at Uni in Melbourne her sister Ashleigh is also keen to put her experience at the downtown Melbourne track to use in her class, Iame X30.

“Both girls are really looking forward to racing back at Todd Rd,” their father and racing manager Tony Stewart said this week. “We’ve done so much racing there over the years that it feels like a home track.


“Madeline is keen to get back to racing at AKC after missing the last round. Todd Rd has been good for her in the past so hopefully will be again. Ashleigh hopes to carry her form over from the past two rounds. We made some changes to the kart at Emerald which will hopefully carry over to this round.”

Jackson Rooney, whose focus so far this year has been on Australia’s Rotax Pro Tour, is using the opportunity to compete in the premium Australian Junior class KA2 (Vortex ROK DVS Junior) ahead of the Rotax Pro Tour final in a fortnight’s time.

The other Kiwis competing at the meeting, Kaden Probst and Emerson Vincent, are lining up again in the Cadet 12 class.

Emerson Vincent (#30) in Cadet 12 (pic – Fast Company/Coopers Photography)

In total this weekend’s championship ‘Grand Final’ has attracted 270 competitors across nine classes from every state in Australia as well as New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and the even the United States.

Practice begins on Friday ahead of qualifying and the heat races on Saturday, with the finals on Sunday and the champions crowned at a Gala Awards Dinner at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne’s Docklands area on Sunday night.