Cuthbert Makes it Four from Four

The 4th round of the SuperKart series was held at Manfeild on the 7th of June.  The weather forecast was a bit up and down but apart from a bit of drizzle in the first race, the remainder of the day was clear.  superkartscuthbert.jpg

As is historically the case, entries for the southern most event on the calendar were a little lower than organisers would like to see.  With the series returning to Manfeild on the 2nd of August, those competitors who have used up their ‘throw away’ round will need to front up to gather much needed points with only 2 rounds remaining in this years series.

A number of drivers owned their classes at Manfield. The 250cc National class was dealt to by current 3NZ Sean Cuthbert from Wellington with wins in all 4 races and some pretty sharp lap times to boot.  Cuthbert bagged a bunch of series points and will be in the hunt for sure if he keeps performing like that come the end of the series.  

Current national champion Tony Gestro was up the sharp end early on as always but threw a chain in race one and then decided tosuperkartbalexander.jpg test the melting point of aluminium and subsequently seized his engine in race two.  That’s the second round in a row that he’s failed to bag points after a water pump failure at Hampton Downs so he’ll be looking to rectify the mechanical issues he’s having at the moment.    

Mike Simmonds broke his chassis after an excursion into the kitty litter on the outside of Dunlop corner but was showing good pace in his 2nd meeting in the big boy class after stepping up from rotax light.  New comer Steve Crook had a blast in Tony Gestro’s 2nd kart and had a very tidy day for a first timer.  He had a “shocking” time in race 3 when his spark plug lead came off and decided the easiest path to earth was via his arm.  His smile was evident all day long though and if I were a betting man, I’d put a lazy fiver on Steve becoming a regular starter in the class in the near future.  

Chris Simmonds showed good pace and consistency which has eluded him previously to take 2nd place for the roundsuperkartjosborne.jpg despite running out of talent at the hairpin and parking up for a cup of tea with the marshalls.  This class will be one to watch in the remaining rounds with Gestro and Cuthbert within a stones throw of one another in the points.  The final two rounds are critical which makes for great racing and is what a series should be like.

Julian Osborne showed that it was no fluke he did well at Hampton Downs in the 125cc National class.  Another recent graduate from the Rotax class he has adapted well to the gearbox class and would have come away with a round win if he hadn’t been marginally underweight after race one which cost him a DQ for that race.  Osborne crossed the line in first position in 3 of the 4 races ahead of Cameron Dance.  Dance had no answer as Osborne continually found a way past through the infield.  

Peter Dicks was leading the points coming in to this round, he couldn’t match the pace of the front runners but is still in a healthy position in the points table.  Two solid rounds to finish should see a great series result coming his way.  Brent Murgatroyd is waving the DD2 banner and showed they are quite fast with good battles all day long with David Cox in a KZ2.  Murgatroyd is also well placed in the series and could sneak up onto the podium if things go his way.

Well, it sounds like a cracked record but who can deny that Brad Alexander has dominated the Rotax Max Heavy class in recent years.  His consistency and race craft are second to none and he just punches out win after win.  The current national champion is at the top of his game and looks to be cementing his place on top of the podium yet again in the series.  Ricky Lang and Teddy Bassick finished the round neck and neck for 2nd place with some very close finishes.

Bassick has his nose in front of Lang at this stage if you look at the points table and deduct the dropped round so it’s all onsuperkartKinsman and boyde.jpg between the two in the final rounds.  Taranaki’s Greg Robinson showed some excellent pace as he put the pressure on the front runners.  Fellow Taranaki racer, Garth Lacey struggled all day with the tuning of the new Rotax EVO engine package but will be back to press his claims in later rounds.

The Rotax Max Light class was really good to watch with the usual neck and neck finishes common place.  The round win went to Tony Kinsman with a clean sweep from a close following current 3NZ Logan Boyde.  Both of these guys are top pedlars so setup is the key to getting the important corner entry / exit just right.  There’s not a lot in it and Boyde has the series lead at the moment but Kinsman made some good gains on Boyde.  It won’t take long for these guys to find the sweet spot in the new EVO engines so the remaining rounds will be interesting.  

Last years series winner, Charlotte Oram from Wellington was performing well again but a couple of indiscretions onto the green stuff didn’t help her out.  The quality of this class has stepped up this year and she’s having to work harder than she did for results last year which is testament to the other drivers.  Jason Butterworth continues to impress with solid results, he’s sitting 2nd in the series points and is matching the pace of the front guys.  It won’t be long until he’ll be claiming race wins and really pushing his counterparts.  

In the mid-pack, Mark Ongley, Mike Anderson, Todd Jolly, Ron Alexander, Sean Heffernan and Brent Gordon all had similar lap times, Ongley travelled a long way to attend the meeting and was having to beg / borrow a brake disc and carrier to see him through the day when his axle slipped and destroyed his ones.  Luckily, superkarters are good guys and he was given the parts he required so he could continue racing.

All in all, a great days racing was had by the majority and the atmosphere was friendly and jovial as usual.  We look forward to round 5 of the series, back at Manfield on the 2nd of August.

CAPTIONS:  S Cuthbert #16, B Alexander #1, J Osborne #55, Boyde #3 and T Kinsman #81. 

Report and Pics Nick Isaac


KartSport New Zealand