With wins against some of the world’s best young karters in their respective classes at the annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting in Italy recently, young Kiwi karters Clay Osborne from Hamilton and Jay Urwin from Tauranga helped elevate New Zealand to fourth overall in the Nations Cup competition.
This year’s multi-day Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals event, was the 20th organized by Austrian engine manufacturer Rotax.
It was held at one of Italy’s oldest and most storied kart tracks (Sarno near Naples) and pitted over 350 Rotax Max category karters (the majority either class winners or runners-up in their own National Rotax Max Challenge series) from 58 countries around the world against each other to see who was best.
New Zealand has a proud record of achievement in the 20 years it has been sending teams to the annual Grand Finals meetings. However the only other driver to win his class was Ryan Urban (DD2 Masters) from Auckland at the 15th annual event at Portimao in Portugal in 2015.
Both Christchurch’s Matthew Hamilton and Joshua Hart from Palmerston North have claimed runner-up spots at previous events but two wins – particularly in such competitive Junior classes – is unprecedented.
Clay Osborne’s win came in the Junior Max class where the 15-year-old lead home top French driver Sacha Maguet and Canadian Jason Leung.
Jay Urwin’s meanwhile, came in Micro Max, where the 11-year-old led home Macauley Bishop from Great Britain and Salvatore Trinsade from Portugal.
Other members of the Kiwi squad also impressed at the meeting.
Tauranga driver Sam Waddell finished the Rotax DD2 class Final in 4th place, while Auckland youngster Sebastian Manson was the big mover in the Mini Max class Final, making up 23 places to finish 5th.
Michael McCulloch from the Kapiti Coast finished 19th in the Rotax Senior class Final, and Kiwi team captain, David Malcolm from Auckland was the 26th driver home in the DD2 Masters class Final.
Kiwi Josh Bethune, who earned his place on the US team at the event by winning his class at the US selection meeting ended up 15th in the DD2 Final.
Aucklander Bond Roby however, didn’t make the Finals cut (he was classified 61st after the two Pre-Finals) in the DD2 class.
- New Zealand