Defending class title holders Daniel Connor and Ryan Urban have enjoyed the best possible start to their 2016 seasons, claiming wins on both days at the first double-header round of this year’s Giltrap Group New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge meeting in Palmerston North over the weekend.
With each weekend hosting two points-carrying rounds, consistency and reliability are as important as speed. The two Aucklanders had both.
Connor qualified quickest in the Rotax Max Light class on Saturday and Sunday before winning both heats, the Pre-Final and Final on Saturday then coming back from second behind local young gun Dylan Drysdale in the first heat and Pre-Final to win the Final – from Drysdale and Rangiora’s Chris Cox – on Sunday.
He now has 181 points, six more than Drysdale and 16 more than young second-generation Auckland driver Kaleb Currie who finished third on Saturday and fourth on Sunday.
Urban, who last year claimed DD2 Masters class honours here and at the Rotax Max category’s Grand Finals meeting in Portugal, claimed a clean sweep of qualifying, heats, Pre Final and Final on Saturday but was pipped for pole in qualifying on Sunday by top female driver Tiffany Chittenden, a former UK Rotax series class winner and representative.
Urban came back to win Sunday’s DD2 Masters heats, Pre-Final and Final, but Chittenden was never far behind, claiming second place on both days, on Saturday from Wellington’s Karl Wilson – back in a sprint kart after several years racing Superkarts – and on Sunday from top local Callum Orr.
As a result of his two day wins, Urban heads to the next double-header round with 182 points, nine more than Chittenden and 15 more than Orr.
Lying seventh in the DD2 Master class after the first two rounds, meanwhile, is V8 Touring Car racer Tim Edgell who last raced a kart as a Junior.
Aucklander Mathew Kinsman, meanwhile, got the better of fellow former class winners and Grand Finals representatives Josh Hart and Daniel Bray in the DD2 class.
Kinsman made all the running on Saturday, qualifying quickest and beating Hart and either Bray, Dylan Drysdale or Mason Armstrong to the line in the heats, Pre-Final and Final. Bray got closer on the second day, leading home Hart and Kinsman in the heats, but Kinsman was back in front in the Pre-Final and Final, winning the former from Hart, Bray and Dylan Drysdale and the Final from Hart, Bray and Jacob Cranston.
With last year’s class winner and NZ rep Dylan Drysdale now a Senior – and with KartSport Manawatu club teammate Jacob Cranston running in both the Rotax Light and DD2 classes this season – Matthew Payne from Pukekohe assumed the role of driver to beat in the Rotax Junior class.
Though up against the cream of the country’s Junior karting talent, the teenager ended up with the only two-round clean sweep, qualifying quickest and winning each Junior class race on Saturday from top Wellington driver Ryan Wood, and again qualifying quickest and winning all four Junior races – the heats from Wood and the Pre-Final and Final from an impressive Madeline Stewart, Wood and Reece Hendl-Cox – on Sunday.
Rotax Max Heavy was in fact the only class with two different day (and therefore round) winners, Gold Coast-based Kiwi expat Lane Moore the dominant force on Saturday but having his charge blunted by engine problems on Sunday.
On Saturday Moore won the day from Aucklander Keith Wilkinson and Hamilton’s Campbell Joyes, but Sunday was all about Joyes the young Hamilton ace stepping up to qualify quickest, finish second to Moore in the first heat but win the second, the Pre-Final and the Final, the latter from Wilkinson, Daniel Bugler and former class front-runner Zach Zaloum from Hastings in his series return.
Just over 80 of the country’s top karters contested the new double-header Giltrap Group New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge series round at Palmerston North.
The third and fourth rounds will be held at the KartSport Rotorua International Raceway Mamaku, Rotorua over the April 23-24 weekend.
2016 Giltrap Group New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge Rnds 1 & 2 Manawatu Toyota Raceway Shirriffs Rd Palmertson North Sat-Sun Feb 20-21 2016
Results Round 1
Rotax Max Light
1. Daniel Connor; 2. Dylan Drysdale; 3. Kaleb Currie; 4. Jacob Cranston; 5. Ashleigh Stewart; 6. Caleb Huston; 7. Chris Cox
1. Mathew Kinsman; 2. Josh Hart; 3. Daniel Bray; 4. Dylan Drysdale; 5. Mason Armstrong; 6. Nicholas Carpenter
1. Ryan Urban; 2. Tiffany Chittenden; 3. Karl Wilson; 4. Callum Orr; 5. Stuart Marshall; 6. Aarron Cunningham; 7. Tim Edgell
Rotax Max Heavy
1. Lane Moore; 2. Keith Wilkinson; 3. Campbell Joyes; 4. Zach Zaloum; 5. Daniel Bugler; 6. Samuel Carpenter1
1. Matthew Payne; 2. Ryan Wood; 3. Sebastian Noble; 4. Reece Hendl-Cox; 5. Maddy Stewart; 6. Ashton Grant; 7. Kaleb Ngatoa; 8. Tomas Gasperak
Results Round 2
Rotax Max Light
1. Daniel Connor; 2. Dylan Drysdale; 3. Chris Cox; 4. Kaleb Currie; 5. Ashleigh Stewart; 6. Jacob Cranston; 7. Caleb Huston.
1. Mathew Kinsman; 2. Josh Hart; 3. Daniel Bray; 4. Jacob Cranston; 5. Dylan Drysdale; 6. Josh Drysdale
1. Ryan Urban. 2. Tiffany Chittenden; 3. Callum Orr; 4. Stuart Marshall; 5. Aarron Cunningham; 6. Tim Edgell
Rotax Max Heavy
1. Campbell Joyes; 2. Keith Wilkinson; 3. Daniel Bugler ; 4. Zach Zaloum; 5. Kevin Barker; 6. Teddy Bassick; 13.Lane Moore
1. Matthew Payne; 2. Maddy Stewart; 3. Ryan Wood; 4. Reece Hendl-Cox; 5. Jaden Ransley; 6. Rianna O’Meara-Hunt; 7. Joshua Parkinson; 8. Tomas Gasperak
Points after Rnd 2 of 8
Rotax Max Light
1. Daniel Connor 181 points; 2. Dylan Drysdale 175; 3. Kalen Currie 165; 4=. Jacob Cranston & Chris Cox 162; 6. Ashleigh Stewart 156.
1. Mat Kinsman 182 points; 2. Josh Hart 174; 3. Daniel Bray 167; 4. Dylan Drysdale 164; 5. James Blair 154; 6. Mason Armstrong 149.
1. Ryan Urban 182 points; 2. Tiffany Chittenden 173; 3. Callum Orr 167; 4. Stuart Marshall 161; 5. Karl Wilson 160; 6. Aarron Cunningham 157.
Rotax Max Heavy
1. Campbell Joyes 175 points; 2. Keith Wilkinson 174; 3. Daniel Bugler 162; 4. Zach Zaloum 160; 5. Lane Moore 155; 6. Kevin Barker 154.
1. Matthew Payne 182 points; 2. Ryan Wood 171; 3. Madeline Stewart 165; 4. Reece Hendl-Cox 161; 5. Rianna O’Meara-Hunt 150; 6. Sebastian Noble 149
Rnds 1 & 2: Sat- Sun Feb 20-21 Manawatu Toyota Raceway Palmerston North
Rnds 3 & 4: Sat-Sun April 23 & 24 KartSport Rotorua International Raceway Mamaku, Rotorua
Rnds 5 & 6 Sat-Sun August 20 & 21: Wynn’s Raceway Rimutaka Wellington
Rnds 7 & 8: Sat-Sun Sept 10 & 11 AgriSea Raceway Hamilton