This weekend’s KartSport New Zealand National Superkart Championship will see defending champions return to have a crack at retaining their titles in four of the five classes on offer. The event, set to be held at Manfeild in Feilding, will take place over two days this Saturday and Sunday.
Headlining the event will be seven-time NZ Superkart Champion Ryan Urban who will be looking to retain both titles he picked up in 2022, competing in the 250cc International class and the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class. He’ll face tough competition in the Rotax Heavy class with last year’s podium placegetters Shannon Noble and Aaron Tahu both entered, plus Australia’s Tyler Williams.
In the International class, Urban will be joined by a classy line up which includes last year’s third place finisher in Tony Bowden, plus Australian Jason Akermanis. Akermanis, hailing from the motorsport-mad riverside Victorian town of Mildura is a former runner-up finisher in the Australian Superkart Championship. He’ll be looking to repeat the feat of fellow Australian Jordan Ford who won the class in 2019.
The 125cc Rotax Max Light class will be led by Wellington’s Rianna O’Meara-Hunt who returns from competing in GT4 America to defend her title at Manfield. Fellow Wellington competitor Tyler Edney will offer tricky competition, coming off a strong year in Sprint karting which has seen him take second in the national Kartstars series.
In the gearbox KZ2 class, Auckland’s Mark Barnhill will aim to become just the second back-to-back champion in class history. He battled some tough luck with punctures last year and won the event on countback from Mitch Frazer who will also return for the challenge. Barnhill and Frazer both won a pair of heats in 2022 so this will be an exciting class to watch.
Rounding out the classes for this year’s event will be Rotax DD2, which is the only class not to feature the defending champion and is guaranteed to add another name to the history books. Racing will conclude with the annual Grand Prix events for gearbox and non-gearbox.
This year’s event also acts as events five and six of the 2024 Australian Superkart prize draw. Points from the NZ Championship will form round five, while the Grand Prix results will act as the final round. Competitors have battled through four previous rounds in the Rotax Max Light and Heavy classes, all fighting for a fully funded drive in the 2024 event. Tyler Edney leads the Rotax Max Light points, 56 points clear of Harry Townshend, while Shannon Noble is 59 points clear of Bryan Withers in Rotax Max Heavy.
Time trials will be underway from approximately 1:30pm on Saturday, with heats starting from 3:30 and continuing into Sunday.