Auckland karter Ryan Grant has been racing and winning in New Zealand’s premier 125cc/6-speed KZ2 class for 14 years. And if he continues to drive with the pace, precision and patience he showed at the third round of this year’s Giltrap Group ProKart Series at the KartSport Bay of Plenty club’s newly renamed Apparelmaster Raceway over the weekend he could well be doing so for another 14.
While he didn’t qualify quickest – that honour went to former international and now top local team owner Daniel Bray – or claim the round win – fellow Auckland category old hand Mat Kinsman did that – Grant simply never gave up, getting his reward – finally – in the KZ2 class Final with a 3.2 second victory over Kinsman, Graeme Smyth and Joshua Parkinson.
Despite a slight drop in numbers for the round, most noticeable in the Rotax Max support classes, the quality of the racing was again first class.
No more so than in KZ2 where the category’s ‘youth wave’ once again put the established players on notice. This time it was Nathan Crang poking his head confidently above the parapet with a fourth overall placing for the round, splitting teammates Graeme Smyth and Ryan Grant as he did so.
The long haul north from Wiinton in western Southand also proved worthwhile for Luca Burns, who enjoyed a best heat placing of 5th and ended up in 7th place for the round, just behind top Auckland teen Joshua Parkinson.
There was drama meanwhile in the combined KZ2 Masters/KZ4 classes however, as Aucklander Jason Lee was finally able to put together a class-winning run in the spec and therefore cost-controlled KZ4 class.
In doing so he also managed to win the combined (KZ4 & KZ2 Masters) class Pre-Final and Finals races outright.
Regan Hall, who so far this year has been the dominant figure in the KZ2 Masters class, won all but one KZ2 Masters class races at Te Puke and also claimed his third class round win in a row. However, a false step which saw him drop to 3rd in class (and 6th overall at the flag) gifted the KZ2 Masters class win in the Final to Kevan Storr.
In saying that Hall has now amassed a healthy 12-point lead (over Storr) and looks like remaining the class of the field this year.
As does Jason Lee in KZ4. Lee has showed race-winning pace since his move to the KZ4 class. At Te Puke though, it was a new-found consistency which earned him his first class round win of the season.
Not only did Lee win three of his four KZ4 class heat races, he also won both the Pre-Final and Final for an emphatic class round victory over former class title holder, Garry Cullum, and Taupo ace Nick Tombleson and Rnds1 & 2 winner Tony Walker, who tied for third place.
The win means that Lee also now leads the class series’ points standings – albeit by a single point – over Walker, Cullum and Tombleson.
Meanwhile in the Rotax Max Light series support class, heat wins by local ace Corey Green (Ht 1), eventual class round winner Clay Osborne (Hts 2 &3 ) and Auckland’s Ashton Grant, (Ht 4) left Hawke’s Bay’s Zac Stichbury wondering what might have been.
Heading into the meeting Stichbury shared the class series’ points lead with Osborne. And though he ended his weekend second only to Osborne in the class Final, he was pipped by Corey Green for second place in the class round point standings and as such lost his joint series lead spot to Osborne.
Finally, Auckland brothers Sebastian and Marco Manson made their marks, respectively, on the Rotax and Vortex engined Junior support classes at Te Puke.
The older of the two, Sebastian, won all but one of his races in a Junior Rotax field stacked with some of NZ’s best age group drivers and is now tied for the lead in the class series points standings with high profile young Pukekohe speedway and kart driver Emerson Vincent, who ended up third for the round behind Manson and Rnd 1 class winner Mitchell Sparrow from Tuakau.
Sebastian’s younger brother Marco, now has an 8-point lead in the series points standings in his class – Vortex Mini ROK – despite again being pipped at the post for the round win.
Last time it was by fellow Aucklander Maxim Kirwan, this time by hard driving young Hamilton ace Cole Turney.
After starting their weekends at opposite ends of the field (Manson winning the first heat and Turney finishing in P11) it was a case of ‘advantage Turney’ from that point on until the class Final when Manson was finally able to get – and stay – in front.
Not that it was enough to deny Turney the round win which he achieved by a single point from Manson with William Edmondson third and impressive local youngster Dylan Brangwynne, fourth,
2021 Giltrap Group ProKart Series Round 3 results plus series points and placings per class after Rnd 3of 5
Round – Mat Kinsman; 2. Daniel Bray; 3. Graeme Smyth; 4. Nathan Crang; 5. Ryan Grant; 6. Joshua Parkinson.
Series – 1. Mat Kinsman 266 points; 2 Graeme Smyth 262 points; 3. Josh Parkinson 256; 4. Nathan Crang 246; 5. Daniel Bugler 245; 6. Connor Wilson 238/.
Round – Regan Hall; 2. Kevan Storr; 3. David Malcolm; 4. Steve Brown; 5. Mark Elder; 6. Andrew Hunt.
Series – Regan Hall 276 points; 2. Kevan Storr 263; 3. David Malcolm 259; 4. Tim Loughran 249; 5=. Andrew Hunt & Jeremy Thornton 168.
Round – 1. Jason Lee; 2. Gary Cullum; 3.=. Nick Tombleson & Tony Walker; 5=. Clint Beaumont & Brendan Benadie.
Series – 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
Round – 1. Clay Osborne; 2. Corey Green; 3. Zac Stichbury; 4. Darren Walker; 5. George Sampson; 6. Ashton Grant.
Series – Clay Osborne 267 points; 2. Zac Stichbury 262; 3. Ashton Grant 253; 4. Darren Walker 244; 5. George Sampson 242; 6. Emily Robb 231.
125 cc Rotax Max Junior
Round – 1. Sebastian Manson; 2. Mitchell Sparrow; 3. Emerson Vincnetl 4. Jay Urwin; 5. Hayden Lines; 6. Kiahn Burt.
Series – 1=. Sebastian Manson & Emerson Vincent 260 points; 3. Jay Urwin 257; 4. Mitchell Sparrow 256; 5. Kiahn Burt 254; 6. Hayden Lines 248.
Vortex Mini ROK
Round – 1. Cole Turney; 2. Marco Manson; 3. Willliam Edmondson; 4. Dylan Brangwynne; 5. Miles Baker; 6. Riley Boswell
Series – Marco Manson 269 points; 2. Cole Turney 261; 3. Miles Baker 257; 4. Wiliam Edmondson 254; 5. Riley Boswell 253; 6. Carson Daly 244.
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: Apparelmaster 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