by Emilee Wright
Wet conditions added an extra challenge to the final round of the Top Gear Top Half kart racing series at the Kartsport Bay of Plenty club’s Visi-Line Raceway at Te Puke on Sunday.
Competitors and crew members alike had to ensure that they had their setups on point with lots at stake. As the day went on the skies cleared, however, allowing for the final heat races of the day and the Duffett Door Slammer races to be contested on a dry track.
Aucklander Marco Manson proved to be the driver to beat in the TCB Motorsport Cadet ROK class at Te Puke, with two heat race victories to his name and the other two being won by Cole Turney (Ht 1) and Maxim Kirwan (Ht 4). Veloce Karting driver Carson Daly finished second for the day from Hamilton club mate Riley Boswell, while Maxim Kirwan still managed to secure the TCB Motorsport Cadet Rok class Top Half Series’ title after finishing the round in 5th position.
In the Supreme Kart Supplies-sponsored Vortex Mini ROK class there was the battle royal, meanwhile, between CRG driver Ashton Phipps and Sebastian Manson. Phipps grabbed the round win with Manson securing the Duffett Door Slammer race as well as the Top Half Series Championship for 2019. Phipps finished second for the series followed home by Ethan Church.
Manawatu driver Kiahn Burt finished third for the round as well as being awarded the 2019 Most Improved Junior over the series.
Aucklander Dylan Grant dominated the International Kart Supplies Rotax Max Junior field at Te Puke, finishing six points clear of second place recipient Mitchell Sparrow with Ryan Bell third. Jack Neil and female driver Caitlin Stanley showed their improvement and consistency throughout the day by finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
Clay Osborne finished 10th for the round but he was still able to pull off the series’ win for 2019, from Dylan Grant and Hayden Bakkerus.
Urban Performance-sponsored Rotax Max Light was once again run and won by Hamilton driver Fynn Osborne. He not only won the round but also secured the 2019 Top Gear Top Half Series title. Auckland driver Josh Richmond and female competitor Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington finished on the final steps of the podium.
In terms of outright series honours, Rotorua driver Bradley Hewson finished second, with Aucklander Ashton Grant third.
Bay of Plenty youngster Adam Bell proved too good for anyone else in MG Tyres Rotax Max Heavy, claiming the round win by seven points from Darren Walker and newly-crowned North Island champion Marco Giltrap. Bell capped off a great season by taking series’ honours in the class as well from Hamilton’s Caleb Hartley and Darren Walker.
Female competitor Heidi Benner finishing in fifth position while Urban Performance driver Aaron Tahu was named the Most Improved Senior over the Top Gear Top Half Series for 2019.
Local ace Sam Waddell showed his class in Right Karts Rotax DD2, grabbing three out of four heat wins plus a class win in the Duffett Door Slammer race. Waddell also secured the class series’ title from Jason Lee and Andrew Grant.
In Spartan 4 Toyota KZ2 youngster Sam Wright took two race wins and two second places to lead home Kevan Storr who managed a breakthrough second place ahead of teammate Graeme Smyth. Mad Croc driver Smyth took overall series honours, however, from Wright, Storr and Felix Hume.
Finally WRB Karting Supplies ClubSport Raket 120 turned on some of the closest racing at the meeting, with Shannon Noble again claiming class victory, this time from Graham Knight and Bryan Withers.
Top Gear Top Half Series promotor and organiser Roger Smith said afterwards that it was ‘awesome to see competitor numbers growing throughout the series this year,’ and that hopefully he will be able to entice ‘even more competitors to join the fun while gaining valuable racing experience’ next year.
Kartsport Whangarei was this year’s recipient of the Inter-Club trophy for the 2019 Top Gear Top Half Series.
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: 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 were:
- 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