More than 100 karters flocked to the top of the South Island to drop the flag on the six-stop Mainland Series last weekend.
The series began with the Sunbelts Sprint Championship over two days, split between KartSport Nelson in Redwood Valley on Saturday before moving over the Whangamoa Saddle to the second day at KartSport Marlborough’s base in Blenheim on Sunday.
After five heats in Nelson, Robbie Batt from Southland led the way in Vortex Mini ROK with three wins to be one point ahead of Jack McGrath from Dunedin, who enjoyed two wins and two second placings.
While Batt won the first of the final three heats in Blenheim, it was the more consistent drives from McGrath than proved the difference, taking out the overall class with 21 points with Batt just two points behind in equal second placing with Canterbury’s Henry Fisher. Fellow Canterbury karter Jackson Culver found his touch in Blenheim winning the final two heats and the final.
Christchurch’s Thomas Emmerson enjoyed a win and two podiums to gain the day one lead in Rotax Max Heavy with an eight-point advantage to Marlborough’s Kevin Barker and Dunedin’s Arron Black. With three different winners in the remaining heats in Blenheim on Sunday, it was Emmerson’s victory in the final that gave him the overall category lead by just two points from Barker with Black third.
The Briggs LO206 Junior was dominated by Marlborough’s Arthur Broughan with four wins from five heats in Nelson, followed by a clean sweep on his home track on Sunday to claim the overall honours comfortably from clubmates William Ruffell and Maxxus Blick.
Current national sprint champion in the 125cc Rotax Max Light, Blenheim’s William Exton dominated the class over the weekend. He had a handy lead after the first day in Nelson from the Canterbury pair of William McDonald and Myles Findlay. On his home track on day two, Exton collected two wins from three and victory in the final to finish clear of McDonald and Findlay.
In the Open class, Hamilton visitor Daniel Bugler was in a class of his own over the weekend to win comfortably from Blake Knowles and Hamish Carpenter, both from Christchurch.
Invercargill’s Nixon Cripps was locked in a tight battle with Canterbury’s Iver Spence in the Cadet ROK class. Cripps, with four wins on day one, took a five-point lead into the second day where Spence closed the margin to just two behind the Southlander with Blenheim’s Will Finch third.
The Rotax Max Junior proved a close battle from a competitive group of karters, with Nelson’s Ollie Workman showing the benefits of home-track advantage to take a five-point lead in the second day with two wins.
It was a different story in Blenheim on day two, with Workman’s lead whittled away by Dunedin’s James Black to end tied with Workman on 30 points, four clear of Blenheim’s Arthur Broughan. Workman won the final and the title on a countback.
Scott McLaren (Canterbury) was one point clear of fellow Briggs L0206 Light karter Tony Dyer (Nelson) after day one. Despite heading over the hill from his home track, Dyer found his form on day two in Blenheim, winning all three heats and the final to claim the category win seven points clear of McLaren with Myles Findlay third.
Taylor Forbes had a very consist weekend to take out the Briggs LO206 Heavy title finishing four points ahead of Chris Harris with Mat McConway a further three points back in third.
The next two rounds of the Mainland Series will be the two day Garden City Champs in Christchurch on 24-25 September with the series concluded with the Southern Series at Invercargill and Dunedin on 19-20 November.