Competition is hotting up for overall honours after the penultimate round of the Giltrap Group Top Half series.
The recent deluge forced a change from the Bay of Plenty track at Fagan’s Valley, Te Puke to the Porter Group Raceway in Hamilton for the third round involving more than 140 karters in eight categories.
Well-known Auckland karter Graeme Smyth returned to his favourite track, managing the wet conditions best to top the honours in KZ2 by just two points in a close battle with multi-national champion Mat Kinsman. Smyth won three heats with two second placings, including the final to finish on 248 points, two ahead of Kinsman who had two wins including the final and three other podiums.
It proved a trifecta for Auckland drivers with Jason Lee third overall with three podiums to take a slender two-point lead overall in the series over Hamilton’s Mitchell Sparrow with one round remaining.
Senna Wilkinson enjoyed three wins – including the final – and a third placing in the Cadet ROK class to finish top on countback on the same points as fellow Auckland club karter Charles Taylor, who enjoyed a super-consistent day with five podiums including a win. The pair finished on 244 points, just four ahead of third placed Jayden Buttimore, who is second overall in the series five points behind Wilkinson.
Hamilton’s Emerson Vincent led the way in the competitive Rotax Junior class, that attracted 33 starters. Vincent claimed a win and two second placings to finish on 238 points, just one ahead of Auckland’s Mathew Johnston who enjoyed a win and two podiums, with Auckland’s Ashton Phipps third on the back of two podiums.
Tokoroa club rider Jay Urwin had two wins and two podiums, but a DQ in the third heat dented his chances. Vincent has a 23-point lead in the series from Phipps, with Urwin a further five points back in third.
Urwin showed his colours on a busy day by dominating in no uncertain manner in DVS Junior, winning all five races including the finals to extend his lead in the series to 33 points. Phills, also racing double classes, was second with three podiums from Daniel McMillen.
Vortex Mini ROK attracted 33 starters in a tight battle where Hawkes Bay peddler Grayson Stowe prevailed despite claiming only one podium but proving the most consistent. Hometown star Miles Baker claimed three wins but limped home at the back of the field in the opener to finish third on the day just behind fellow Waikato competitor Braxton Kraayvanger. Baker has a significant lead in the series over Stowe and Auckland’s Lucas Bell.
The Rotax Max Light saw a tight battle with Hamilton’s Corey Green with two wins and two second edge out Auckland’s Ryan Crombie by three points. Crombie did enjoy three wins and a second and has a healthy 33-point advantage in the series.
The Rotax Heavy class is shaping up as a real battle for overall series honours with Darren Walker (Tokoroa club) winning four of the five races including the final. But last place in heat three saw him take overall honours on countback after finishing on the same points as BOP’s Taylor Harte with Auckland’s Aaron Tahu just one point back. Tahu has a slender two-point advantage going into the final round from Walker.
There was also little wriggle room for Walker in DD2 racing, with a win and three other podiums giving him round points, just two ahead of Hamilton’s Tony Walker, who claimed two seconds and three third placings. Darren takes just three points into the final round from Tony Walker.
The final rounds will be staged at Tokoroa (12-13 November).