Years of experience gave Auckland karter Mat Kinsman a winning edge in the premier KZ2 class at the rescheduled opening round of this year’s Giltrap Group ProKart Series in Hamilton over the weekend.
Third-generation karter Kinsman, who imports and sells the Sodi range of karts from France when he is not behind the wheel himself, won two of the four heats as well as the Pre-Final to end up claiming round victory in the 125cc/6-speed gearbox KZ2 category over Sodi Kart teammate Joshua Parkinson, fellow young gun Michael Adolph and former series class title-holder Graeme Smyth (all Auckland) and Riley Jack from Palmerston North.
It was Parkinson who – arguably – made the biggest impression out of those in the chasing pack, however, pipping Kinsman for pole position by setting the fastest lap time in the class qualifying session on Saturday morning before putting together a 2-2-12-1 run through the heats to start the Pre-Final from P2.
Unfortunately that was as good as it was going to get in that particular race for the talented Auckland teen who ended up classified 14th after stopping on lap 9.
In theory that should have been it for Parkinson’s challenge. Instead he put his head down and made it all the way back up to P4 in the Final – behind race winner Sam Wright, runner-up Mat Kinsman, and Graeme Smyth in third – to claim a hard-won second place in the KZ2 class series’ point standings.
There was a real gala feeling in the air at the KartSport Hmailton club’s meeting at its Porter Group Park kart track opposite Hamilton Airport over the weekend, after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last Friday that Auckland would join the rest of New Zealand at COVID-19 Alert Level 1for the weekend.
In the other two KZ2 classes, Auckland ace Regan Hall proved too good for the rest of the KZ2 Masters field, winning all four heats as well as both the Pre-Final and Final to start the season with a perfect score. Second was Kevan Storr, third Jeremy Thornton.
Local ace Tony Walker, meanwhile, stepped up to claim the win in the spec. and cost-cost-controlled KZ4 class thanks to wins in two of the four heats and the Pre-Final. Auckland’s Jason Lee won the other two heats as well as the Final but lacked the consistency of both Walker and eventual class round runner-up, Garry Cullum, from Auckland. Despite that Lee still finished the round third overall, albeit tied on points with two others, Marcus Carlyle from Papamoa and Nick Tombleson from Taupo.
Consistency also worked in favour of top Auckland prospect Josh Richmond in the 125cc Rotax Max class at Hamilton. Though event pacesetter Zac Stichbury from the Hawke’s Bay claimed pole position and won two of the heats as well as the Final, he was always in catch-up mode after failing to finish the first heat.
The country’s top female driver, Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington, ended up second overall behind Richmond but ahead of Stichbury after getting better and better as the meeting went on, starting the Final from P3 and grabbing an early lead before Stichbury stormed past and she settled into second place which she held to the finish. Ashton Grant from Auckland and Clay Osborne from Hamilton ended up tied for fourth place behind Stichbury in terms of round points with a gap back to Clay’s brother Fynn in sixth place and veteran Ryan Urban in seventh.
Locally-based James Higgins won the battle with his Palmerston North-based brother Ashley in the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class-within-a-class, qualifying quickest, winning all six races and setting a new class lap record.
Mitchel Sparrow from Tuakau claimed a confidence-building class win, meanwhile, in the Junior Rotax category, top-scoring the round – ahead of both fastest qualifier and Heat 1 and Pre-Final winner Emerson Vincent and Heats 2 & 3 as well as Final winner Sebastian Manson…..without himself winning a race.
Finally, Sebastian Manson’s younger brother Marco, proved in another of the day’s perfect class-winning runs that he had both speed and consistency, qualifying quickest and winning all six Vortex Mini ROK races from pole position.
In saying that eventual class runner-up Miles Baker and third-placed Riley Boswell, both from Hamilton, were absolutely relentless in their pursuit of Manson, who – despite the score line – only led one heat race (the 4th) from start to finish.
COVID-19 alert levels-willing, the KartSport Rotorua club is set to host the second round of the 2021 Giltrap Group ProKart Series at its Century Batteries International Kart Raceway over the April 17-18 weekend.
- Matt Kinsman; 2. Josh Parkinson; 3. Michael Adolph; 4. Graeme Smyth; 5. Riley Jack; 6; Declyn Goffin.
- Regan Hall; 2. Kevan Storr; 3 Jeremy Thornton; 4. David Malcolm; 5. Tim Loughran.
- Tony Walker; 2. Garry Cullum; 3=. Marcus Carlyle/Nick Tombleson/Jason Lee; 6=. Gerhard Benadie/Clint Beaumont.
125cc Rotax Max Light
- Josh Richmond; 2. Rianna O’Meara-Hunt; 3. Zac Stichbury; 4=. Ashton Grant & Clay Osborne; 6. Fynn Osborne.
125cc Rotax Max Heavy
- James Higgins; 2. AshleyHiggins.
- Mitchell Sparrow; 2. Emerson Vincent; 3. Sebastian Manson; 4. Jay Urwin; 5. Hayden Lines; 6. Blake Corin.
Vortex Mini ROK
- Marco Manson; 2, Miles Baker; 3, Riley Boswell; 4. Cole Turney; 5. William Edmondson; 6, Cooper Insley.
2021 Giltrap Group ProKart Series (revised calendar)
- Rnd 1: Porter Group Park, Hamilton March 13-14
- Rnd 2: Century Batteries International Raceway, Rotorua April 17-18
- Rnd 3: Visi Line Raceway, Te Puke May 15-16
- Rnd 4: Stihl Shop Tokoroa Raceway, Tokoroa Aug 14-15
- Rnd 5:Porter Group Park Hamilton Sept 18-19