Sizzling Action Kicks off NZ Season

By Emilee Wright

The 2020 KartSport season got off to a sizzling hot start at the KartSport Auckland club’s annual Strata Networks City of Sails 2-Day Challenge meeting over the city’s Anniversary Day long weekend.

With the daytime air temperature at Giltrap Group Raceway reaching 28 degrees both days racing ended early on Saturday to facilitate track maintenance required overnight so that it could continue on Sunday.

In Carter’s Tyre Service Cadet ROK the top qualifier was Christchurch driver Zach Tucker who runs under the guidance of KartSport New Zealand Academy coach Tiffany Chittenden,

It was young Hamilton driver Carson Daly who won the first heat race though. Tucker came back to claim the second but Daly was not done, grabbing the Pre Final win by 0.081 from NZED Motorsport driver William Edmondson. This meant that points were close between Tucker and Daly heading into the Final.

Zach Tucker won Cadet ROK (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

Tucker stayed cool and calm though, taking the win in that race over William Edmondson and Marco Manson – the latter who started from the rear of the field after having a DNF in the Pre Final.

Overall the class win went to Zach Tucker from Carson Daly and William Edmondson.

Pool and Spa Maintenance sponsored Vortex Mini ROK saw 16 young boys and girls take to the track over the weekend. NZED Motorsport driver Jamie Thompson took pole position from Aucklander Ashton Phipps and newcomer to the class Riley Boswell.

Vortex Mini ROK winner Ashton Phipps (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

Phipps proved to be the dominant driver, however, putting together an impressive clean sweep of race wins from Heat 1 through to the Final. Jamie Thompson was the next best, with Sodi Kart driver Ethan Church showing his improvement in the class over the past six months by claiming the final step on the class podium. Finishing in a very respectable fourth place was Cole Turney, who has just moved up from the Cadet ROK class.


Some of the closest and most hard-fought racing seen at the meeting, meanwhile, came in the Lascom Motorsport-sponsored 125cc Rotax Max Junior class, where Christchurch driver Jacob Douglas, who also runs under the guidance of KartSport New Zealand Academy coach Tiffany Chittenden, grabbed pole position by 0.021 from Aucklanders Luke Thompson and Mason Potter.

Luke Thompson, 1st Rotax Max Junior (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

Thompson ran away with the Heat 1 victory from Jacob Douglas, with another Aucklander driver, Dylan Grant winning the second from Douglas and Mason Potter. Come Pre-Final time and Douglas snatched the win from Thompson by under one second. However NZED Motorsport driver Luke Thompson was too strong, winning the Final and with it the overall City of Sails class title from Jacob Douglas and Mason Potter.

The Praga New Zealand-backed 125cc Rotax Max Light class was another that was hotly contested; this time between Auckland drivers Ryan Crombie and Josh Richmond, the only drivers to take victories in the class races over the 2-day event. That said, reigning class NZ Sprint champion Fynn Osborne from Hamilton managed to take away a new class track lap record, so didn’t go away completely empty-handed.

Ryan Crombie took out 125cc Rotax Max Light (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

In the end Crombie and Richmond were separated by just one point with Crombie coming out on top. Urban Performance driver George Sampson finished up on the final step of the podium for the weekend while teammate Charlie Coleman ended up fourth.

Things were a little more clear-cut in Right Karts-sponsored 125cc Rotax Max Heavy, where Bay of Plenty driver Darren Walker took three out of four race wins. Youngster Marco Giltrap was the only driver to challenge Walker but fell just short with Palmerston North driver Brendon Hart grabbing the win in the Final and taking second place in the overall event standings, behind Darren Walker with Giltrap third.

Rotax Heavy winner Darren Walker (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

Stephen Muggeridge dominated the MJC Building Ltd ClubSport 120 class winning all races over the 2020 City of Sails event. Carl Brennan and Matt Couch were the next best in the ClubSport 120 class. Neither driver finished outside of the top four and at the end of the day both Couch and Brennan were tied on points – behind Muggeridge – for the overall result.

Mojo Tyres-sponsored Rotax DD2 was dominated by Jason Lee, the Aucklander backing up his recent North Island Sprint Championships win at the same track. KartSport returnee Matthew McBride, and Craig Cook finished second and third for the weekend.

Jason Lee took victory in DD2 (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

Top local karter Graeme Smyth looked all set to be the one to beat in the Employment Law-backed KZ2 class. After qualifying on pole and taking three victories, it was certainly shaping up to be his weekend as well.

It all turned pear-shaped, however, when Smyth made contact with a lapped driver in the Final, resulting in a DNF. Because of the race format for the weekend Smyth was unable to drop the DNF, resulting in the class win going instead to fast-rising young Auckland ace Joshua Parkinson.

Second place in the Final went to another of the KZ2 class’s young chargers, Sam Wright. After contact of his own with another driver, the resulting DNF in the Pre Final meant Wright started the Final from P14 but drove through the field to finish second behind Parkinson.