An absolutely dominant win in the premier KZ2 class at the penultimate round of the 2021 Giltrap Group ProKart Seres round at Tokoroa on Sunday August 15 has given ace Auckland driver Mat Kinsman a valuable points buffer ahead of the final round of this year’s series at Hamilton next month.
After an action-packed first three 2021 series rounds – at Hamilton in March, Rotorua in April and Te Puke in May – Kinsman headed to Tokoroa after the series took its traditional mid-winter break with just a four point buffer over second placed fellow Aucklander Graeme Smyth.
However, after claiming pole position with the only sub 34-second lap time of the KZ2 class qualifying session on Saturday morning the multi-time NZ Sprint class champion went on to run out an emphatic round victor, not only winning all four heats as well as both the Pre-Final and Final, but also setting the quickest race lap each time he ventured onto the track.
As a result he has now extended his series lead in the KZ2 class to 10 points over fellow former Pro Kart Series class winner Graeme Smyth who remains second overall and the first of the category’s young guns, Joshua Parkinson, who holds third place, 18 points adrift of Kinsman but only eight behind Smyth.
While it was Smyth who was consistently the closest to unseating Kinsman in the heats and Pre-Final, come the 24-lap Final on Sunday afternoon it was two of the category’s other young chargers – Nathan Crang from Auckland and Luca Burns from Invercargill – who shared the podium with Kinsman.
Crang also managed to split Kinsman and Smyth in the round points standings as well, also making it a stand-out weekend for the talented Auckland teen and his mentor, former world-ranked KZ2 class specialist Daniel Bray, who finished fourth for the round.
Also enjoying the challenge of their debut drives in the very different 6-speed gearbox/front disc brake-equipped KZ2 karts at Tokoroa were former 125cc Rotax Max Light support class front-runners, Clay Osborne from Hamilton who finished the round in 10th place overall) and the country’s top female karter, Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington, who finished 15th.
Another driver to enjoy a ‘perfect’ weekend behind the wheel at Tokoroa was the absolute stand-out in the 125cc Rotax Max Light support class, Zac Stichbury from Havelock North in Hawke’s Bay.
Like Kinsman Stichbury qualified on pole before going on to win all four of his class heat races as well as both the Pre-Final and Final – all in race record time.
Season-long KZ2 Masters class points leader Regan Hall from Auckland was unfortunate, meanwhile not to join Kinsman and Stichbury in the perfect weekend stakes, a sticking throttle in the Pre-Final putting paid to that possibility and – worse still – forcing him to start the Final from where he finished the Pre-Final, P7.
Despite that Hall managed to work his way back up to the front of the KZ2 Masters class by the 15th lap of the 24-lap Final to again claim class victory – this time over series points runner-up Kevan Storr, ProKart Series promotor Steve Brown, and Dave Malcolm.
In the spec and cost-controlled KZ4 class run concurrently Aucklander Jason Lee finally managed to turn the tables on early season class points leader Tony Walker from Hamilton, winning all four of the class heats as well as the Pre-Final and the Final to leap frog class round runner-up Walker and take a five-point lead in the KZ4 class series points standings to the Hamilton final next month.
The other driver to break a points deadlock at Tokoroa, meanwhile, was Emerson Vincent from Pukekohe. Heading into the Tokoroa round, Vincent and Sebastian Manson (Auckland) were tied for the series points lead of the 125cc Rotax Max Junior category.
Despite intense competition from top local driver Jay Urwin (who qualified quickest then won the first heat race from Vincent), current class North Island title-holder Tom Bewley from Havelock North, Kiahn Burt from Marton, and Manson) it was Vincent who stepped up, making the round his with wins in all three subsequent heats as well as the Pre-Final (albeit by a margin of just 0.099 of a second after Manson had actually caught, passed and led the race for a couple of laps towards the end) and the Final to win the day and eke out a three point buffer over Manson heading to the series final.
Once again some of best racing over the weekend, came – however – in the Vortex Mini ROK class, eventually won by Marco Manson, younger brother of Sebastian, who now has a 13 point buffer in the class series’ points standings.
