All Action at 52nd Blossom Festival & GP


The heavy rain showers that swept across Hawke’s Bay on Sunday morning played their part. But this year’s big Blossom Festival and Grand Prix kart race meeting will be remembered as much for the 100+ entry and quality of competition across both days.

Backed by a number of local businesses led by naming rights sponsor Bayswater Vehicles, the meeting was the 52nd run under the Blossom Festival tag by the KartSport Hawke’s Bay club at its Carter’s Tyre Service Raceway track at Roy’s Hill near Hastings.

Regan Hall won Open class (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

With the club also hosting the annual North Island championships meeting at the track over Labour Weekend many karters from all over the country used the two-day Blossom meeting as an opportunity to check both the track and competition out; an opportunity actually aided by the ‘Game of two halves’ weather and track conditions (cool and dry on Saturday, streaming wet/damp/dry and cold on Sunday).

With a unique two-day/10-race format which sees drivers race round the 687m track in a clockwise direction on Saturday then in the anti-clockwise direction on Sunday claiming a class win at a Blossom meeting requires a unique blend of speed, race craft, tenacity… and luck.

Sebastian Manson (55) took out Junior MAX (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

This year those class winners were;

  • Senior Open – Regan Hall, Auckland
  • 125cc Rotax Max Light – Jackson Rooney, Palmerston North
  • 125cc Rotax Max Heavy – Zach Zaloum, Hastings
  • Vortex ROK DVS Snr – Tyler Edney, Masterton
  • ClubSport 120 – Stephen Muggeridge, Whakatane
  • ClubSport Briggs LO206 –  Ben Hibbs, Hastings
  • Rotax Max Jnr – Sebastian Manson, Auckland
  • Vortex ROK DVS Jnr – Ayrton Williams, Auckland
  • Vortex Mini ROK – Jamie Thompson, Auckland
  • Cadet ROK – Grayson Stowe, Hastings

Though there were no ‘clean sweeps’ of classes at this year’s Blossom meeting as there have been in the past, two drivers – Zach Zaloum in 125cc Rotax Max Heavy, and Ayrton Williams in Vortex ROK DVS Junior – got agonisingly close with nine wins from 10 starts apiece.

Briggs ClubSport LO206 class driver Ben Hibbs also got close, winning 7 of his 10 heat races (and keeping it in the family by only conceding the 3 others to his Dad Shaun) while Whakatane veteran Steve Muggeridge proved his speed and consistency by winning the ClubSport 120 category with six wins, two seconds and two third placings.

Ayrton Williams, 1st ROK Junior DVS (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

If there was a story across the other classes, however, it was how close it was between the winner and runner-up.

In Vortex Mini ROK Palmerston North driver Judd Christiansen ended up tied on 24 points with winner Jamie Thompson from Auckland with the difference going to countback.

Another young Auckland driver, Sebastian Manson also came out on top in the Rotax Junior class, albeit by a single point over highly-rated local ace Thomas Bewley – the latter winning more heat races (5 to Manson’s 2)  but Manson enjoying a better run through the countback process.

Jamie Thompson won Vortex Mini ROK (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

There was real depth in the 125cc Rotax Max  Light class as well, with eventual class winner, Jackson Rooney from Palmerston North, sharing race wins over the 9 heats with KartSport Manawatu clubmate Michael McCulloch and Aucklanders Sam Wright and Josh Richmond, with Richmond 2nd overall by a single point over McCulloch, Bradley Hewson from Rotorua fourth and Wright fifth.

Sam Wright also ended up second – by a single point again – in the Open class where across 9 heats he won 4 and finished second to eventual winner Regan Hall, in the other 5, only for Hall to take the advantage on countback.

There was also just a single point in it in the Vortex ROK DVS class where Tyler Edney from Masterton enjoyed a breakthrough win over local ace Jamie van den Berk, with former kart-turned-car star Chris van der Drift from Hamilton – who won 3 of the 9 heats – a further 3 points back in third place.

Grayson Stowe, Cadet ROK winner (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

The 30-lap feature race at the meeting, the 2020 Senior Grand Prix, meanwhile, was won by Jacob Cranston from Palmerston North, from Regan Hall from Auckland, and the driver who had travelled the furthest to get to the meeting this year, Luca Burns from Winton in western Southland.

The annual two-day meeting at the KartSport Hawke’s Bay club’s Carter’s Tyres Raceway at Roys Hill on the outskirts of Hastings is the longest-running sprint kart event in the country, with the first one staged as a then-popular ‘road race’ round a street course in Hastings in September 1968 to help raise funds for the permanent track the club uses to this day.

Rotax Light winner Jackson Rooney (pic – Fast Company/Emilee Jane Photography)

A special feature of the meeting again this year were demonstrations by drivers of a number of Vintage Karts.


The KartSport Hawke’s Bay club would like to thank all the sponsors who helped make this year’s event possible. 

  • Bayswater Vehicles 
  • Carter’s Tyre Service 
  • Napier City Council 
  • VJ Distributors 
  • First Light Community Foundation 
  • Coopers Tyres 
  • Complete Paints 
  • Shani’s Restaurant 
  • Tremains 
  • Hastings City Council 
  • Vivo Hair Salon 
  • Dura-Seal 


Cadet ROK

1. Grayson Stowe ; 2. Aryan Lala; 3. Jacob Pye; 4. Luke McMillan; 5. Aston Walker ; 6. Cooper Insley.

Vortex Mini ROK

1. Jamie Thompson; 2. Judd Christiansen; 3. Ethan Church; 4. Jacob Bellamy; 5. Marco Manson; 6. Carson Daly.

Vortex ROK DVS Junior

1. Ayrton Williams; 2. Daniel McMillan.

125cc Rotax Max Junior

1. Sebastian Manson ; 2. Thomas Bewley; 3. Logan Manson; 4. Kiahn Burt; 5. Tayler Payne; 6. Hayden Lines.

125cc Rotax Max Heavy

1. Zach Zaloum; 2. Ashley Higgins.

125cc Rotax Max Light

1. Jackson Rooney; 2. Josh Richmond; 3. Michael McCulloch; 4. Bradley Hewson; 5. Sam Wright; 6. Jaden Hardy

 Briggs Clubsport LO206

1. Ben Hibbs; 2. Shaun Hibbs; 3. Nina Smith.

ClubSport 120

1. Stephen Muggeridge; 2. William Pearson; 3. Carlos Stone; 4. Paul Hutchison; 5. Neil Surtees; 6. Carl Brennan.


  1. Regan Hall; 2.  Sam Wright; 3. Luca Burns; 4. Jackson Rooney; 5. Roman Harker-Ferguson; 6. Chris Simmonds.

Vortex ROK DVS Senior

  1. Tyler Edney; 2. Jamie van der Berk; 3. Chris van der Drift; 4. Jacob Cranston; 5. Ben Stewart; 6. Joseph Peirce

Open Grand Prix


  1. Jacob Cranston 30 laps 15:43.600         
  2. Regan Hall +3.723
  3. Luca Burns +5.279
  4. Jackson Rooney +12.831
  5. Michael McCulloch +1 lap
  6. Josh Richmond +1 lap