The karters contesting the Top Gear Top Half Series this year still have plenty to race for at the final round at the KartSport Bay of Plenty’s Visi Line Raceway near Te Puke on Sunday.
“Definitely,” says series president Roger Smith. “Numbers are expected to be up again in the 120+ range, there is still $23,000 worth of prizes and trophies to give away this weekend and all classes are going to go down to the wire, so anything could happen.”
This weekend the format is slightly different with only four heat races followed by the Duffett Door Summer Sprint Races.
Visi Line Raceway (KartSport Bay of Plenty) is hosting the final round and its 735 metre track, surrounded by farmland in a valley behind Te Puke, never disappoints driver or spectator alike, allowing for multiple passing opportunities and close racing.
TCB Motorsport sponsored Cadet Rok will see sixteen youngsters all aiming to secure the round win alongside finishing on the podium for the 2019 Top Gear Top Half Series.
Newly crowned North Island Champion Maxim Kirwan (Auckland) (main piture) will be looking to secure his second Top Half Series title, after becoming the youngest ever to win a class title at the Top Half Series in 2018. Kirwan currently has a seven-point buffer over Aucklander Marco Manson. Velcoe Karting driver from Hamilton Carson Daly who was one to watch at the recent North Islands, currently sits in third position from Cole Turney and Riley Boswell.
Following a recent success at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals event in Italy, Sebastian Manson will be the one to beat in the Supreme Kart Supplies Vortex Mini ROK class where his current lead is 17 points over CRG driver Ashton Phipps. Phipps has a comfortable gap of 20 points back to his third place competitors in the series, Ethan Church, followed by recent Micro Max class title winner at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting in Italy, Jay Urwin, who is fourth.
One to watch this weekend in the Vortex Mini ROK class, meanwhile, will be Auckland driver Alex Rose who showed his improvement over the year by qualifying on pole at the North Island Championships meeting at Giltrap Group Raceway over Labour Weekend.
International Kart Supplies Junior Rotax will see the triumphant return of Hamilton’s Clay Osborne after he won the Junior Rotax class final and title at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting in Italy late last month. Not surprisingly he currently leads the Top Gear Top Half series’ points standings with a healthy 35 point buffer over Aucklander Dylan Grant, from Hayden Bakkerus. Junior Rotax is once again going to be one of the biggest classes this weekend at Te Puke.
Urban Performance Rotax Max Light will be a class to watch this weekend with Clay Osborne’s older brother Fynn Osborne also showing his dominance throughout the series by going into the final round with a 33 point lead over Rotorua driver Bradley Hewson, from Ashton Grant and female competitor Gemma Winter. Winters will be on home soil this weekend therefore she will be hard to beat on track.
MG Tyres sponsored Rotax Max Heavy once again sees a strong field turn out for the final round, with 18 drivers confirmed already. Youngster Adam Bell leads the field over long time competitor Caleb Hartley. Darren Walker currently sits in third place for the series, and, as another driver who will be competing at his home track, he will be hoping it plays to his advantage.
Still talking local drivers and Tauranga ace Sam Waddell currently leads the Right Karts Rotax DD2 field from recent North Island title winner Jason Lee. Lee will be hoping for another strong weekend off the back of his win, but Waddell will certainly put up a fight for the overall series’ title.
Auckland driver Graeme Smyth looks to hold off 16-year-old Sam Wright for the Spartan 4 Toyota KZ2 class series’ win this weekend, but with only 10 points between the two the top step is still available. Kevan Storr (Auckland) is currently tied on points with Tauranga driver Felix Hume for third place.
Finally, WRB Karting Supplies ClubSport 120 will for sure put on some tight racing this weekend with Shannon Noble currently leading long time series’ winner Stephen Muggeridge by just a few points. The battle will be on for third place for the series as well with just five points separating Cliff Walsh, Carl Brennan, Graham Knight and Bryan Withers.