The last day of winter and the first day of spring saw KartSport Southland and KartSport Dunedin host the final two rounds of the 2013 Mainland Series in conjunction with their annual Southern Series.  The weather forecast at the beginning of the week had not looked too good but as time progressed it looked more and more settled and all competitors, spectators, crews and officials  were treated to a weekend of unseasonably mild and sunny conditions.  Both clubs, as usual, were fantastic hosts and welcomed all who had travelled to take part with their usual warm welcome and great hospitality.

With Day 1 in Invercargill and Day 2 in Dunedin 64 competitors across 7 classes hit the track bright and early both days to take part in 4Mainlandcadets13.jpg predetermined grids and a fifth heat gridded according to finishing positions in the 4 heats each day.  The cadet class saw young KartSport Marlborough driver William Exton take the honours on both days with  Dunedin driver Josh Bethune finishing both days a close second and Jack Martinac also from Dunedin in third.  Exton’s start to the series wasn’t what he’d hoped with a 5th in round 1 and a 6th in round 2 but Marlborough was the turning point for him when he took his first round win.  The final results for the series saw just one point separating the top spots with Josh Bethune winning on 140 points with William Exton on 2nd (139 points), Kailen Beattie 3rd and Marissa Ahfeld 4th.

The Junior Restricted class was a very closely contested class with KartSport Canterbury rivals (but good friends) Lewis Ball, Jaden Ransley and Reuben Adams heading the pack with Jarod Fisher from KartSport Nelson.  Throughout day 1 Adams and Fisher traded wins leaving everything to play for in the final which was taken out by Adams.  Ransley finished a creditable 3rd from Ball in 4th who despite being under the weather, decided to race to defend his 2012 Mainland Series title. Cadet-JR Boysmainland13.jpg Day 2 took on a similar pattern although Fisher had the upper hand slightly with Adams slipping to 4th in one heat to give Ransley a heat win early on.  Adams managed to get on top of his set up by heat 4 but for him it was too late to win the day, that accolade went to Fisher by 1 point.  Over all for the series Fisher took top honours on 133 points with Ball 2nd  (132), Adams 3rd and Ransley in 4th place.

After the cancellation of the Junior Yamaha class at the Sunbelts meeting it was great to see them back on the track for the weekend.  Off the back of his recent victory at the 2013 National Schools Championship Ryan McPherson was in fine form and won both days with 9 race wins out of 10.  William Reith was the only other heat winner and finished second to McPherson for the weekend. This result was duplicated in the series with McPherson in 1st and Reith in 2nd.

Numbers were stronger than at previous rounds in the Senior Yamaha Light Class in the far South where the class is still strong and well supported.  Local driver Jamie Conroy took top honours on day 1 with Vaughan Marshall winning the second day, lone Mainland Series driver Blair Hall finishing a creditable 4th   on both days and took out top honours for the series.

Throughout the series the Rotax Max Light class has been the best supported with as many as 20 taking part at some of the rounds.cox mainland.jpg  KartSport Canterbury’s Chris Cox has been the man to beat since the Memorial Meeting in Christchurch and went into round 4 with maximum points from the previous 3 rounds.  Once again he was the class of the field on both days and took out the top spot from KartSport Dunedin’s Josh King in second.  Dunedin local Aaron Black took third place on his home track on day 2 after finishing 8th in Invercargill.  Fellow Christchurch driver and the competitor lying 2nd in the Mainland Series points, Timothy Smith finished day 1 in 6th and day 2 in 4th.  Anyone thinking that it is a series based on attendance and not competition would be sadly mistaken looking at this class, although some of the South Islands’ fastest and most experienced Rotax drivers had chosen not to take part in all five rounds of the series Cox competed against 35 of the South Island’s finest at all of the local rounds, Christchurch saw him take the round win from multiple national title holder James Penrose,  Nelson and Blenheim saw him defeat last years’ Rotax Max Challenge Junior winner Scott Manson and the Southern rounds have seen him having to do battle on the track with local fast chargers Josh King from Dunedin and TRS drivers Damon and Brendon Leitch in Invercargill.  With all rounds having been contested under the predetermined grid format being able to finish on maximum points has taken some doing.  Overall results for the series saw Cox the winner on maximum points (148) with Timothy Smith 2nd, Dean Sutherland 3rd, Cameron Hay 4th, Andrew Errington 5th and Duncan Cummings 6th.

The Rotax Heavy class was also well supported with quite a few new faces putting in an appearance for the Southern rounds.  Stephen Keast took the top spot from George Keast in second and Series contender Jarred Cleghorn getting his best result of the series in 3rd.  Series leader Andy Downs managed to stay on top and take out the title with a 5th on day 1 and a 4th on day 2.  Mark Ahlfeld used his local knowledge to clinch victory in Dunedin and move to second overall for the Mainland Series with Jarred Cleghorn taking the final spot on the podium from 4th place Martin Marshall, 5th Gary Cleghorn (the senior driver in the father/son ‘Team Cleghorn’) and Antony Duthie in 6th.

Over the course of 6 months in excess of 130 competitors competed at 5 tracks at three ‘stand alone’ series’ for 7 Mainland Series Titles.  The series was sponsored by three generous, supportive sponsors in The Town Ball Restaurant and Bar, Elevate Bar and Function Room and Mainland Karting

Captions: Marissa Ahfeld #14 leading Joshua Bethune #32 in Cadet. Cadet and JRs with trophies (From left to right Jarod Fisher, William Exton, Jaden Ransley, Reuben Adams, Josh Bethune),  Chris Cox #12 won Rotax Max Light.


Release & Pics from Lynda Cox









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