In theory qualifying on pole should have given Manson an advantage, however it took the determined young Aucklander until the fourth and final heat on Sunday morning to press it home.
That he was always a factor in the three heat races on Saturday can never be doubted. Manson, in fact, led 11 of the 13 laps of the first race before being passed for the lead on the last lap by Rnd 3 class winner Cole Turney.
The young Aucklander then led 12 of the 14 laps of the second class heat race before again being caught and passed for the lead on the final lap; this time by one of the other quick youngsters from Hamilton who make up a leading pack in the Vortex Mini ROK class at the moment, Carson Daly.
After an even more intense three-way battle Cole Turney also won the third heat race – from Carson Daly, Manson and Miles Baker (Hamilton).
Manson got some of his own back in the fourth heat (on Sunday morning), however, by following Cole Turney around for 13 of the 14 laps then nipping past on the last lap for his first race win of the weekend.
The second (win) came soon after when, in the Pre-Final, Manson had to work his way back up to the front after being shuffled back to P4 on the first lap, then only just managed to hold out a fast finishing Carson Daly (main picture) at the line (the difference between the two an amazing 0.088 of a second).
Manson – as the results show- ended up winning the round (thanks to finishing every race he started in either first, second or third place) however if there was a prize at the round for ‘never giving up’ it would have to go to the winner of the Vortex Mini ROK Final…Carson Daly.
Showing amazing patience Daly tucked in behind pole sitter and early race leader Marco Manson from lap 4 until the very last of the Final’s 24 -when he put another winning pass on the long-time race leader, the margin this time an even tighter 0.067 of a second!
2021 Giltrap Group ProKart Series Results after Rnd 3 of 5.
1/ Mat Kinsman; 2. Nathan Crang; 3. Graeme Smyth; 4. Daniel Bray; 5. Joshua Parkinson; 6. Luca Burns.
1/ Mat Kinsman 358 points; 2 Graeme Smyth 348; 3. Joshua Parkinson 340; 4. Nathan Crang 334; 5. Daniel Bugler 321; 6. Declyn Goffin 318.
1/ Regan Hall; 2. Kevan Storr; 3. Steve Brown; 4. Dave Malcolm; 5. Tim Loughran; 6. Andrew Hunt.
1/ Regan Hall 367 points; 2. Kevan Storr 351; 3. David Malcolm 344; 4. Tim Loughran 333; 5. Andrew Hunt 251; 6. Jeremy Thornton 250.
1/ Jason Lee; 2. Tony Walker; 3. Garry Cullum; 4. Nick Tombleson; 5. Clint Beaumont; 6. Shawn O’Hara.
1/ Jason Lee 360 points; 2. Tony Walker 355 points; 3. Garry Cullum 347; 4. Nick Tombleson 342; 5. Gerhard Benadie 328; 6. Brendan Benadie 327.
125cc Rotax Max Light
1/ Zac Stichbury; 2. Ashton Grant; 3. Emily Robb; 4. George Sampson; 5. Roman Harker-Ferguson; 6. Josh Richmond.
1/ Zac Stichbury 354 points; 2. Ashton Grant 341; 3. George Sampson 327; 4. Emily Robb 317; 5. Clay Osborne 267 points; 6. Josh Richmond 254.
125 cc Rotax Max Junior
1/ Emerson Vincent; 2. Sebastian Manson; 3. Tom Bewley; 4. Kiahn Burt; 5. Mitchell Sparrow; 6. Mitchell Corin.
1/ Emerson Vincent 351 points; 2. Sebastian Manson 348; 3. Mitchell Sparrow 340; 4. Kiahn Burt 339; 5. Hayden Lines 330; 6. Blake Corin 324
Vortex Mini ROK
1/ Marco Manson; 2. Carson Daley; 3. Cole Turney; 4. Riley Boswell, 5. Miles Baker; 6. William Edmondson.
1/ Marco Manson 360 points; 2. Cole Turney 347; 3. Miles Baker 341; 4. Riley Boswell 338; 5. William Edmondson 337; 6. Carson Daly 333.