The third round of the 2023 Ingham Driven Top Half Series got underway this past weekend at KartSport Auckland. Some impressive fields lined up for the two days of action, with some deserving winners and placegetters standing on the podium come Sunday.
For Cadet ROK, it was Toby Thompson who managed to withstand the pressure from a solid line up of 20 drivers to win the overall round. Though he missed out on any race wins, his consistency had him finish two points clear of Elliot Armstrong in second. Armstrong had a similar gap behind him, staying just in front of both Benji Bellamy and Nationals Schools Champion Dominic Evers who were tied on points for third and fourth. With one round to go, Charles Taylor holds just a two-point margin over Bellamy in series points.
Another big field awaited the competitors in Vortex Mini ROK, with 29 drivers facing the starter. It was a weekend to remember for Hamilton’s Braxton Kraayvanger, who won the round five points clear or Manawatu’s Jack Phillips. National Schools Champion Seth Comer would round out the podium ahead of Braden Watson who’s been in strong form of late. Comer still enjoys a 10-point lead in series points however, with Kraayvanger chasing.
The strength of Junior competition was on further display with the Rotax Junior class, where 30 drivers took their chance for a round win. Carrying on from his strong performance at the Nationals earlier this year, current New Zealand runner-up Jamie Thompson won by an impressive 12-point margin. Hamilton’s Miles Baker had to settle for second, with Harrison Xiao clinching the final podium spot. Thompson continues to lead the series, with Baker and South Island Champion Arthur Broughan in hot pursuit.
Twenty-two senior competitors lined up for Rotax Light but were met by an in-form Ryan Crombie who incredibly won four out of five races to take the round. A strong run for Ryan Bell was enough for him to secure second, with Cameron Hill and Taylor Payne tied for third on points. Crombie missed the first round of the series in Bay of Plenty so isn’t in the hunt for the overall title, with Bell leading the way from Ashton Phipps.
It was a big battle to decide the winner of the Rotax Heavy class, with Trent Ingham eventually getting the nod on countback from Darren Walker. The pair won every race between them, with three going to Ingham and two to Walker. Kartstars champion Aaron Tahu wrapped up third place with decent points gap back to Elliot Osborne. Walker still leads the series, with a sizeable gap back to Ingham and Tahu.
A smaller field of 10 lined up for eye-catching KZ2 gearbox class. Jason Lee showed his years of experience to win the round without a single race win. Nathan Crang managed to bring home second, leading two of the classes’ newest stars in Emerson Vincent and National Champion Jay Urwin. For lee, he’ll enter the final round of the series with a 22 point advantage over Oscar Jackson.
Rounding out the weekend’s action were the DD2 class which featured the smallest field of six drivers. Reigning New Zealand number two Ryan Bell completed a solid weekend, winning the class ahead of Darren Walker and Daniel Mayall.
Drivers will now set their focus on the final round of the Top Half Series in Rotorua over November 4th & 5th.