Auckland-based kart international Matthew Payne claimed pole and won all four Aarque Group KZ2 heats at the penultimate round of this year’s Toyota Racing ProKart Series in conjunction with Speedworks at the KartSport Tokoroa club’s Stihl Shop Tokoroa Raceway over the weekend.
However it was defending title holder Mathew Kinsman who won the Pre-Final, the Final and the round, and by doing so grabbed a key points advantage over season-long rival Daniel Bray in the battle for the 2019 ProKart series’ KZ2 class title.
The event was held in cold but dry conditions on Saturday but cold and changeable wet/dry ones on Sunday, making it a challenge for drivers, supporters and officials alike.
Things started to unravel for Payne in the Pre-Final on Sunday when a slow launch off the line from pole position saw him swamped and he ended up finishing the race in 4th place. That then put him on P4 for the Final, however he didn’t make the start thanks to a weld on his kart’s expansion chamber (exhaust) which let go on the warm-up lap.
Teammate and mentor Daniel Bray also had a round to forget, losing the class series points lead he jointly held with long-time rival Mat Kinsman, and heading to the final series’ round in Hamilton in a month’s time now eight points adrift.
For his part Kinsman did exactly what he needed to do, qualifying 5th quickest and carding a 4-4-4-3 run through the heats before stepping up to win the Pre-Final from Rhys Tinney and Daniel Bray, then the Final from Graeme Smyth, local ace Brandon Lambert and Connor Davison from Hamilton.
Despite failing to start the Final Matthew Payne ended up in second place for the round, behind Mat Kinsman with Graeme Smyth 3rd, Connor Davison 4th and multi-time former series champ Ryan Grant.
In Aarque Group KZ2 Masters Kevan Storr finally managed to turn the tables on fellow Aucklander Jared MacKenzie, claiming his first round victory of the season from Andrew Hunt and MacKenzie.
Though he came back to win the second and third heats, as well as the Pre-Final and Final, a dq from the first heat weighed heavily on MacKenzie’s round points tally. He still holds a handsome series’ points lead heading to the Hamilton final, however, from Storr, Hunt and Palmerston north driver Jason Gunn.
It was a case, meanwhile, of ‘normal service resuming’ in Aarque Group KZ4 with early season pace-setter Regan Hall re-claiming the class round crown from former title holder and Rnd 4 winner, Garry Cullum.
To his credit Cullum came back in Sunday’s cold mixed wet/dry track conditions to win both the class Pre-Final and Final, however four wins from four starts in the heats meant the round points advantage stayed with Hall, who also continues to lead the series’ points standings from Cullum, Aaron Wooley and Shaun Curran.
In the Rotax Max class support categories Auckland’s Ashton Grant completed the only class clean sweep of the meeting in Giltrap Group Rotax Max Light, qualifying quickest and winning all four heats as well as the Pre-Final and Final from Marco Giltrap with another young Auckland karter, Trey Nairn, third.
Consistency, meanwhile, earned Auckland’s Luke Thompson his first series’ round win of the year in Giltrap Group Rotax Max Junior after the winner of the second and third rounds, Riley Spargo from Rotorua, who qualified quickest and won three the four heats and the Pre-Final, ended up back in P9 in the fourth heat and P10 in the Final.
Tyre choice and strategy proved critical in the Final of this class, won by Mitchell Sparrow from round winner Luke Thompson and emerging young female drivers Gemma Winters and Caitlin Stanley.
Finally Darren Walker from Tauranga claimed his second round win of the 2019 series in Manawatu Toyota Rotax Max Heavy, leading home fellow two-time round winner Ashley Higgins from Palmerston North and Henry Gelb from Auckland.
The weekend’s round at Tokoroa was the fifth of sixth with the KartSport Hamilton club hosting the final at their Porter Group Raceway in Hamilton over the September 07-08 weekend.
RESULTS – 2019 Toyota Racing ProKart Series in conjunction with Speedworks
Aarque Group KZ2
Round – 1. Mat Kinsman, 2. Matt Payne; 3. Graeme Smyth; 4. Connor Davison; 5. Ryan Grant; 6=. Sam Wright & Daniel Bray
Points after Rnd 5 of 6 – 1. Mat Kinsman 444 points; 2. Daniel Bray 436; 3. Graeme Smyth 434; 4. Ryan Grant 416; 5. Rhys Tinney 414; 6. Josh Parkinson 412.
Aarque Group KZ2 Masters
Round – 1. Kevan Storr; 2=. Andrew Hunt & Jared MacKenzie; 4. Jason Gunn.
Points after Rnd 5 of 6 – 1. Jared MacKenzie 457 points; 2. Kevan Storr 436; 3. Andrew Hunt 432; 4. Jason Gunn 419; 5. David Malcolm 261; 6. Tim Loughran 256.
Aarque Group KZ4
Round – 1. Regan Hall; 2. Garry Cullum; 3. Aaron Wooley; 4. Gerhard Benadie; 5. Nick Tombleson; 6. Marcus Carlyle
Points after Rnd 5 of 6 – 1. Regan Hall 455 points; 2. Garry Cullum 445; 3. Aaron Wooley 429; 4. Shaun Curran 419; 5. Brendan Benadie 405; 6. Gerhard Benadie 381.
Giltrap Group 125cc Rotax Max Light
Round – 1. Ashton Grant; 2. Marco Giltrap; 3. Trey Nairn; 4. Ian Smith; 5. Shaun Johnston.
Points after Rnd 5 of 6 – 1. Ashton Grant 440 points; 2. Marco Giltrap 422; 3. Shaun Johnston 406; 4. Ian Smith 331; 5. Ryan Crombie 266; 6. Fynn Osborne 263.
Manawatu Toyota 125cc Rotax Max Heavy
Round – 1. Darren Walker; 2. Ashley Higgins; 3. Henry Gelb.; 4. Brendon Hart; 5. Simon van der Drift; 6. Craig Holmwood.
Points after Rnd 5 of 6 – 1. Darren Walker 447 points; 2. Henry Gelb 390; 3. Ashley Higgins 358; 4. Brendon Hart 342; 5. Simon van der Drift 331; 6. Craig Holmwood 327.
Giltrap Group 125cc Rotax Max Junior
Round – 1. Luke Thompson; 2. Riley Spargo; 3. Dylan Grant; 4, Mitchell Sparrow; 5. Logan Manson; 6. Nathan Crang
Points after Rnd 5 of 6 – 1. Riley Spargo 445 points; 2. Dylan Grant 429; 3. Nathan Crang 415; 4. Luke Thompson 410; 5. Gemma Winters 409; 6. Hayden Bakkerus 407.
Rnd 1: Manawatu Toyota Raceway Palmerston North Sat-Sun Feb 16-17
Rnd 2: Century Batteries International Raceway Rotorua Sat-Sun March 16-17
Rnd 3: Visi Line Raceway Te Puke Sat-Sun May 18-19
Rnd 4: Giltrap Group Raceway Auckland Sat-Sun June 15-16
Rnd 5: Stihl Shop Tokoroa Raceway Tokoroa Sat-Sun Aug 03-04
Rnd 6: Porter Group Park Hamilton Sat-Sun Sept 07-08