Mat Kinsman, Rianna O’Meara-Hunt and Josh Richmond were the big winners at the revived Porter Group CIK Trophy of New Zealand kart race meeting at the KartSport Hamilton club’s Porter Group Park track on Sunday.
Kinsman, from Auckland, continued on his winning way in the premier 6-speed/125cc KZ2 class, the reigning class national sprint champion qualifying second quickest and going on to win two of the three heats, as well as the Pre-Final (the race which determines the grid for the Final) and the Final.
Second, was recent sport and class returnee Graeme Smyth, third Auckland-based international Daniel Bray.
Bray’s teammate, 16-year-old Matthew Payne, qualified quickest, won the first heat and finished second in the Pre-Final but was an early dnf in the Final thanks to an engine issue.
Bray himself put in one of the drives of the meeting in the KZ2 Final after burning out his kart’s clutch in the Pre-Final meaning a back row start in the Final.
Despite that he worked his way through the field to cross the line in P2 in the Final, though a nose-cone displacement penalty of five seconds put him back to third place.
Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington and Josh Richmond from Auckland were the winners of the two other CIK Trophy classes.
Between them, top female driver O’Meara-Hunt and her driver coach, former four-time New Zealand kart champion Arie Hutton from Palmerston North, dominated the Vortex ROK DVS Senior class, O’Meara-Hunt qualifying on pole and winning the first heat, while Hutton won the other two heats and the Pre-Final.
Multi-time South Island champion Chris Cox was also a factor, briefly holding second in the Final, though at the flag Hutton was back in second place, just 1.5 seconds behind from O’Meara-Hunt with Cox 4.5 seconds back from Hutton in third.
It was Josh Richmond, meanwhile, who eventually came out on top in the battle for Vortex ROK DVS Junior class honours.
Top South Island Junior William Exton from Picton set the quickest qualifying time and won all three heats as well as the Pre-Final. He also led the first six laps of the Final, before being passed by both Richmond and fellow Aucklander Liam Sceats.
Exton got one of those places back on lap 20, displacing Richmond while Sceats remained in the lead. However Richmond took the lead as Exton and Sceats tangled on the last lap to take the race and CIK Trophy from Sceats, Nathan Crang from Auckland and Jacob Douglas from Christchurch.
Exton crossed the finish line in second place but received a 10 second time penalty, relegating him to fifth overall
As well as new CIK Trophies for each winner, the winner and runner-up in the new Vortex ROK DVS senior class, and winner of the new Vortex ROK DVS junior class at Hamilton earned trips to the annual ROK Cup International meeting in Italy in October.
That means that O’Meara-Hunt, Hutton and Richmond can now plan their 2019 racing calendars accordingly, each winning free entry, the use of a kart and engine as well as return airfares from the KartSport/Lascom Motorsport/Dunlop/Motul international travel fund.
In the Challenge Cup support classes, Auckland-based veteran Dave Malcolm made no race of the Rotax DD2 Senior one, qualifying on pole and winning two of the three heats as well as the Pre-Final and Final, setting the fastest race lap in each. Best of the rest was Justin Herbert with Heat 1 winner Darren Walker third and Karl Ellis fourth.
William Exton proved too good, meanwhile, in Rotax Max Junior, parlaying the top spot in the class qualifying session to wins in the third heat, the Pre-Final and the Final, albeit not until after a pitched battle for the lead with Liam Sceats, who crossed the finish line just 0.291 of a second behind.
After failing to finish the Pre-Final, top local driver Clay Osborne put in one of the drives of the Final to get from the back row of the grid at the start to fourth by lap 10 and third in the results after a five second time penalty relegated third across the line, Hayden Bakkerus, from Auckland, back to P7.
The current South Island title holders in the other two Challenge Cup classes, Louis Sharp (Vortex Mini ROK) from Christchurch, and Arthur Broughan (Cadet ROK) from Blenheim, also claimed the top spot on their respective podiums. Though, again, neither had it particularly easy.
Former Cadet ROK class South Island and NZ sprint champion and now South Island Vortex Mini ROK title holder Sharp qualified quickest and won three heat races but was passed by both Emerson Vincent from Pukekohe and Tom Bewley from Havelock North (the latter on a charge from a P7 start) in the Pre-Final.
