Karters Jamie van den Berk (#88 main photo) from the Hawke’s Bay, and Zach Tucker from Christchurch, got their 2020 ROK Cup NZL series campaigns off to the best possible start at the opening round of this year’s series in Wellington on Sunday.
Not only did each win his class – van den Berk Vortex ROK DVS Senior, Tucker Cadet ROK – but the pair were the only two ROK Cup NZL series entrants, and with Open class competitor Riley Jack from Palmerston North, two of only three of the 136 drivers contesting the big WPKA Manawatu & TRC Toyota-sponsored 50th anniversary Goldstar Series meeting to win their class AND the single Grand Prix race they were eligible for at the end of the day
The meeting, organised and run by the KartSport Wellington club at its Gazley Motor Group Kart Raceway north-east of the Capital was one of – if not THE – biggest Goldstar meetings to be held at the track, an indication of both the popularity of both the WPKA Goldstar series and the Vortex engine-based ROK CUP NZL series classes, of which there are now four.
While Riley Jack was definitely the class of the Open field – winning four of his five heat races and the Senior Grand Prix race – and youngster Zach Tucker was certainly the driver to beat in the Cadet ROK class heats and Grand Prix, Jamie van den Berk had an altogether harder row to hoe in the Vortex ROK DVS Senior class where his eventual margin of victory was just two points over Palmerston North driver Arie Hutton and where in the Senior Grand Prix race his winning margin – again, over Hutton – was just over a second (1.075).
Van den Berk was, in fact, one of four drivers to win a heat race (1 & 4) with Heat 2 going to the country’s top female karter, Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington, Heat 3 to Jacob Cranston from Palmerston North and the final heat to Arie Hutton. If anything the pace is going to get even hotter at subsequent rounds of this year’s ROK Cup NZL series with a new class record entry at Wellington of 16 drivers.
Already included in that number are the likes of top Taranaki driver Brad Still (6th on Sunday) and multi-time former NZ Kart champion and recent Porsche Carrera Cup Asia title winner, Chris Van Der Drift (5th on Sunday), now back living, working – and karting – at home in Hamilton after almost two decades racing cars in Europe and Asia.
Other class winners at the second round of the 2019/20 Manawatu & TRC Toyota WPKA Goldstar series were;
- Vortex DVS ROK Junior – Liam Sceats (Auckland)
- Vortex Mini ROK- Blake Dowdall (Palmerston North)
- 125cc Rotax Max Light – Jackson Rooney (Palmerston North)
- 125cc Rotax Max Heavy – Adam Bell (Tauranga)
- 125cc Rotax Max Junior – Sebastian Manson (Auckland)
- ClubSport 120 – Stephen Muggeridge (Whakatane)
- ClubSport Briggs LO206 Light – Ian Smith (Wellington)
The full list of class Grand Prix race winners meanwhile, looked like this;
- Senior – Open – Riley Jack (Palmerston North)
- Senior – Rotax Max Light – Clay Osborne (Hamilton)
- Senior – Rotax Max Heavy – Marco Giltrap (Auckland)
- Senior – Vortex ROK DVS – Jamie van den Berk (Hawke’s Bay)
- ClubSport 120 – Neil Surtees (Whakatane)
- ClubSport Briggs LO206 Light – Ben Hibbs (Wellington)
- ClubSport Briggs LO206 Heavy – Corrie McGuigan (Wellington)
- 125cc Rotax Max Junior – Ryan Bell (Tauranga)
- Vortex ROK DVS Junior – Louis Sharp (Christchurch)
- Vortex Mini ROK – Arthur Broughan (Blenheim)
- Cadet ROK – Zach Tucker (Christchurch)
The second round of this year’s ROK Cup New Zealand series will be held in conjunction with the KartSport NZ National Sprint Championship meeting in Christchurch over the Easter weekend.
The KartSport Hawke’s Bay club, meanwhile, will host the third round of the 2019/20 WPKA Manawatu & TRC Toyota 60th anniversary Goldstar Series in May.
2020 ROK Cup NZL Series
Class points after Rnd 1
Vortex ROK DVS Senior
- Jamie van den Berk 50 points; 2. Arie Hutton 47; 3. Jacob Cranston 45; 4. Rianna O’Meara-Hunt 44; 5, Brad Still 43; 6. Tyler Edney 42; 7. Campbell Maclachlan 41.
Vortex ROK DVS Junior
- Liam Sceats 50 points; 2. Jacob Douglas 47; 3. Tom Bewley 45; 4. Ayrton Williams 44; 5. Hayden Bakkerus 43; 6. Mason Potter 42; 7. Lilly Rose Taylor 41; 8=. Bo Hill & Sebastian Manson 0
Vortex Mini ROK
- Blake Corin 50 points; 2. Izaak Fletcher 47; 3. Arthur Broughan 45; 4. Jacob Bellamy 44; 5. Mitchell Corin 43; 6. Lochiel McGregor 42; 7. Jakob Greig-Dickie 41
- Zach Tucker 50 points; 2. Jackson Culver 47; 3. William Edmonson 45; 4. Aryan Lala 44; 5. Grayson Stowe 43