Two of New Zealand’s current National sprint Champions competed at one of the biggest karting events in the World this past weekend when they lined up for the SKUSA SuperNationals in Las Vegas. The current New Zealand KZ2 Champion, Jay Urwin, raced in the premiere Pro Shifter Category, whilst the youngest of the categories, Micro Swift was contested by current New Zealand Cadet Rok Champion, Iver Spence.
The 26th running of the event was held outside the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on a fast temporary circuit which provided great racing and plenty of drama from the start of qualifying on Thursday, right through to the nine main events that made up Super Sunday. The famous event brings together some of the best in the word, to race on a new circuit layout each year formed from barriers on an unconventional car park surface.
With over 500 competitors the race format is unique as classes are split into two groups, half taking to the track in the morning and the other half racing in the afternoon, finishing up under lights.
Spence, 9, from Christchurch in his first appearance outside of Australasia, was part of the 47 Micro Swift competitors that raced in the AM session. The youngster’s confidence grew with his experience on the track each run. Qualifying his Team Parolin USA kart in P20 overall, he had two strong heats moving forward to finish 12th and 15th with a more challenging third heat seeing him coming home 26th. Iver would start the main event on Super Sunday in an impressive 13th grid position and continued to show improved pace and race craft moving up seven places to cross the line in 6th, just one place off the SKUSA podium.
New Zealand’s KZ2 Champion, Jay Urwin, took to the Las Vegas track in the afternoon sessions, often racing under lights and proved he has what it takes to not only compete with, but out qualify the current FIA World Number 1 and multiple SKUSA SuperNationals former Champions. At only 15 years of age this was Jay’s fifth SuperNationals event which itself is impressive and is a testament to the success of the talented young Kiwi. Racing under the guidance of the hugely successful PSL Karting outfit, Jay qualified an incredible 2nd in his group and 7th overall once the 70 strong field were combined and put into groups for their heats.
Jay’s heats started well with a 4th but after an engine failure in Heat 2 he needed a solid result in Heat 3 to make the main event. A 7th in his heat on Situation Saturday (its Official name) meant he made the main event but had a lot of work to do starting 23rd. His final drive of the weekend was impressive, moving up thirteen positions to finish within the top 10 of a hugely talented field, after one of the most hard fought and entertaining Pro Shifter races in the event’s history.
Both Urwin and Spence now travel back to New Zealand to prepare for the summer race calendar at home, with the latter jetting off later in the month to the Rotax Grand Finals held this year in Bahrain. Congratulations to both drivers, their teams and support crews for another successful and impressive showing on the international scene.