Bumper Entry for NZ Top Half Series Opener

By Emilee Wright

This year sees the 2019 Top Half kart racing series acquire a new naming rights sponsor; Top Gear Rotorua Limited. The company offers mechanical and engineering services to the forestry and earthmoving industries as well as serving speedway customers alongside building custom trailers to suit your needs and requirements.

Round 1 for 2019 gets underway at the KartSport Hamilton club’s Porter Group Park kart track Hamilton this weekend (August 17 & 18) with over 120 entries received across classes from Cadet ROK to the elite KZ2.

Maxim Kirwan will be one to watch in Cadet ROK (pic – Emilee Jane Photography)

Top Half President Roger Smith says; “It’s pleasing to once again have great continued support from all our sponsors and competitors. We hope the new addition to this year at Round 4 of the Duffet Door Slammer Sprint Champion titles will hopefully provide a new dynamic to the series moving forward in the future.”

This year there is $33,000 worth of prizes up for grabs as well as the Giltrap Group Dash for Cash at the first three rounds of the 2019 series.

Currently, Junior Rotax sits with the highest number of entries received at 23. The Rotax Light senior class is right behind with 22 entries received. There are also large Vortex Mini ROK and Cadet ROK fields, with grids filled with youngsters who will undoubtedly be the future stars of karting and motorsport in this country.

In Cadet ROK, defending 2018 Top Half Series class champion and the youngest driver to ever win a Top Half Series title, Maxim Kirwan from Auckland, aims to go back-to-back in 2019, fresh off a podium finish at the City of Melbourne Titles meeting in Australia a fortnight ago.

Set to take the fight to the 2019 Cadet ROK class champion, however, are current #3NZ Carson Daly from Hamilton, Marco Manson from Auckland plus a number of other emerging names from across the Top Half region.


Sebastian Manson from Auckland and Emerson Vincent from Pukekohe will be the ones to watch in Vortex Mini ROK. Others expected to do well are Kiahn Burt from the Manawatu who showed great pace throughout the 2018/2019 WPKA Goldstar Series in the lower North Island and is keen to test himself now against Manson, Vincent and the likes of Jamie Thompson, Ashton Phipps and Mitchell Corrin on tracks in the upper half of the Island.

Current #3NZ and 2019 National Schools’ Champion Clay Osborne will headline the Junior Rotax field but with 22 other competitors, this year’s series isn’t going to be easy, with young Aucklander Dylan Grant in particular showing great pace recently alongside NZED Motorsport drivers Nathan Crang and Luke Thompson.

Clay Osborne (pic – Emilee Jane Photography)

Brother of Clay Osborne and Current #1NZ in the Rotax Light senior class, Fynn Osborne, will be the one to beat at his home track in that class. Strong competition will come however, from the likes of Rotorua’s Brad Hewson and Aucklander Ashton Grant as well as two of the country’s top female drivers, Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington, and Gemma Winters from Tauranga..

Caleb Hartley is a favourite for Rotax Heavy in the 2019 Top Gear Top Half Series. This year ‘Heavies have 12 entries to date, amongst them those of youngster Adam Bell and veteran Aarron Cunningham.

Current 2NZ Sam Waddell, meanwhile, will be one to watch in the Rotax DD2 class for 2019 alongside Jason Lee and Darren Walker.

KZ2 may not have huge numbers for the 2019 Top Half Series, but we are sure that the racing will be extremely close with long time karting competitor Graeme Smyth joining the series for 2019 alongside young guns Sam Wright, Michael Adolph and Connor Wilson.

Sam Wright, KZ2 (pic – Emilee Jane Photography)

ClubSport 120 had a late boost in entries with class main man Stephen Muggeridge from Whakatane returning to the Top Half Series alongside fellow category stalwarts Graham Knight, Richard Macey and Cliff Walsh.

The Top Gear Top Half Series would not be possible without the support of the following sponsors;.

  • Naming Rights Sponsor: Top Gear Rotorua Limited
  • Gold Sponsors for 2019: CRC Industries, Formula Fit High-Performance Centre
  • Silver Sponsors: Duffett Door Solutions, Giltrap Group, Lightning Race Gear, Employment Law Advocacy
  • Bronze Sponsors: One Stop Promotions, Emilee Jane Photography, Awards Trophy & Engraving Experts, JOP Print, Lascom Motorsport, Harris Race Radios, Flatline Computer Company and Game Over Indoor Karting Auckland and Headcase Design.

Class Sponsors for 2019 are:


  • Cadet ROK – TCB Motorsport
  • Mini ROK – Supreme Kart Supplies
  • Rotax Max Junior -International Kart Supplies
  • Rotax Max Light – Urban Performance
  • KZ2– Spartan 4 Toyota
  • DD2 – Right Karts
  • Clubsport 120 -WRB karting Supplies
  • Rotax Max Heavy – MG Tyres


  • Rnd 1: Hamilton 17th & 18th August
  • Rnd 2: Rotorua 21st & 22nd September
  • Rnd 3: Tokoroa 5th & 6th October
  • Rnd 4: Bay of Plenty 9th &10th November