Top Auckland karter Graeme Smyth was back to his best at the second round of this year’s Giltrap Group ProKart Series at Rotorua over the weekend.
With the return to the popular annual KZ2-based series of Auckand-based international Daniel Bray, as well as Smyth’s multiple ProKart Series winning teammate Ryan Grant dominating the headlines last week, Smyth was very much able to run ‘under the radar’ heading into the meeting.
However, after splitting Grant and Rnd 1 series winner Mat Kinsman to claim the second quickest lap time in qualifying on Saturday morning it was Smyth who very much dominated proceedings, winning the first two KZ2 class heat races – from Grant, Bray, Kinsman and young gun Nathan Crang in the first, then Grant, Kinsman. Bray and Jackson Rooney in the second – on Saturday, then the final (fourth) heat as well as both the Pre-Final and Final on Sunday.
While not the complete whitewash he was no doubt aiming for – rain showers that swept across the KartSport Rotorua club’s 1.2km Century Batteries Internaional Raceway high in the Mamaku Ranges west of the lakeside Bay of Plenty resort town, seeing Rnd 1 winner Mat Kinsman grabbing an early lead to win the third heat from Smyth, Bray, Grant, Crang and first round standout Joshua Parkinson – it was enough to propel Smyth from 4th place in the series’ points round after the first round at Hamilton last month to equal first after the second with Mat Kinsman.
Parkinson is best of the rest in 3rd place ahead of Daniel Bugler, Sam Wright and Riley Jack.
In the other 6-speed gearbox/125cc KZ2-based classes only a 5th place finish in the second KZ2 Masters heat on Saturday denied Auckland ace Regan Hall the same clean-sweep he enjoyed at the opening series round at Hamilton. In saying that Hall was again the class of the Masters’ field, to lead home David Malcolm and Kevan Storr.
First round winner Tony Walker from Hamilton also won the spec-and-cost-controlled KZ4 class (run concurrently) for the second time in a row, despite the best efforts of Aucklander Jason Lee.
Lee won two of the four class heats plus both the Pre-Final and Final but was dragged down by a 7th place finish in the second heat (won by Walker) and ended up having to settle for second place just three points shy of Walker but 11 up on third placed Marcus Carlyle.
To the 125c Rotax Max support classes and the Lights one was won by Hamilton’s Clay Osborne from second-generation kart racer Zac Stichbury from the Hawke’s Bay with Campbell Joyes (from Hamilton) 3rd and Ashton Grant (from Auckland) 4th.
Though Osborne was the dominant driver over the weekend, winning three of the four heat races, as well as both the Pre-Final and Final, Stichbury scored enough points to easily claim second place for the round from Joyes and Grant, and to tie for the class series’ lead with Osborne.
James Higgins extended his series’ class lead over younger brother Ashley in the 125ccc Rotax Max Heavy category run concurrently.
It was a case, meanwhile, of ‘what a difference a month makes’ in a packed field of 125cc Rotax Max Junior class drivers, with round victory going to young Manawatu ace Kiahn Burt, despite an 8th place finish in the Final.
After a 9th place finish at the first series round in Hamilton in March it was a very different Burt who won two of the four heat races at Rotorua and ended up with a round win himself from Auckland’s Ashton Phipps, class Pre-Final and Final winner Jay Urwin from the Bay of Plenty and Emerson Vincent from Pukekohe.
Vincent now heads the series points in the Junior Rotax category after the first two rounds from Urwin, Burt, Sebastian Manson from Auckland and Rnd 1 class winner Mitchell Sparrow from Tuakau.
Finally, emphatic Rnd 1 winner Marco Manson found himself with even more competition in the Vortex Mini ROK class, this time having to accept second place from fellow Aucklander Maxim Kirwan.
With three different heat race winners – Miles Baker in the first, Marco Manson in the 2nd & 3rd and Maxim Kirwan himself in the 4th – the racing was again as fast and as furious as it was at the opening series round at Hamilton.
This time though, Kirwan simply got better and better as the weekend wore on. Manson managed to find a way past late in the Pre-Final, but Kirwan was back in front by the time the chequered flag came out, and led the Final from start to finish to claim an impressive round win on his series’ debut this year.
Series-wise however, Marco Manson now has a healthy points lead over Miles Baker, Cole Turney and Riley Boswell.
The KartSport Bay of Plenty club is due to host the third round of this year’s Giltrap Group ProKart Series at its Visi-Line Kart Raceway near Te Puke over the May 15-16 weekend.
Rnd 2 2021 Giltrap Group ProKart SerieS KartSport Rotorua’s Century Batteries International RacewaynAmore Rd, Mamak Rotorua Sat-Sun April 17-18 2021
1. Graeme Smyth; 2, Ryan Grant; 3. Mat Kinsman; 4. Nathan Crang; 5. Josh Parkinson; 6. Daniel Bray.
1=. Mat Kinsman & Graeme Smyth 176 points; 3. Josh Parkinson 173; 4. Daniel Bugler 164; 5. Sam Wright 163; 6. Riley Jack 162.
1. Regan Hall; 2. David Malcolm; 3. Kevan Storr; 4. Andrew Hunt; 5. Tim Louhgran.
1. Regan Hall 184 points; 2. Kevan Storr 174; 3. David Malcolm 173; 4. Tim Loughran 168; 5. Jeremy Thornton 86; 6. Andrew Hunt 85.
1. Tony Walker; 2. Jason Lee; 3. Marcus Carlyle; 4. Garry Cullum; 5. Nick Tombleson; 6. Sean O’Hara.
1. Tony Walker 181 points; 2. Jason Lee 177; 3. Garry Cullum 173; 4. Marcus Carlyle 172; 5. Nick Tombleson 170; 6. Gerhard Benadie 165.
125cc Rotax Max Light
1. Clay Osborne; 2. Zac Stichbury; 3. Campbell Joyes; 4. Ashton Grant; 5=. Riley Spargo & Rianna O’Meara-Hunt.
1st=. Zac Stichbury & Clay Osborne 176 points; 3. Rianna O’Meara-Hunt 172; 4. Josh Richmond 171; 5. Ashton Grant 170; 6. Darren Walker 159.
125cc Rotax Max Heavy
1. James Higgins; 2. Ashley Higgins
1. James Higgins 183 points; 2. Ashley Higgins 177.
125 cc Rotax Max Junior
1. Kiahn Burt; 2.Ashton Phipps; 3. Jay Urwin; 4. Emerson Vincent; 5=. Tom Bewley & Jake Young.
1. Emerson Vincent 174 points; 2. Jay Urwin 172; 3. Kiahn Burt 171; 4. Sebastian Manson 169; 5. Mitchell Sparrow 168; 6=. Blake Corin & Hayden Lines 164.
Vortex Mini ROK
1. Maxim Kirwan; 2. Marco Manson; 3. Cole Turney; 4. Miles Baker; 5. Riley Boswell; 6=. Dylan Brangwynne & William Edmondson.
1. Marco Manson 180 points; 2. Miles Baker 173; 3. Cole Turney 171; 4. Riley Boswell 170; 5. William Edmondson 167; 6. Carson Daly 163.
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