Success in the final round of KartSport New Zealand’s KartStars Series in Rotorua this weekend could be life-changing for the winners.
The fifth and final round of the series, sponsored by Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy, has attracted over 150 karters to the Sulphur City Grand Finale at the Century Batteries International Raceway near Rotorua.
Winners will be in for a share of more than $50,000 worth of prizes including opportunities for experience at the Hampton Downs NZ Racing Academy, and potential pathway to a professional driving future.
Additionally, the event is the final round of the 2023 ROK Cup with overall winners of the Vortex Mini ROK, ROK DVS Junior, ROK DVS Senior receiving $2000 plus entry to the 2023 ROK Cup Superfinal in Italy including entry fee, OTK kart, engine, race tyres, pit space, accommodation/meals for driver plus custom OMP race suit from Racer Products.
There are additional Wild Card entries spots available for Expert ROK category driver overall winner in the Cadet ROK class will receive a new Vortex Kiwi Mini ROK engine.
Christchurch nine-year-old Iver Spence comes in as the leader in both competitions for Cadet ROK, with a narrow advantage over Wellington’s Levi Trotter and Manawatu’s Benji Bellamy.
Vortex Mini ROK, which has attracted 24 starters, is led by the exciting Canterbury 12-year-old, Zach Tucker who has won all four rounds to date, but will find strong competition led by clubmate Henry Fisher, with Grayson Stowe (Hawkes Bay) and Seth Comer (Manawatu) tied in third place.
Vortex ROK DVS Junior is a close competition with Tauranga’s Blake Corin holding a narrow lead over Auckland’s Raymond Mallin in Kartstars, with the pair locked equal in the ROK Cup, with Canterbury’s Izaak Fletcher poised close behind.
There is real interest with 25 karters in the Rotax Junior class where Mallin is locked in another close battle, with the same points as national champion Kiahn Burt from Palmerston North, who claimed the WPKA Goldstar series two weeks ago. The well-performed Marco Manson (Auckland) is within reach in third.
The Vortex ROK DVS Senior is led by Tokoroa’s Mason Armstrong narrowly from Canterbury’s Dylan Jessop and Hawkes Bay’s James van den Berk.
There is a mouth-watering field in the elite KZ2 class where the outstanding Nathan Crang (Mt Wellington) leads by just one point from his N-Zed Motorsport coach Daniel Bray, with Hamilton’s Mitchell Sparrow only four points back.
To spice things up, 10-time national champion Mat Kinsman, who is focussing on his karting supplies business this season, has been lured back with he and Bray with a stack of national and internationals success to their credit.
Watch out for well-regarded Australian Jay Murray while 14-year-old Matamata student Jay Urwin has been thoroughly impressive and supremely quick. He has been invited into the crack BirelArt team and is mixing his year racing in New Zealand, the Australian national series as well as the American karting national series.
In other categories, Canterbury karters have been in stunning form in several raids in the north this year, with South Island champion Caleb Cross forging a tidy lead in the Rotax Max Light class from Wellington’s Tyler Edney with Auckland’s Aaron Tahu holding a handy advantage in Rotax Max Heavy.
Dunedin’s Josh Bethune, with considerable international experience, has the lead in the Rotax DD2 class narrowly from Tokoroa’s consistent Darren Walker and Auckland’s Daniel Mayall.
There is testing on Friday, with qualifying and heats from 10am on Saturday and the completion of heats, pre-final and final from 9am on Sunday.