Rotax meeting kicks off big fortnight overseas for Kiwi Karters

The 16th annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting at Portimao in Portugal this week kicks off a big fortnight overseas for eight Kiwi karters.

Auckland drivers Daniel Bray, Daniel Connor and Ryan Urban, and Fraser Hart and Dylan Drysdale from Palmerston North, are flying the New Zealand flag at the Grand Finals meeting this week and weekend. Then next week and weekend Bray, and South Island trio Matthew Hamilton, Tiffany Chittenden and Joshua Bethune will line up at the 19th annual SuperKarts USA (SKUSA) Supernationals meeting at Las Vegas in the United States.

This year’s Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting has attracted 288 drivers from 50 countries with competition spread over four classes, DD2, DD2 Masters, Rotax Max and Junior Max.

New Zealand has been represented at all 15 previous Challenge events and has a strong record with a second in the Rotax Max class in 2010 in Italy for Palmerston North driver Josh Hart and thirds for Christchurch’s Matt Hamilton in DD2 in Italy in 2010 and Wanganui’s Earl Bamber in Junior Max at Lanzarote in 2004.

This year Daniel Connor will compete in Rotax Max, Daniel Bray DD2, Ryan Urban and Fraser Hart DD2 Masters, and Dylan Drysdale Rotax Junior.

Last year, at the 15th annual Grand Challenge meeting held in Spain Tiffany Chittenden was the top Kiwi (as well as top female) finisher, with sixth in the DD2 Masters class.

Multi-time New Zealand champion, Ryan Urban from Auckland, ended up 11th in the same class (DD2 Masters), while Palmerston North driver Dylan Drysdale finished 19th in Junior.

The other three from New Zealand – brothers Mathew and Daniel Kinsman, and Aarron Cunningham, all from Auckland – were eliminated before the Finals in their respective classes.

Practice at the Rotax meeting began yesterday (Tuesday) with qualifying today (Wednesday), heat races running through Thursday and Friday and Pre-Finals and Finals on Saturday.

In a particularly busy two weeks, Bray will fly out of Portugal next Sunday bound for Las Vegas in the United States where he will be running in the main international class, KZ2.

Hamilton, who won the S4 Stock Moto class at the same meeting two years ago, and who left for the US on Monday to test ahead of the Las Vegas meeting, will run in the top SKUSA class, S1 Stock Moto, while fellow Christchurch driver Chittenden will take his place in S4 (Masters) Stock Moto.

Bethune, from Dunedin, will contest the Iame Junior class.

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