Top Prokarters Make Light of ‘Relentless’ Rain at Te Puke
The country’s top KZ2 category karters made light of the heavy rain that washed over the Bay of Plenty over the weekend, with Jacob Cranston, Rhys Tinney and Aaron Wooley leading the charge at the fourth round of this years’ Molecule ProKart Series.
Cranston, from Palmerston North, was the big winner in the premiere Lascom Motorsport KZ2 class at the KartSport Bay of Plenty club’s Te Puke Auto Electric Raceway, sharing heat wins with fastest qualifier and class Top 10 Shootout winner Mathew Kinsman before wining the Pre-Final then leading the Final until he lost control in the streaming wet track conditions and crashed.
Fortunately for him the rain also played havoc with virtually all the other top drivers meaning that despite not finishing the Final Cranston had scored enough points in Saturday’s heat races and the Pre-Final on Sunday morning to claim the class round win from Final winner Rhys Tinney from Hamilton, Mat Kinsman, series returnees Ryan Grant and Graeme Smyth, and former Blenheim but now Auckland-based karter, Daniel Bugler.
Kinsman retained his series lead, but Tinney is now second from Daniel Bray, Cranston, Matt Payne and top female driver Madeline Stewart.
Series promotor Steve Brown again won his class (Lascom Motorsport KZ2 Masters) but down played his success, claiming that with the rain constant pretty much all weekend, qualifying quickest and starting from the front of the grid paid huge dividends.
‘Honestly,” he said. ‘It (the rain) was relentless. And if you could start – and stay – in front of the spray it was a big advantage.”
Brown certainly didn’t have it all his own way, with second quickest qualifier Nick Isaac winning the first heat and Kevan Storr the Pre-Final. Brown was back in front in the Final though, claiming the round win from Storr, Isaac and Andrew Hunt.
If one driver over the weekend deserves some sort of ‘rain man’ award (or even nick-name going forward) it would be Aaron Wooley from Hamilton. Despite the weather and track conditions Wooley was not only the quickest qualifier in the Lascom Motorsport KZ4 (nee KZ2 Restricted) class, he also won the class Top 10 Shootout, the two heats on Saturday and both the Pre-Final and class Final on Sunday.
Early season stand-out Regan Hall from Auckland continues to lead the class series’ standings but Wooley now shares second place (with just a round to go) with former class champ Garry Cullum from Auckland, and Jamie Pollock from Wellington.
Once their karts and gear is dry the focus of all the drivers contesting this year’s Molecule-backed ProKart series will turn to the final round, being hosted by the KartSport Hamilton club at its Speedworks Raceway opposite the city’s airport over the September 22-23 weekend.