Urban Smashes NZ Superkart Nationals

After two Covid-hit years on the sidelines, the speed and power of the big machines were back in action at the KartSport New Zealand National SuperKart Championships and Grand Prix at Manfeild.

The 250cc unlimited, 6 speed, 100bhp International machines produced some awesome racing, as did all other classes including KZ2, Rotax DD2, Rotax Heavy and Rotax Light.

Auckland’s Ryan Urban is not a five-time National SuperKart Champion by chance, and he showed that he has lost none of his ability with the two-year break from the national championship.

Ryan Urban heads to another NZ#1 (pic – Lara Currie Photography)

He took out major gearbox class International, winning all four heats and the Grand Prix for a clean sweep. Urban also registered the fastest times through the speed trap, with his best of 164.5km in his third race of the day.

The Auckland pair of Mason Armstrong and SuperKart boss, Tony Bowden were second and third respectively – also in the Nationals and the Grand Prix.

Urban did not stop there, completing overall honours in the non-gearbox category of Rotax Max Heavy, winning the first three heats and was second to Whangarei’s Shannon Noble in the final heat. Dropping his worst result, Urban finished with a perfect three points ahead of Noble in second and defending champion Aaron Tahu third.

He wrapped up a superb day with a win in the Grand Prix, and in doing so set the fastest speed of the day of 140kph ahead of Noble and Auckland’s Tahu.

It could not be closer in the KZ2 gearbox class where the Auckland duo of Mark Barnhill and Mitch Frazer won two heats each, and after dropping their worst result, they both had four points. Barnhill gained the national title on the tie rule, with two second placings. It was a significant result for Barnhill, following two punctures that set him back early in competition. While the points were close, so to was the racing with some very close finishes.


Barnhill also won the bragging rights, edging his way to the fastest speed of 152kph, which was just 1kph faster than his rival.

Mark Barnhill in action at Manfeild (pic – Lara Currie Photography)

Craig Rowe claimed the honours in Rotax DD2 with three heat wins and the current national champion was able to jettison his sixth placing in the third heat to finish with an unbeatable three points.

Hometown hero Ashley Higgins was in the top three in every race, finishing runner-up ahead of Tony King with the podium placings going down to the wire.

However, both Rowe and King failed to finish in the Grand Prix with the title going to Paul Burgoyne, second last in the Nationals, but producing an outstanding performance in the one-off Grand Prix. He edged out Daniel Mayall and Paul Burgoyne.

One of New Zealand’s most accomplished female racers, Rianna O’Meara Hunt was in superb form in the Rotax Light class. She was shuffled back to fifth in the opening heat but from that point she dominated, winning the remaining three heats to finish with the perfect three points. Mason Armstrong, another with a busy weekend racing in two classes, was second and Keegan Hickson third, and managing the day’s fastest speed of 143.9kph.

O’Meara Hunt also took out the Grand Prix ahead of Tyler Edney and Harry Townshend.

Organiser Tony Bowden said the closeness of the racing was a highlight with Rotax Light, DD2 and KZ2 classes separated by small margins.

“The number of new faces was so encouraging, the laughs, the heartache which is part of motorsport, was all part of it. The level of racing was as high as the level of camaraderie and friendship shown throughout the competition and made for a memorable return of the national championship for this class,” said Bowden.