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The countdown has begun for one of the biggest fortnights on the international KartSport calendar for some of New Zealand's top karters with four competing at the 14th annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Final in New Orleans this week and eight taking on the 17th annual SuperKarts USA (SKUSA) SuperNationals event in Las Vegas the week after.13GoProSprintNAtsprevDanielKinsmanleadsMathewKinsmanandDanielConnorRotaxLights-1.jpg


Date-wise the two events have always been close but this is the first year the annual Rotax event - which this year has drawn 365 class winners from 60 regional or national Challenge series around the world - has joined the 600+ entries SKUSA one in the United States.  


New Zealand will be represented at the Rotax event at New Orleans' Nola Motorsports Park kart track by brothers Mathew and Daniel Kinsman (who finished first and second in the 125cc Rotax Light class in the 2013 New Zealand Challenge) and Stuart Marshall (Masters winner) from Auckland, and Marcus Armstrong (Junior) from Christchurch.


Joining SKUSA series' regular Daniel Bray - the 2011 US champion in the premier S1 class - at the SuperNationals meeting on a converted car park circuit in downtown Las Vegas, meanwhile, will be Matt Hamilton and Marcus Armstrong from Christchurch, Mark Sweetman from Te Puke and Warren Parris, Snow Mooney, Jordan Morris and Logan Brown from Auckland.13RotaxMaxChallengeR6AuckMarcusArmstronglr-1.jpg


New Zealand has been sending a team to the annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Final since the first one in Puerto Rico in 2000 with a best result of second in the premier 125cc Rotax Max Light class to Palmerston North-based international Josh Hart in 2010.


Christchurch driver Matthew Hamilton and kart-turned-car star Earl Bamber have also done well with third place finishes (in the DD2 class for Hamilton) in 2009 and (in the Junior class for Bamber) in 2004.


According to the Kinsman brothers (who were also selected for last year's Grand Final but with 20-year-old Daniel contesting the Rotax Light class and 22-year-old Mathew DD2) this year's Grand Final is all about unfinished business.


"Last year," says Daniel,"I went there confident but really struggled in qualifying and that put us on the back foot all weekend. This year the DD2 (which uses the same Rotax engine as the other Senior classes but has a two-speed transmission and front brakes) will be a new challenge but I think my goals are realistic. Ultimately, obviously, I'd like a podium, but I'd be very happy with a top five and not too disappointed with a top ten."


Mathew, meanwhile, gets to step up from DD2 to the premier Rotax Light class this time around and reckons recent experience across the Tasman will stand him in good stead.


"I think I have definitely progressed as a driver this year so the capability, if you like, is there."


With the two events so close it was inevitable that at least one of the drivers would do both and that driver is Christchurch 13-year-old Marcus Armstrong. This year will be the second that Armstrong, the son of Christchurch car dealer and top Porsche GT3 Cup racer Rick Armstrong, has competed at the SKUSA SuperNationals event, and having shown the speed he did on debut last year (starting the final from seventh spot on the grid), and this year on his way to winning the Junior Rotax class in the New Zealand Challenge, he will be one of the drivers to watch in the Junior Shifter S5 class.13SummerNatsColoradoR1DanielBrayfinishline-1.jpg


With a race win at the big SummerNationals meeting in Colorado in July, Auckland-based international Daniel Bray is the Kiwi with the greatest chance of success at the meeting, with the 26-year-old still capable of claiming his second SKUSA series win if he gets a good result at Las Vegas.


Finally, three of the other seven Kiwis contesting the Las Vegas meeting are already winners; Jordan Morris, Warren Parris and Logan Brown having won trips to compete at the event valued at over $6,000 each as part of a promotion for the 2012 Formula 125S KartSport Pro Kart series.


Representing New Zealand at this year's Rotax Max Challenge Grand Final meeting in New Orleans are Mathew (#31) and Daniel (#30) Kinsman from Auckland and Marcus Armstrong (#9) from Christchurch. Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes. While one of the favourites in the premier S1 class at the SKUSA SuperNationals meeting in Las Vegas a week later is Daniel Bray (#3) Photo credit: Fast Company/Todd McCall.


Prepared by FAST COMPANY on behalf of KartSport New Zealand. To find out more about KartSport in New Zealand contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail on

For Live Timing and Video from the Rotax Grand Finals CLICK HERE

For Results from SKUSA SuperNationals CLICK HERE

For Live Timing from SKUSA SuperNationals CLICK HERE

For Live Commentary from SKUSA SuperNationals CLICK HERE















KartSport New Zealand