Experienced Auckland-based karting international Daniel Bray is doing double duty at the 19th annual Superkarts USA SuperNationals meeting at Las Vegas in the United States this week and weekend, contesting both the KZ2 and S1 Stock Moto classes.
Fresh from representing New Zealand at this year’s Rotax Max Challenge Grand Final meeting in Portugal last weekend, Bray, 28, is one of only six drivers contesting the double across the two premier Senior classes.
“It’s going to be busy, but fun too,” the Aucklander said while in transit from Portugal and the United States. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Bray is driving for Italian manufacturer GP Karts’ Mexican distributor’s works team.
He is the most experienced of the four Kiwi karters competing at what is generally regarded as ‘the biggest international kart race meeting in the world’ with over 500 entries, and as a former winner (in 2011) of the SuperKarts USA S1 Stock Moto championship title, Bray is rated as one of the drivers to watch in both classes.
Competition amongst the 40-strong entry list in both classes is strong, however, with Bray expecting 2014 class winner and 2015 KZ class world championship runner-up, Italian Paolo de Conto, and last year’s S1 Stock Moto class winner, 23-year-old Brit Jordan Lennox-Lamb, to be amongst the drivers to beat.
Like Bray, Lennox-Lamb is also contesting both KZ2 and S1 Stock Moto classes. In the latter the favourite is the current Fikse Wheels Pro Tour S1 class points leader, Rick Dreezen, but if anything, the depth of competition in this class is even greater than KZ2, with the appearance of five-time CIK-FIA World Karting Champion (and winner of the recent Race of Stars meeting on Australia’s Gold Coast) Italian Davide Fore.
Matthew Hamilton is the dark horse of the S1 Stock Moto class, the Team Aluminos driver having qualified quickest in his group and won two heats before being punted out of the Final at last year’s meeting.
He has also been flying back and forth to contest S1 class races in the US this year, winning last time out on the Streets of Lancaster, as well as claiming the S4 Masters title on debut at the Las Vegas meeting in 2013.
Fellow Christchurch driver Tiffany Chittenden made her Las Vegas debut last year and ended up with the best finish of the four-strong Kiwi contingent with an 18th place finish in the S4 Masters class Final.
This year she is back with the California-based Team Aluminos opertaion as the only female in a 59-strong field which includes former class winners Gian Cavaciuti, Jimmy O’Neill and Darren Elliott as well as top former Australian karting international Michael Patrizi.
Dunedin youngster Joshua Bethune, meanwhile, is one of 69 drivers vieing for the TaG Junior title at the meeting.
Bethune won the Rotax Junior title at the recent South Island Sprint Kart title meeting in Blenheim and is part of a strong international contingent which includes drivers from Great Britain, France, Italy, the Czech Republic and Brazil and Peru.
Bethune has also competed at this event previously in the Vortex Mini ROK class.
This year the SuperNationals event is being held on a new 1340 metre long temporary car park track, this time at the Las Vegas Convention Centre.