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Palmerston North karting international Josh Hart has made a winning return to the Logitech New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge at the opening round of the 2015 series at Rotorua over the weekend.15RotaxChallengeRnd1RotLightJoshHartlr-1.jpg


In constantly changing weather and track conditions the 29-year-old now living and working back in New Zealand after six years overseas, qualified quickest and won one of the two heats as well as the Pre-Final and Final to claim an early season points lead in the 125cc Rotax Max Light class.


Young Hamilton driver Campbell Joyes was the only other race winner in the Lights class over the weekend, his choice of wet weather tyres the correct one for the second race when rain started falling while the karts lined up on the grid.


Hart still managed to cross the line fifth in that race then went on to win the Pre-Final from Joyes, Daniel Connor and Mathew Kinsman, then the Final from Joyes, Christchurch driver Scott Manson, and Andy Schofield from Cambridge.


Defending champion Mathew Kinsman was expected to be a threat in the Final only to be forced out with clutch failure. Fellow class fast man Daniel Connor was also unlucky, battery failure seeing him only complete two laps.15RotaxChallengeRnd1RotDD2DanielKinsmanlr-1.jpg


Mathew Kinsman's younger brother Daniel had no such trouble in the new DD2 class, winning both the Pre Final and Final, the latter from KZ2 gearbox class international Daniel Bray, who this year is contesting the Rotax Max Challenge, and Mason Armstrong.


Auckland young gun CJ Sinclair proved quickest early on, topping the time sheets in qualifying and winning the first heat but Bray won the second from Daniel Kinsman and Bradley Hicks before being forced out of the Pre-Final with a leaking radiator.


That meant Bray had to start the Final from well back and he did well to get back up to second, with Mason Armstrong third and CJ Sinclair fourth, in the Final.


No one could stop Ryan Urban in the Masters category within the DD2 class, however, the Auckland ace qualifying quickest and being first Master home in both heats as well as the Pre-Final and Final.15RotaxChallengeRnd1RotDD2MastersRyanUrbanlr-1.jpg


Fellow 2014 New Zealand Masters class rep Aarron Cunningham started the weekend strongly with second spot in qualifying, third in the first heat and second in the next, but Josh Hart's brother Fraser ended up second behind Urban in the class standings in both the Pre-Final and Final after Cunningham  finished fourth in the Pre-Final but crashed out on the first lap of the Final in which another New Zealand Rotax Grand Final rep, Stuart Marshall finished third.


Australian DD2 Master Scott Howard had a weekend to forget with early chassis problems but redeemed himself in the final to finish fourth.


In Junior Rotax, defending class title-holder Dylan Drysdale from Palmerston North was again the dominant figure, qualifying quickest and winning one of the two heats and both the Pre-Final and Final. 15RotaxChallengeRnd1RotJnrMaxDylanDrysdalelr-1.jpg


He had to work for it though, with Aucklander Liam Lawson winning the second heat from Palmerston North driver Jacob Cranston and Matthew Payne, the latter ending up second in the Final after a race-long battle with Cranston third.


This year's New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge is again paired with the ProKart Series with the second round of both series ' in Hawke's Bay in a fortnight.



Class winners at the opening round of this year's Logitech New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge were Josh Hart (#69 125cc Rotax Max Light), Daniel Kinsman (#31 DD2), Ryan Urban (#90 DD2 Masters) and Dylan Drysdale (#26 Junior Rotax). Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes


2015 New Zealand  Rotax Max Challenge Rnd 1 The Rock FM Raceway Rotorua Sat-Sun Jan 31-Feb 01 


125cc Rotax Max Light


1. Josh Hart; 2. Campbell Joyes; 3. Scott Manson; 4. Andy Schofield; 5. Josh Adlam; 6. Rhys Tinney.

Points after Rnd 1

1. Josh Hart 91 points; 2. Campbell Joyes; 87; 3. Scott Manson 82; 4. Andy Schofield 79; 5. Josh Adlam 75; 6. Michael           McCulloch 74




1. Daniel Kinsman; 2. Daniel Bray; 3. Mason Armstrong; 4. CJ Sinclair; 5. Mitchell Beach; 6. James Blair

Points after Rnd 1

1. Daniel Kinsman 91 points; 2. Mason Armstrong 82; 3. Mitchell Beach 81; 4=. Daniel Bray/Jonathan Buxeda/Bradley Hicks/CJ Sinclair 80.


DD2 Masters


1. Ryan Urban; 2. Fraser Hart; 3. Stuart Marshall; 4. Scott Howard; 5. Matthew Grant; 6. Niki Urwin

Points after Rnd 1 (provisional)

1. Ryan Urban 91 points; 2. Fraser Hart 87; 3. Scott Howard 83; 4. Niki Urwin 79; 5. Stuart Marshall 78; 6. Matthew Grant 77


Junior Max


Max Junior

1. Dylan Drysdale; 2. Matthew Payne; 3. Jacob Cranston; 4. Kaleb Ngatoa; 5. Dylan Smith; 6. Liam Lawson      

Points after Rnd 1:

1. Dylan Drysdale 91 points; 2. Matthew Payne 86; 3. Jacob Cranston 85; 4=. Liam Lawson & Kaleb Ngatoa 80; 6. Lee Zeltwanger 78


Rnd 1: Sat- Sun Jan 31-Feb 01 The Rock FM Raceway Rotorua

Rnd 2: Sat-Sun Feb 14-15 Chemz Raceway Hastings

Rnd 3: Sat-Sun May 09-10 Tirau Earthmovers Raceway Tokoroa

Rnd 4: Sat-Sun Jun 13-14 Fagan's Valley Raceway Te Puke

Rnd 5: Sat-Sun Aug 15-16 Strata Networks Raceway Auckland

Rnd 6: Sat-Sun Sept 12-13 AgriSea Raceway Hamilton

Prepared by FAST COMPANY on behalf of KartSport New Zealand. To find out more about the 2015 Logitech New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail at

KartSport New Zealand