By Emilee Wright
KartSport Hamilton put on a fantastic show for round one of the 2019 Top Gear Top Half Series. Cold conditions early Sunday morning made sure drivers and teams had their karts set up correctly with all heats being critical for a round and series win.
Off the back of his City of Melbourne podium young Aucklander Maxim Kirwan was the only driver to win five heats from five starts in the Cadet ROK class. Carson Daly and Marco Manson finished second and third respectively for the day.
Vortex Mini ROK put on a class act with no driver dominating the class. Emerson Vincent and Sebastian Manson both took race wins, with Manson managing to take the win in the Final after making the pass for the lead about half race distance. Jake Millan also showed great pace, finishing third for the weekend.
In the Rotax Junior class, meanwhile, it was Nathan Crang who came away with the overall win from fellow Aucklanders Ayrton Williams and Dylan Grant. Juniors was another class where there was no dominant driver with four different heat winners with Nathan Crang, Dylan Grant, Mason Potter and Clay Osborne all taking a heat victory. Rotorua’s Jack Neil also showed great pace and consistency, finishing in fifth position ahead of current #3NZ Clay Osborne.
Twenty-eight drivers all aimed for the top step of the podium in the Rotax Light class but it was current New Zealand champion Fynn Osborne who took the round one victory from Manawatu driver Jackson Rooney and Aucklander Zane Hills.
With Rotax Light having the most competitors at round one they were the first class to do the 2019 Giltrap Group Dash for Cash over 20 laps with Josh Richmond grabbing the win over fellow Aucklander Ashton Grant by just 0.144 and local ace Fynn Osborne coming home in third 5.7 seconds behind the leading pair.
In Rotax Heavy it was Caleb Hartley and Adam Bell who shared the race victories with Hartley managing to hold on to the round win by three points. Bay of Plenty driver Darren Walker came home in third position after having a DNF in Heat 2.
2018 Top Half Series class winner Steven Muggeridge was back to his best in the ClubSport 120 class, taking three heat wins, with Cliff Walsh and Richard Macey finishing on equal points behind. The class featured some great action-packed racing at Porter Group Park, with five to six drivers always battling for a position.
Sam Waddell was dominant in Rotax DD2 taking four wins from five starts, with Jason Lee finishing second and Andrew Grant third, the latter showing great pace to come home ahead of Bay of Plenty’s Darren Walker.
Finally, in the KZ2 class local ace Rhys Tinney looked like he was going to be the one the beat after finishing heat one 0.5 ahead of Regan Hall and Sam Wright. However Graeme Smyth found his pace in Heat 2 taking the win from Sam Wright by 0.05. Young Aucklander Wright took the win in Heat 4 though, with Smyth taking the round victory from Wright and Tinney who ended up equal on points.
The Top Gear Top Half Series would not be possible without the support of the sponsors that have jumped onboard for 2019, and we would like to extend our thanks to them all.
- Naming Rights Sponsors: 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