Prokart Series results go down to the wire again at Hamilton this weekend

Each year New Zealand’s KZ2-based Toyota Racing ProKart Series in conjunction with Speedworks pits a new breed of ambitious young karters against an established group of internationally-rated category regulars in a no-hold-barred battle to the top spot in one of three Aarque Group-sponsored classes.

Each year, over multiple rounds stretching from Palmerston North to Auckland, and in every possible track condition, from baking hot in late summer to freezing cold rain showers in the depth of winter, the drivers battle for every position and point – yet every year, come the final round, the results almost always goes down to the wire.

Jared MacKenzie (#73) leads the Aarque Group KZ2 Masters class

“It’s just the way it is,” says series promotor Steve Brown. “Where once we might have only had – say – 2 or 3 drivers capable of running at the front in a KZ2 race, now you might have 10 or 11. Add in some of the top Aussie up-and-comers who now come here to get race-fit for their various series and races over there and the top-15 in Araque Group KZ2 can be running around within just tenths of a second of each other.

“If they are consistent with it – which they are – they’re all scoring a similar amount of points at each round, so come the final there could well be single figure differences from 1st or 2nd right through to 10th,11th,12th, even 15th.”

True-to-form, heading into this year’s series finale at the KartSport Hamilton club’s Porter Group Park kart track opposite the city’s international airport this weekend, just 32 points separate defending Aarque Group KZ2 class title holder Matt Kinsman – and current points leader – Matt Kinsman from sixth placed Josh Parkinson, who – at just 18 years of age – is the best placed of the next generation of drivers.

Kinsman (main picture), aged 28, has spent the best part of this year’s Pro Kart Series fighting a pitched battle for the series points lead with fellow series regular Daniel Bray, 32. Heading into the penultimate round at Tokoroa last month, in fact, the pair were tied at the top of the points table. Bray had a round to forget, however, and is now 8 points back in second place with series returnee Graeme Smyth just 2 points further back in third place, setting the scene for a fascinating weekend of racing at Hamilton.

Aucklander Regan Hall (# 93) leads the Aarque Group KZ4 class

The points leaders’ advantages in the other two Aarque Group KZ2 classes, KZ2 Masters, and KZ4, are a little more clear-cut, though neither Masters class leader Jared MacKenzie, or his KZ4 class counterpart, Regan Hall, can rest on their laurels.

It is particularly close in the Masters category from P2 or P4, with current class points runner-up Kevan Storr 21 points adrift of MacKenzie but just two points ahead of Andrew Hunt who currently lies third.

Just 10 points, meanwhile, separate Aarque Group KZ4 series’ points leader Regan Hall from original class title holder and pace setter Garry Cullum who is second, with only another 16 back to Jason Gunn in third.

Ashton Grant (#27) is on top in the Giltrap Group 125cc Rotax Max Light class

Finally, Auckland ace Ashton Grant leads the series’ points standings in the Giltrap Group-backed 125cc Rotax Max Light class, Rotorua driver Riley Spargo leads Grant’s younger brother Dylan in Giltrap Group Rotax Max Junior – and Darren Walker is the exception that proves the rule, looking set to take home the Manawatu Toyota-backed Rotax Max Heavy class title, thanks to the 57-point advantage he has amassed after a dominant season over second-placed Henry Gelb.

There will be action on Hamilton track on both days over the weekend, with qualifying and the first class heats on Saturday and the final heats, Pre-Finals and Finals on Sunday.

Aarque Group KZ2

Points after Rnd 5 of 6

  1. Mat Kinsman 444 points; 2. Daniel Bray 436; 3. Graeme Smyth 434; 4. Ryan Grant 416; 5. Rhys Tinney 414; 6. Josh Parkinson 412.

Aarque Group KZ2 Masters

Points after Rnd 5 of 6

  1. Jared MacKenzie 457 points; 2. Kevan Storr 436; 3. Andrew Hunt 432; 4. Jason Gunn 419; 5. David Malcolm 261; 6. Tim Loughran 256.

Aarque Group KZ4

Points after Rnd 5 of 6

  1. Regan Hall 455 points; 2. Garry Cullum 445; 3. Aaron Wooley 429; 4. Shaun Curran 419; 5. Brendan Benadie 405; 6. Gerhard Benadie 381.

Giltrap Group 125cc Rotax Max Light

Points after Rnd 5 of 6

  1. Ashton Grant 440 points; 2. Marco Giltrap 422; 3. Shaun Johnston 406; 4. Ian Smith 331; 5. Ryan Crombie 266; 6. Fynn Osborne 263.

Manawatu Toyota 125cc Rotax Max Heavy

Points after Rnd 5 of 6

  1. Darren Walker 447 points; 2. Henry Gelb 390; 3. Ashley Higgins 358; 4. Brendon Hart 342; 5. Simon van der Drift 331; 6. Craig Holmwood 327.

Giltrap Group  125cc Rotax Max Junior

Points after Rnd 5 of 6

  1. Riley Spargo 445 points; 2. Dylan Grant 429; 3. Nathan Crang 415; 4. Luke Thompson 410; 5. Gemma Winters 409; 6. Hayden Bakkerus 407.

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