Fast-rising young Kiwi karter Jackson Rooney has done it again. Just two weeks after claiming a breakthrough win in the TaG 125cc class at the final round of the 2019 Australian Kart Championship in Melbourne, the 15-year-old from Palmerston North, came out on top in the Rotax 125 Light class on the second day of racing at the final – double-header – round of Australia’s Rotax Pro Tour at Albury on Sunday.
In doing so Rooney was one of two resident Kiwi class winners at the meeting, fellow Manawatu karter Fraser Hart claiming another clear win in the Rotax DD2 Masters class on the first day of competition on Saturday.
With a second place finish in the Rotax DD2 Masters class on Sunday Hart again ended up the top scoring Kiwi karter across the two days. But there was no doubting the impact 15-year-old Rooney had thanks to his win in difficult track conditions on Sunday.
“It rained close to release time and we had to change the set-up of the kart which meant we were last to get to the grid. But we made the start,” said his father Chris, “ and Jackson just drove so well on the wet track. He got up to second place quite quickly then he and his teammate Cody Gillis swapped the lead. Jackson held it for about 8 laps but Cody got it back only to be given a time penalty for a starting infringement, meaning the win went to Jackson.
“He has made us so proud with his achievements in his first year in a class field of Seniors at just 15-years-of-age.”
Aucklander Bond Roby ended up best of the other five resident Kiwis who crossed the Tasman for the gala final round of the Sparco Rotax Pro Tour despite a dnf in the Saturday Rotax DD2 Final.
Before that Roby had qualified third quickest, finished second in the first heat race and won the second. He then backed that obvious pace up with a win in the first heat race on Sunday and third in the Final after another dnf in the second heat.
Reigning NZ 125cc Rotax Max Light champion Fynn Osborne, had an up-and-down weekend in Rotax 125 Light, qualifying 7th quickest on Saturday but after a 5th in the first heat (just behind Jackson Rooney) then 7th in the second he ended up back in P11 in that day’s Final.
Come Sunday he found his direction though, and after finishing 10th in the first heat worked his way up to 3rd in the second then finished 4th in the Final.
Younger brother Clay started well with the 4th quickest qualifying time in the Junior Max class on the first day of competition but that was effectively as good as it got for the young Hamiltonian.
A dnf in the first heat was followed by 8th in the second and 7th in the Saturday Final, then 7th place finishes in both Sunday heats before 9th in the Sunday Final.
Top Wellington-based Kiwi female driver Rianna O’Meara-Hunt went the other way in Rotax 125 Light, qualifying 13th and finishing the Saturday Final 15th but she worked her way up to 12th in the first heat race on Sunday then 10th in both the second heat and Sunday Final.
“While we certainly did not achieve anywhere near our goals,” said her father Marty, “we are still pretty chuffed with how determined Rianna has been all year to get to the bottom of our issues. Albury was also good in terms of mid pack racing and plenty of passing.”
Finally, Palmerston North veteran Brendon Hart had a meeting of two halves, qualifying for and finishing 14th in the Rotax 125 Heavy class Final on Saturday, but only managing one finish – 15th in the second heat – on Sunday