Auckland karters Bond Roby and Marco Manson spearheaded a strong showing from the large contingent of Kiwi karters who contested the opening round of Australia’s Sparco-backed 2019 Rotax Pro Tour series at Melbourne’s Todd Rd kart track over the Jan 26-27 Australia Day weekend.
Roby set the ball rolling by qualifying on pole in the main DD2 Senior class then put together a 2-1-3 run through the heats before finishing second in the Pre-Final then fifth in the Final to claim third place in the class points standings heading into the series’ second round at Sydney’s Eastern Creek kart track in early March.
Youngster Marco Manson, meanwhile, could hardly have had a better result in his trans-Tasman debut in the Micro Max class, qualifying fourth and after a 7-3-6 run through the heats finished both the Pre-Final and Final in third place to also claim third in class in the early season points standings.
Also enjoying a strong start to her 2019 Australian season was top Kiwi female driver Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington, with a 5th place in the Rotax Max Light class Final and sixth place in the series points standings.
O’Meara-Hunt was the best placed of the four Kiwi karters contesting the Rotax Max Light class on the Pro Tour this year with Jackson Rooney from Palmerston North 12th, Fynn Osborne from Hamilton 17th and Michael McCulloch from the Kapiti Coast 24th.
Both Rooney and McCulloch were unlucky not to finish higher in the Final, too, after finishing 4th (Rooney) and 5th (McCulloch) in the class Pre-Final.
Kart and now single-seater racer Josh Bethune worked his way forward over the weekend for a round-best 8th place in the DD2 class Final. Sebastian Manson (Marco’s older brother) found himself behind the eight-ball in the Mini Max class at the start of the weekend but steadily improved to finish the Pre-Final 9th and the Final 10th.
Finally, the three Kiwi teens contesting the Rotax Max Junior class, Josh Richmond from Auckland, Clay Osborne from Hamilton and Bradley Hewson from Rotorua, finished the weekend line astern in 7th, 8th and 9th places respectively in the class Final after an intense two days getting used to the hustle and bustle of kart racing across the Tasman.
Clay Osborne, the younger brother of Rotax Max Light (Senior) class driver Fynn Osborne, and Bradley Hewson did particularly well to work their way forward from the rear of the grid (after issues in the Pre-Final) to 8th (Osborne) and 9th (Hewson) in the Final.
The next round of the 019 Sparco Rotax Pro Tour is due to be held at the Eastern Creek kart track in western Sydney over the March 09-10 weekend.
2019 Australian Rotax Pro Tour Calendar
Rnd 1 Jan 24-27 Todd Rd Melbourne VIC
Rnd 2 March 8-10 Eastern Creek Sydney NSW
Rnd 3 May 03-04 Ipswich QLD
Rnd 4 June 21-23 Puckapunyal VIC
Rnd 5 Aug 09-11 Warwick QLD
Rnd 6 Sept 13-15 Albury VIC