Lawson Shines as Youngsters Impress

Red Bull Junior race driver, Liam Lawson gave a glimpse of his stunning skills on way to victory on a soaked circuit in the City of Sails karting event in Auckland at the weekend.

The City of Sails meeting, sponsored by Spa Pool & Maintenance, proved challenging for the outstanding crew at KartSport Auckland who managed the wet conditions at the Giltrap Group track during the two-day event that attracted nearly 200 karters from throughout the country.

Red Bull Junior driver Liam Lawson in spectacular winning form in KZ2 class (pic – Emilee Jane Photography)

It also doubled as the first of five rounds in the national KartStars Series, which is proudly sponsored by Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy.

Lawson was back home for the summer before heading back to his European base, as well as a new venture to compete in the Super Formula Series in Japan. He is always keen to return to his karting roots, and flexed his muscles to claim two wins including the final in the KZ2 class.

He was third in the opening two heats behind three-time City of Sails KZ2 winner Graeme Smyth and last year’s winner Daniel Bray, both from the local club. Lawson forced his way to the front in a massively entertaining and aggressive pre-final in the wet on Sunday and dominated the final off the front to top the points.

Lawson will also contest the second round of the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy KartStars Series at the CIK Trophy of New Zealand Meeting in Hamilton in two weeks.

At the other end of the spectrum was another outstanding performance for the hugely promising, two-time New Zealand Champion 12-year-old Zach Tucker from Christchurch.

Tucker powered his Aluminous kart to three wins, including the pre-final and final of the Vortex Mini ROK category, although was pushed all the way in the decider by his Canterbury clubmate Henry Fisher.

Young Christchurch karter Zach Tucker on the way to dominating Vortex Mini Rok at the City of Sails (pic – Emilee Jane Photography)

Home track karter Ryan Crombie, a four-time class winner at the City of Sails, successfully defended his Rotax Max Light category with four wins from four starts and cleared out to dominate the final in the tough conditions.


There was an eye-catcher from talented Wellingtonian 20-year-old Rianna O’Meara-Hunt who enjoyed two thirds and two fourth placings, as she prepares for an exciting 2023 season where she will compete in the Pirelli GT4 American series in USA.

Another young Cantabrian to venture north with success was Christchurch‘s Iver Spence, 10, who won three out of four races in the Cadet ROK class. He dominated in wet conditions to take the final and an early lead in the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy KartStars series.

Others who stamped their mark included Josh Bethune and fellow Tokoroa clubmate Darren Walker.

Bethune, who competed in the Rotax Grand Final in Portugal late last year, enjoyed three wins, including the final, and a second placing in DD2 category, while Walker bagged both heat wins and the final in Rotax Max Heavy class, finishing second behind Auckland’s Aaron Tahu in the Pre-Final.

The class was combined with ROK DVS Senior where last year’s CIK Trophy winner Ayrton Williams (Auckland) enjoyed four podiums including a narrow win in the final to edge international motor racing driver and coach Chris van der Drift (Hamilton) by just a single point.

Auckland’s Raymond Mallin enjoyed a consistent competition with four podiums in Vortex ROK DVS Junior class to claim overall City of Sails honours with the pre-final and final won by clubmate Jamie Thompson, who was second overall last year.

Mallin had a busy weekend, doubling up with success in Rotax Max Junior category, where he won Saturday’s opening heat and was third in the final.

The City of Sails class honours for the class went to Auckland’s double North Island champion Ashton Phipps. He won the pre-final and final to edge his way to a mere one point advantage over super-consistent national champion Kiahn Burt (Manawatu), who had four podiums including a heat win.

The second of the five rounds of the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy KartStars Series heads for the high-stakes CIK Trophy Meeting at the exciting Porter Group Park in Hamilton on 11/12 February.

  • full results on speedhive HERE