Auckland-based internationals Ryan Grant and Daniel Bray head a strong entry for this year's six-round ProKart Series which kicks off at KartSport Manawatu's annual Trans-Tasman Challenge meeting in Palmerston North this weekend.MiSedaapProKartAckldKZ2RyanGrant-1.jpg


Both drivers are previous winners of the series' 6-speed gearbox/125cc KZ2 class title (Grant a number of times) but last year Bray contested rounds of the (concurrently run) Rotax Max Challenge series, leaving Grant to take the 2013 title from Christchurch driver Matthew Hamilton and fellow Cantabrian Chris Cox.


New Zealand has one of the strongest KZ2 class scenes in the world and this year both Bray and Grant will race here and in Europe, with Bray committed to contesting all six ProKart Series rounds as well as three rounds of the European KZ2 championship and the KZ2 World Cup event.


Grant, on the other hand, plans on doing three of the six rounds of the local series as well as the first and final rounds of the WSK Masters series (for KZ2), two big Trophy meetings and the KZ2 World Cup event in Europe.


Joining them on the grid this weekend will be a mix of new and old faces, including that of young Gold Coast, Queensland, karter Jaxon Evans who is one of eight drivers running alongside Daniel Bray in the Bray family's NZed Motorsport GP Karts team this season.


Evans is being mentored by expat Kiwi Dale Verrall and will contest KZ2 series on both sides of the Tasman this year.


This year will also see the return to the KZ2 category of former front runner and recent V8 SuperTourer series driver Andy Knight from Christchurch. Last year's third place-getter - and former South Island class champion - Chris Cox is also back for another tilt at the class, as will last year's 'young gun' trio, Mitchell Brown, Jordan Morris and Luke Dobbs from Auckland.


Mitchell Brown's father Steve is a long-time competitor and supporter of KZ2-class racing and takes over this year as series promoter from the Formula S KartSport Club.


Brown Snr has made a number of changes to the format and management of the series including dropping the KF3 Junior support class and adding a new Senior one, KZ2 Restricted.


"The Restricted class will be a stepping stone for some, a long-term home for others," he says of the new category which uses the same karts, engines and tyres as the KZ2 and KZ2 Masters classes but limits allowed tuning via a single axle, carburettor and intake silencer kit.


This weekend will see eight drivers contest the new class, including father-and-son Gerhard and Tommy Benadie from Auckland.


Set to again dictate the pace in the KZ2 Masters class, meanwhile, is former series champ Tom Curran from Hawke's Bay with 13ProKartSeriesR4TokKZ2MastersTomCurran-1.jpgcompetition expected to come from class newcomer Kevin Storr, series returnees Mark Lane, Brett Hollander and brothers Mark and Todd Wheeler (all Auckland) and veteran gearbox class campaigner Grant Kugener from Nelson.


This year the ProKart Series will again share top billing at all six rounds with the 2014 Rotax Max Challenge New Zealand. After this weekend's round in Palmerston North subsequent rounds of both series will be held at Rotorua, Hamilton, Te Puke, Hastings and Auckland.



Ryan Grant (#64) and Tom Curran (#7) will be the drivers to watch in their respective classes at the opening round of the 2014 ProKart Series at KartSport Palmerston North's Manawatu Toyota Raceway this weekend. Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes


2014 ProKart Series

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  ProKart Series contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail at

KartSport New Zealand