New generation rises to take on established stars
Established Kiwi kart star Mat Kinsman wrapped up another Aarque Group KZ2 class title with a second win in as many meetings at the final round of this year’s Toyota Racing ProKart Series in conjunction with Speedworks at Hamilton on Sunday.
Though Kinsman qualified quickest and won one of the four heats plus the Pre-Final, his biggest threat on the day came not from fellow class veterans Daniel Bray or Ryan Grant but from a new-generation of teenagers, led by 15-year-old Ryan Wood from Wellington.
Reigning NZ#1 in the Rotax DD2 class, and a veteran himself now of several years crossing the Tasman to compete against Australia’s best, Wood set the third quickest qualifying time on Saturday before winning the third and fourth heats then driving through the field from P15 to 2nd behind fellow teen Connor Davison in the Final.
Though he now harbours serious ambitions in cars, Davison obviously still has a serious soft spot for karts because after qualifying 7th quickest, then 8th place finishes in the first two heat races the local ace just got better and better, launching his winning run in the Aarque Group KZ2 class Final after a P3 finish in the Pre-Final.
Davison and Wood were by no means the only members of the class’s new-generation to shine in the wet, greasy conditions either. Young Palmerston North driver Riley Jack enjoyed his best finish of the weekend in the Aarque Group KZ2 class Final, finishing 5th.
Eighth place in the Final, meanwhile, was enough to earn another 15-year-old, Josh Parkinson from Auckland, 5th place for the round and 4th place in the overall series’ points standings, giving him victory in the series’ class Youth (Under 17-years) division from fellow Aucklander Sam Wright, and Brandon Lambert from Mangakino.
For his part Wright won the Allan Wilson Memorial Trophy (for the most improved under-17-year-old), and with it a trip - with the class category winners (see pic) to next month’s big KZ2 category-based Race of Stars meeting on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Fourth place for the round – between Connor Davison and Josh Parkinson – was still good enough, however, for one of the other established class stars, Graeme Smyth to slot into 2nd place behind Mat Kinsman and in front of Daniel Bray in the series’ points standings.
In the other Aarque Group KZ2 classes, Jared MacKenzie was back to his best in the Masters division, claiming his 5th round win out of 6 with the quickest qualifying lap, three heats wins out of the four and wins again in both the Pre-Final and Final.
Eventual round and series class runner-up Kevan Storr followed MacKenzie home in the first 3 heats and won the 4th, but was beaten in both the Pre-Final and Final by MacKenzie and fellow Aucklander Andrew Hunt.
Early season pace-setter and now 2019 class champion, Regan Hall, was beaten to round victory for the second time this year by former class title winner Garry Cullum in Aarque Group KZ4. However the two-point deficit hardly made a dint in Hall’s series-winning points tally, the final margin 8 points (over Cullum) with third placed Aaron Wooley from Hamilton a further 21 points back.
In the Rotax Max support classes there was a fifth winner – Auckland’s Josh Richmond - out of six rounds in Giltrap Group Rotax Max Light. A heat win and 4th place in the Final was enough for the winner of the class at Rnds 4 & 5, Ashton Grant to take the series title, however, from Hamilton Final winner Marco Giltrap, and Shaun Johnston.
Ashton Grant’s younger brother Dylan claimed his second round win of the season in Giltrap Group Rotax Max Junior, though it was not enough to topple Rotorua ace Riley Spargo, 3rd place for the round behind Grant and fellow Aucklander Nathan Crang enough to seal the series’ title for Spargo, from Grant, Crang, Luke Thompson, and Levin’s Logan Manson.
just leaves the Manawatu Toyota-backed Rotax Max Heavy
class, run and won after a third round win by Tauranga’s
Darren Walker from round and series runner-up Henry Gelb.
Third for the round was another Auckland driver, Aaron Tahu
though 4th place on the day was enough for Rnds 1 & 4
winner, Ashley Higgins from Palmerston North to retain 3rd
place in the series’ point standings.