Brothers Josh and Dylan Drysdale ended up the best of a seven-strong bunch of Kiwi karters at the fifth round of Australia’s Rotax Pro Tour at Sydney’s Eastern Creek International Kart Raceway over the weekend.
It turned out to be the best round so far for the older of the two, Josh, 19, who capped off his strongest showing so far in the DD2 class with a second in the Final to Jason Richards Cup winner Jason Pringle.
Younger brother Dylan, 15, also had a standout weekend, qualifying second in the Junior Max class then going on to win two of his three heats, before finishing third in both the Pre-Final and Final.
Finishing just off the podium in the Junior Trophy class, meanwhile was 12-year-old Pukekohe driver Matthew Payne.
With Eastern Creek the home track of his main rivals in the class Payne knew he would have his work cut out. However after qualifying eighth fastest he got progressively quicker as the weekend went on.
He finished sixth in the first heat and fifth in the third before improving to fourth (from seventh on the grid) in the Pre-Final and getting as high as second in the Final before dropping to seventh then recovering to fourth – and almost making it third on the line.
Aucklander Aarron Cunningham was another to enjoy one of his best series’ rounds to date in the DD2 Masters class, qualifying seventh and claiming third, fourth and eighth place finishes in his heats before a seventh in the Pre-Final and fifth in the Final.
For Wellington’s Stewart sisters, Ashleigh and Madeline, it was another frustrating weekend, however, both ending up rueing the lack of testing in the wake of wet conditions on Friday and a track still slippery for the heats on Saturday.
“Most of the people we were racing against had been there testing and we really felt the impact of our lack of ability to test prior, more than anywhere else we’ve been,” said their father Tony.
Madeline, running in the Junior Max class, qualified 28th but only had one heat in which she wasn’t held up or crashed into (12th in Heat 3) and ended up 31st in the Pre Final and 33rd in the Final.
After qualifying 33rd in Rotax Light Ashleigh claimed two 23rds and a 28th place in the heats and was up to 23rd in the Pre-Final when she was punted off the track and out of the race, officially finishing 35th.
That was her starting position for the Final from which she made it up to 25th place at the flag.
The other Kiwi competing at the meeting, Palmerton North driver Kaleb Ngatoa, started well, qualifying 12th in the Junior Max class and claiming two sixths and an eleventh in the heats. However he was back in 20th at the end of the Pre-Final and ended up classified 36th after failing to finish the final.
The Eastern Creek event also hosted the annual Jason Richards Memorial Cup presented in honour of expat Kiwi V8 Supercar driver and former kart champ Jason Richards.
Two awards were presented, with top Australian driver Jason Pringle winning the Jason Richards Cup for winning the DD2 class Final, and Albury’s Jack Richardson earning the Jason Richards Memorial Award for the driver with ‘a hard-charging attitude with the ability to win, never gives up and is fiercely determined.”
The Sydney round of the 2015 Rotax Pro Tour was the fifth of six with the final series round at the Puckapunyal track in inland Victoria over the August 22-23 weekend. There is then a stand-alone Grand Final meeting at Ipswich in Queensland in early October.