By Emilee Wright
KartSport Rotorua’s Century Batteries International Raceway put on a class act over the weekend, with 135 entries and drivers from all across the country attending the second round of this year’s Top Gear Top Half kart series. The 1241 metre kart track high in the Mamaku Ranges allowed for an action packed weekend of racing with 35 heats races across all classes on Sunday.
Young Aucklander Maxim Kirwan claimed his second Cadet ROK class win in as many rounds, though fellow youngster Cole Turney showed what he was capable of this time around, using great race craft and consistency as he took the battle to Kirwan in all the heat races. Marco Manson (Auckland) and Riley Boswell (Hamilton) both also managed to grab heat race wins over the weekend.
Lascom Motorsport driver, Ashton Phipps showed his improvement in the Vortex Mini ROK class, taking the first two heat wins of the day. Jay Urwin and Ethan Church also managed to take heat race wins but Phipps was the one to beat with Sebastian Manson and Jay Urwin coming home 2nd and 3rd respectively for the round. A driver who showed improvement and consistency – Alex Rose from Auckland – finished in 4th position.
Clay Osborne was the dominant driver in the Junior Rotax class, grabbing 3 out of 5 race wins in the field of 24 drivers. Osborne was also the winner of the Giltrap Group Dash for Cash starting off grid position 24 and taking the lead with 2 laps to go. Aucklander Dylan Grant finished runner up followed by Zach Blinco and NZed Motorsport teammates Luke Thompson and Nathan Crang.
Jackson Rooney showed that his international racing in Australia is paying off back home in the Rotax Max Light class; in fact the top five drivers for the day have all been racing in this year’s Rotax Pro Tour across the Tasman. Auckland’s Josh Richmond finished up 2nd over Michael McCulloch from the Kapiti Coast who was third. Gemma Winters was the top female this weekend finishing in a respectable 6th position out of 23 competitors.
Local driver Adam Bell had a dominant performance in the Rotax Max Heavy class with top 3 finishes throughout the day in the heat races. Darren Walker and Marco Giltrap were other competitors to grab heat race wins. Giltrap was looking strong for a potential personal best finish at Top Half but he was struck by a couple of penalties. Youngster Hayden Knight showed what he is capable of, however, finishing the weekend on the podium.
It was the experienced against the rookie again in KZ2, with Graeme Smyth and Sam Wright the only two drivers to have race wins over the weekend. Youngster Michael Adolph finished on the final step of the podium for the weekend. In the Rotax DD2 class, run concurrently, it was experienced Auckland karter Jason Lee who took the victory followed home by Masters class ace Dave Malcolm.
Tauranga driver Sam Waddell managed 2 race wins but a penalty in the Final prevented him from being further up on the podium for the round.
Urban Performance driver Shannon Noble took the top step of the podium, meanwhile, in Racket 120 over Bay of Plenty driver Graham Knight with long time Top Half series class champion Steve Muggeridge finishing third. Heat race wins were shared between all 3 podium places recipients.
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
- Rotax Max Heavy – MG Tyres
- KZ2- Spartan 4 Toyota
- DD2 – Right Karts
- ClubSport 120 -WRB Karting Supplies
- 2019 Top Gear Top Half Series
- 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