Motorsport: Biggest kart event of year approaches

By Colin Smith


The Bay of Plenty Kart Club's Fagans Valley Raceway near Te Puke is hosting its biggest event of 2012 this weekend.

Competitors in the Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand and the ProKart Shifter Kart Series will be out in force chasing points on Sunday.

The six-round Rotax Challenge has already staged events at Palmerston North, Tokoroa and Hamilton as racers battle for the opportunity to represent New Zealand at the annual World Rotax Grand Finals.

This year's world event is at Portimao, in Portugal, between November 28 and December 1 - and New Zealand has four places reserved for the winners of the 125cc Rotax Max Light, Formula Junior and Masters (over-35) classes plus the runner-up in the Lights category.

Racing in the Rotax Lights class sees Auckland racer Daniel Kinsman leading the series from Daniel Connor and Matt Kinsman.

The Heavy Class (which includes the Masters contenders) is led by Hawke's Bay racer Zac Zaloum, from Aucklander Andrew Grant and Tauranga's Niki Urwin, who wants to secure his second appearance at the Rotax Finals.

The Formula Junior class is led by Christchurch driver Scott Manson, from Manawatu's Josh Drysdale and Jordon McDonald.

The ProKart series is headlined by the KZ2 category for rapid 125cc gearbox karts. Auckland racers Ryan Grant, Daniel Bray and Matt Kinsman lead the KZ2 point standings, with Grant having won both previous rounds at Wellington and Rotorua.

Bray arrives at Te Puke having raced at the SuperKarts USA Pro Tour Summer nationals meeting at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah last weekend.

There's also a KF3 class for junior drivers (12-17 years), in which Josh Drysdale holds the series lead over Jonathan Buxeda (Mt Wellington) and Mitchell Turner (Hawke's Bay).

A separate KZ2 Masters class sees Mark Lane narrowly in front of Tom Curran and Steve Brown.

The format for this weekend's racing begins with tuning runs and qualifying sessions from 1.15pm on Saturday, with racing from 9am on Sunday.

The 725-metre Fagans Valley track - located at Alley Rd near Te Puke - is being used in clockwise direction.

Carter joins racers

Papamoa's Rhys Carter will join the ranks of Kiwi motocross racers kicking up the dirt in Australia when he contests the final three rounds of the Australian MX Nationals starting on the weekend.

Carter, 22, will race in the Pro Lites category on a Suzuki RM-Z250.

He joins his flatmate and Suzuki team-mate Cody Cooper, series leader Josh Coppins and the likes of Michael Phillips (Rotorua), Justin McDonald (Christchurch), Scott Columb (Queenstown) and Kayne Lamont (Mangakino), who comprise the regular Kiwi presence in the 2012 Australian series.

"Cody's team manager has been good enough to lend me a fast bike, but I'll run my own deal out of a van rather than than get in their way," said Carter.

Carter's first outing is at Appin, NSW at the weekend, followed by the Moree, NSW, and Coolum, Queensland, rounds on August 19 and 26 respectively.

"It's a big step for me. I want to do well and get some good results," said Carter.

"Cody has given me some good advice on what to expect over there. Back in 2008 I raced at the Coolum track so I know that track should suit me - it's a sand track that's a bit like Whakatane."

Carter finished third in the New Zealand MX2 Championship earlier this year and his most recent competitive outing produced a third overall and class win at the Tarawera 100 endurance race.

"I came through Tarawera really well. My fitness was good and I felt good on the bike so I'm going to Australia feeling positive," he said.

The 10-round Australian MX Championship is proving an attractive target for top-line New Zealand racers.

"It's definitely a step up over there. It works good for the New Zealand riders who can live at home and fly back and forwards for the races, and it's a stepping stone between racing in New Zealand and then going somewhere like America," said Carter.

Carter's goal is to produce good results during his late-season Australian outings before chasing MX2 (250cc class) honours on the local scene over the summer and attempting to put together a full-time Australian campaign for 2013.

Trail-ride loop

Grand opening activities for the motorcycle area in the TECT All Terrain Park at Pyes Pa will be held on Sunday, August 5.

The Tauranga Motorcycle Club is running a trail ride using the first stage of the motorcycling area - a 7.5km loop of well-formed 3m-wide trail suitable for riders of all ability levels.

The TECT Park venue will be developed further to include motocross and ATV tracks and a Mototrials area.

The trail ride starts at 9.45am following sign-on from 8am, riders' briefing at 9am and an opening ceremony at 9.15am.

The event will cater for mini, junior and senior riders with sign-posted access from Whataroa Rd.

Four-round series

The Rotorua and Tokoroa Motorcycle Clubs have joined forces to run a four-round early season motocross series over the next four months.

Billed as the Central MX Series, it will offer racing for Senior, Junior, Vets, Women's and ATV at the Rotorua club's Horohoro track and the Tokoroa venue at Amisfield.

Round one is at Rotorua on August 5 with Tokoroa hosting round two on September 2. It's back to Rotorua for round three on October 7 with the final at Tokoroa on November 4.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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