With Auckland-based international Daniel Bray the dominant force in the KZ2 class this season, the focus heading into the penultimate series round in the Hawke's Bay this weekend is on the drivers who trail him, with just 19 points separating second placed Chris Cox from Rangiora and sixth placed Jordan Morris from Auckland.14ProKartSeriesR3HamKZ2ChrisCox-1.jpg


"It's the depth in each class which I'm probably proudest of," says series promoter and organiser Steve Brown. "Right now there are probably eight to ten, all young guys, fighting for second through to sixth spot in KZ2 and we're getting more and more guys regularly getting into that one-through-six contention in the other two classes."


Heading to the Hawke's Bay, where the weather is expected to be fine but cool, Daniel Bray has a 28 point lead over Chris Cox in the premier KZ2 class but young gun Jaxon Evans - the Gold Coast-based son of former New Zealand Formula Vee and Ford racer Debbie Evans (nee Lester) - is just one point back in third with Kiwi young guns Luke Dobbs, Mitch Osborne and Jordan Morris fourth through sixth respectively and separated by just eight points.


Big things are also again expected from class veteran Graeme Smyth , the young Aucklander who stormed back into contention at the fourth round of the series but who is in catch-up mode thanks to missing the first two rounds because of clashing car racing events.


Brown, who continues to compete himself, has worked hard building a series based round the purpose-built 6-speed gearbox-equipped 125cc KZ2 class karts, and says he is also pleased with the number of father-and-son combinations the series has attracted.


He and son Logan are the obvious example, but across the three classes there are several others, including Tommie and Gerhard Benadie, and Simon and Connor Adams.


"What's happening," says Brown "is a Dad is running his boy in a kart, gets him through the junior ranks then thinks to himself, you know, I could do that, then the next thing you know there are two karts in the trailer and one of them is for Dad. It's great to see and it's something we encourage because we're one of the few sports where fathers-and-sons can compete together in the same category."


The trip to KartSport Hawke's Bay's Chemz Raceway at Roys Hill just outside Hastings is always much anticipated by karters from around the country, KZ2 class leader and now team owner and manager as well as driver, Daniel Bray, saying that the track provides a unique challenge.14ProKartSeriesR3HamKZ2MastersMarkLane-1.jpg


"It's about how you set up your kart and no matter what or how hard you try you'll never get it 100% right. It's a really technical track with a good mix of corners. The problem is that if you set your kart up so that it is 100% for one corner, it will be way less than that for the others, so you're after a balance and 90% for the whole track is about as good as you are going to get."


In the other classes, KZ2 Restricted and KZ2 Masters, the big story is local with former KZ2 Masters class champion Tom Curran from Hastings 22 points ahead of second placed Aucklander Mark Lane and former Stock Car champion Graeme Lambert (another father attracted to the sport through his son's involvement) from Mangakino a further 11 points back in third and Aucklander Kevan Storr and Nelson super-vet Grant Kugener fourth and fifth respectively but separated by just the one point.


As one of the first drivers to commit to the new KZ2 Restricted class (with Daniel Bray's GP Karts team) Aucklander Garry Cullum has built up a good points buffer and retains the lead. However since Aucklander Jared McKenzie and former Southlander Mark Elder, now resident in Auckland, have joined the class the ante has been well and truly upped, meaning Cullum will have to use all his skills to retain his current advantage over Gerhard Benadie and Cameron Dance from Auckland at this and the final round.14ProKartSeriesR3HamKZ2RestGerhardBenadie-1.jpg


There is racing at the Chemz Raceway on both days with qualifying and the first heats on Saturday and the subsequent heat/heats then Pre-Finals and Finals on Sunday.


The weekend's round is the fifth of sixth and shares the bill with the Rotax Max Challenge supported by Schwarzkoff. Auckland hosts the final round of both series over the September 20/21 weekend.



Drivers to watch out for at the fifth round of the 2014 Pro Kart Series in Hastings over the weekend include Chris Cox (#12 KZ2), Mark Lane (#20 KZ2 Masters) and Gerhard Benadie (#21 KZ2 Restricted). Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes


2014 Pro Kart Series 


Points after Rnd 4 of 6
1. Daniel Bray 327 points; 2. Chris Cox 299; 3. Jaxon Evans 298; 4. Luke Dobbs 288; 5. Mitch Osborne 285; 6. Jordan Morris 280
KZ2 Masters
Points after Rnd 4 of 6
1. Tom Curran  327 points; 2. Mark Lane 305; 3. Graeme Lambert  294; 4. Kevan Storr 292; 5. Grant Kugener 291; 6. Leo Bult 288.


KZ2 Restricted
Points after Rnd 4 of 6
1. Garry Cullum 324 points; 2. Gerhard Benadie 301; 3. Cameron Dance 292; 4. Tommie Benadie 287; 5. Steve Brown 225; 6. Jared McKenzie 156


Rnd 1: Sun Feb 22-23 Manawatu Toyota Raceway Palmerston North

Rnd 2: Sat-Sun March 15-16 The Rock FM Raceway Rotorua

Rnd 3: Sat-Sun May 17-18 AgriSea Raceway Hamilton

Rnd 4: Sat-Sun June 07-08 Fagan's Valley Raceway Te Puke

Rnd 5: Sat-Sun August 16-17 Chemz Raceway Hastings

Rnd 6: Sat-Sun September 20-21 Strata Networks Raceway Auckland

Prepared by FAST COMPANY on behalf of KartSport New Zealand. To find out more about the 2014 New Zealand Pro Kart Series contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail at

KartSport New Zealand