Stars of KZ2 Class Set to Shine in Hamilton
KARTSPORT NEW ZEALAND
For immediate release
* 2008 CIK Trophy of New Zealand Meeting
presented by Karcher
RV Wholesale Supplies Raceway
Stars of KZ2 Class Set to Shine in Hamilton this Weekend
The world-ranked stars of New Zealand's KZ2 category are set to shine at KartSport New Zealand's annual CIK trophy of New Zealand presented by Karcher meeting at Hamilton this weekend.
Ryan Grant, Jason Lee, Daniel Bray each featured at the 11th annual SKUSA SuperNationals meeting in Las Vegas late last year, and the trio meet for the first time since at the Hamilton Kart Club's RV Wholesale Supplies Raceway on Friday.
At the CIK Trophy meeting last year it was Grant who claimed KZ2 honours from Lee and Hamilton's Dan Smith, but as Grant found out in Las Vegas - where he was forced out of the final with a flat rear tyre while in a safe second place - anything can happen.
Lee and Bray had remarkably similar experiences at Las Vegas, both impressing early only to get caught out by incidents.
Bray set the second quickest qualifying time and won the first heat and was closing in on the second placed compatriot Grant when a broken bolt in his kart's steering column slowed and eventually stopped him.
Lee also qualified second quickest and won the first heat in his class, S3, but after a brilliant fight back from an early incident he was eventually forced out of the final - when he was in third place - by a puncture.
Fortunately, punctures should be the last thing on the minds of the trio at Hamilton this weekend, the Hamilton track one of the smoothest and fastest KartSport circuits in the country.
What they will have to look out for is the competition, set to come from fast-rising young Aucklander Graeme Smyth, SuperKart racer Ryan Urban and 2007 New Zealand and North Island KZ2 champion Niklaus Kiser.
The annual CIK Trophy event is one of New Zealand's most prestigious being the only truly international event on the local calendar.
As such it attracts the cream of New Zealand's karting talent, plus some of the top drivers from across the Tasman. Increasingly, drivers who have graduated to motor racing classes return, and this year is no exception.
Heading the entry list in the Formula 100 class is defending champion Mitch Cunningham, younger brother of former class trophy winner Wade Cunningham.
Mitch followed Wade to cars in 2007, completing a season in FF2000 in the United States before returning home to contest the Toyota Racing Series.
Wade won the 100cc class at the CIK Trophy meeting in 2001, 2003 and again in 2006, and Mitch won it in 2007.
Competition for Mitch this year is expected to come from two-class 2007 North Island champion Karl Wilson from Wellington, 2007 Rotax Max Challenge winner Paul Cameron and veteran Phil Watkins.
In the Junior Intercontinental A (JICA) class interest will focus on the performance of 2007 Rotax Max Challenge representative and Grand Final standout William Bamber from Wanganui, and the Blomqvist brothers Tom and Paul, the pair the Auckland-residing sons of former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist.
The main CIK Trophy of New Zealand presented by Karcher classes (F100, KZ2 and JICA) will be supported by five Challenge Cup classes covering all age groups. The 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class has attracted a 20-strong field including reigning North Island champion Phillip Saunders from Hamilton, 2007 Grand Final representative Josh Hart, the third member of the karting Cunningham family, Aarron, plus Wellington's Nick Rodgers.
Josh Hart and Karl Wilson are also entered in the 100cc Yamaha Light class alongside kart-and-car racers Andrew Waite, currently one of the front-runners in the MTA New Zealand Formula Ford championship, and Mathew Wooding, one of the best performing rookies in this season's MTA championship. They will be challenged by several young guns recently moved up from the Junior ranks including David Meszaros and Mathew Kinsman.
The Junior classes are equally well supported with 20 entries in Junior 100cc Yamaha (including those of North Island champion Nick Cassidy and South Island counterpart Chris Cox), 22 in Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha and 16 in Cadet.
The CIK title events will be run under the international meeting format which means two Time Trials to establish the grid for the Heats, three Heats per class of 12 laps, a Pre-Final of 21 laps and a winner-takes-all Final of 28 laps.
The Challenge Trophy classes will also follow the CIK format but with heats of eight laps, Pre-Finals of 12 and a Final of 18 laps.
There will be practice at the track on Thursday and Friday, Time Trials and Heats on Saturday and the third Heat plus Pre-Finals and Finals on Sunday.