Vincent grabbed the earl lead in the Final from pole man Bewley however Sharp was back in the frame by the sixth lap then led until lap nine when Vincent found a way back to the front. Jay Urwin then entered the equation, helping push Sharp back to P3. Bewley then led for a lap before Sharp worked his way back past Irwin and Bewley and into a lead he maintained to the flag.
Emerson Vincent crossed the finish line in second place and set the quickest race lap, but was relegated to sixth in the results when a five-second penalty was imposed.
That elevated Ashton Phipps – who had worked his way up through the field to third at the flag – to second with Tom Bewley third and Kiahn Burt from Palmerston North four
Arthur Broughan was all class, meanwhile, in Cadet ROK. Jamie Thompson and Izaak Fletcher were quicker in qualifying with Thompson going on to win two of the heats as well as the Pe-Final.
Local youngster Carson Daly also impressed with a best finish of second place in the Pre-Final.
With Daly out of the contention early, however, the Final was led first by Thompson, then – for a lap – by another impressive local driver, Riley Boswell, and Thompson again, until Broughan successfully challenged for the lead on lap 15. It was still incredibly close in the final lap, however, with Broughan first, Thompson second just 0.304 of a second behind and third placed Boswell just 0.464 of a second in arrears.
The top five drivers all crossed the finish line within a second of each other with the first significant gap after 18 laps round the 0.865km Hamilton track just over 10 seconds between fifth placed Zach Tucker ad sixth-placed Marco Manson.
Karters from all over New Zealand will be back at Porter Group Park for the 2019 KartSport NZ Sprint Championship meeting over the Easter weekend. The annual National Sprint meeting will also host the second round of this year’s ROK Cup New Zealand series.
- Mathew Kinsman 17:25.195; 2. Graeme Smyth +8.282; 3. Daniel Bray +12.416; 4. Daniel Bugler +23.831; 5. Regan Hall +27.714; 6. Tony Walker +35.668.
Vortex ROK DVS Senior
- Rianna O’Meara-Hunt 19:07.496; 2. Arie Hutton +1.528; 3. Chris Cox +5.986; 4. Braeden Snowden + 8.853; 5. James Higgins + 9.957; 6. Ashley Higgins 13 laps.
Vortex ROK DVS Junior
- Josh Richmond 18:50.761; 2. Liam Sceats +0.645; 3. Nathan Crang + 6.672; 4. Jacob Douglas +9.883; 5. William Exton 10.259; 6. Luke Thompson+ 10.375.
- David Malcolm 12:42.345; 2. Justin Herbert +3.203; 3. Darren Walker +4.693; 4. Karl Ellis +10.675; 5. Greig Gonano +18.365; 6. Heidi Benner 15 laps.
Rotax Max Junior
- William Exton 12:36.694; 2. Liam Sceats + 0.291; 3. Clay Osborne + 4.262; 4. Riley Spargo +4.640; 5. Nathan Crang + 6.743; 6. James Van den Berk +7.144.
Vortex Mini ROK
- Louis Sharp 14:01.147; 2. Ashton Phipps +1.561; 3. Tom Bewley + 1.600; 4. Kiahn Burt +2.491; 5. Blake Knowles +4.876; 6. Emerson Vincent +6.524.
- Arthur Broughan 14:24.481; 2. Jamie Thompson + 0.304; 3. Riley Boswell +0.464; 4. Izaak Fletcher + 0.645; 5. Zach Tucker +0.908; 6. Marco Manson +11.613.
2019 ROK Cup New Zealand
Rnd 1: Jan 19-20 Porter Group 2019 CIK Trophy of NZ meeting Hamilton
Rnd 2: April 19-20 KartSport NZ National Sprint Championship meeting Hamilton
Rnd 3 Option 1: June 02 WPKA Championships meeting Palmerston North
Rnd 3 Option 2: June 01/02 Sunbelt Series meetings Blenheim/Nelson
Rnd 4: July 13 KartSport NZ National Schools’ Championships meeting Wellington