Karters in Rotorua for first Prokart & ROK Cup round

| Photographer Credit: Graham Hughes

Karters from all over New Zealand will be in Rotorua this weekend to contest the new Sulphur City Sprint meeting.

The meeting hosts the opening rounds of both the existing ProKart Series for senior KZ2 class drivers and the new ROK Cup New Zealand series for junior drivers and has attracted entries from as far south as Christchurch and as far north as Whangarei.

In the main KZ2 class, ProKart Series promotor Steve Brown expects something of a ‘changing of the guard’ this season as young guns like Aaron Wilson, Simeon Woolsey and Logan and Mitchell Brown step up. He says it will also be interesting to watch long-time Rotax class front-runner Rhys Tinney from Hamilton as he takes up the KZ2 challenge.

Aucklander Aaron Cunningham is also making the move – this time to the KZ2 Restricted class – while Brown tips Mark Lane as the driver to watch in the KZ2 Masters category as long time class standard bearer Tom Curran sits out early rounds of this year’s series as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

With prizes of an entry at the annual ROK Cup International Final in Italy for the series winner of the Vortex Mini ROK class, and a new Vortex Mini ROK engine for the winner of the Cadet ROK series there is also big interest in this year’s inaugural ROK Cup New Zealand series.

Like the 2016 ProKart Series, the ROK Cup NZ one will be fought out over four rounds at key kart meetings around the country.

The first is at the new Sulphur City Sprint meeting at Rotorua this year and the second is at the Giltrap Group-backed 2016 National Sprint Championship meeting at Hamilton over the Easter weekend.

To make it as fair as possible on families committing to contest all four, there is then a choice – you can either contest the annual Sunbelts meeting in Nelson and Blenheim on Saturday and Sunday June 04 & 05, or the stand-alone ‘championship’ round of the 2015/16 Bayley’s WPKA series in Taranaki on Sunday June 5.

There is then just over a month before the final ROK Cup NZ series round at KartSport New Zealand’s annual Schools’ Championship meeting at the New Zealand Schools’ Championship meeting in Taranaki over the July 16-17 weekend.

Coordinator Maurice Frost of New Zealand Vortex engine importer Supreme Kart Supplies says interest in both the Cadet ROK (6-11 yrs) and Vortex Mini ROK (9-13 yrs) grows by the day with any number of talented young karters capable of taking out a series title in either class.

“In Vortex Mini ROK,” he said this week, “you’d be looking at the likes of Jackson Rooney from Palmerston North, Clay Osborne from Hamilton and Thomas Boniface from New Plymouth, while in Cadet ROK I think Louis Sharp from Christchurch, Logan Manson from Levin and Liam Sceats from Auckland will be up there.”

This weekend’s Rotorua meeting marks the beginning of an busy national level season for New Zealand karters with the KartSport Manawatu club in Palmerston North hosting the opening two-rounds (double header-style) of the new-look Giltrap Group Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand at the annual Trans-Tasman meeting at Manawatu Toyota Raceway next weekend (February 20-21) and KartSport Wellington hosting the third round of the 2015/16 Bayley’s Wellington Provincial Karting Association (WPKA) Goldstar Series at Kaitoke’s Wynn’s Raceway on Sunday March 06.

There will be action on track at KartSport Rotorua’s track at Amoore Rd in the Mamaku hills west of the city on both days with tuning runs starting at 9.00am and heats on Saturday and Pre-Finals and Finals on Sunday.

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