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LEADERS STRETCH THEIR MARGIN AT TAUPO

The weather gods turned on a fine day for Round 4 of the Kartsport Superkart Drivers Club Road Racing Series at the Taupo Motorsport Park on the 22nd of June.  With rain forecast leading up to the event, competitors were greeted by fine weather to continue a run of good luck with none of the events this year being affected by rain.sktaupo1.jpg

Of the five classes on show, four of the current class leaders stretched their lead to what should be an unassailable lead (barring disaster) with the exception of the 250cc National Class which is closing up in the points battle for the lead.

In the International Class, Andrew Hall ran out of competition and took a clean sweep in all races.  Former National Champion Paul Dunlop and his crew had put in a massive effort to attend the event, travelling all the way from Balclutha in the deep south to get some much needed seat time before the nationals in February only to have a gearbox issue in the qualifying session.  This put him out for the day and really has to be the hard luck story of the meeting.  Now if that’s not commitment to your sport then I don’t know what is.  Aaron De Ridder’s second outing in Roy Geary’s kart was cut short along with Campbell Hicks who both suffered power valve failures early in the day.  With regular International Class competitor Tony Gestro pedalling in the National Class and Robin Wooldridge along with a few others sitting this one out Hall had the class to himself.

National Class had three race winners out of four races and looks to be the class to watch as far as the leaderboard goes.  Dan Isaac of Wellington had a shocker with a seized engine on the first lap of the practise session which continues his horrible run of luck as of late. sktaupo2.jpg He will be looking to engineer some reliability into his CR250 engine before the next round at Hampton Downs in 3 months time.  Current series leader Richard Simmonds along with son Chris were both competitive but there must have been something in the blood as they both battled engine misfires throughout the day.  Tony Gestro was driving the Maranello CR250 of current 2NZ Steve Wilton and had two race wins as well as his share of electrical issues due to a dodgy battery.  This kart looks to be the goods though after a rebuild following a catastrophic seizure at the nationals earlier this year.  Wilton will be back behind the wheel at the next round and will be looking forward to battling it out with the rest of the class.  The 250 thumpers provided some very close finishes during the day with some very good clean racing.  Blair Rodgers driving a KTM powered Arrow X-1 kart took out race two, the KTM producing plenty of power all day, this kart is a real contender.  After dominating round 3 at Hampton Downs, Nick Isaac came out on top of the points once again with one win and two other podium finishes.    A broken chain in race 1 robbing him of some valuable points but he has closed the gap to Richard Simmonds.  It appears Simmonds and Isaac will be battling it out at the final rounds of the series.  Both will be looking for strong performances at Hampton Downs and Manfield.  Dion Hubers in his freshly rebuilt Division 2 International kart spent all day in amongst the National Class field which made for some great racing.  Copy link for footage of Race 3 www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i2cC0E7pSo&feature=youtu.be

Rotax Light was once again a Charlotte Oram benefit meeting.  The young Wellingtonian winning 4 out of 4 races.  Her smallest winning sktaupo3.jpgmargin was an impressive 8.3 seconds in race 1.  Maximum points from this round ensure she cannot be beaten unless her form drops off dramatically or mechanical issues creep into her campaign.  Taranaki’s Geoff Thom had a pretty consistent day with 3 second place finishes and a third place in race one to finish the meeting in 2nd place.  Thom spent all day battling it out with Sean Heffernan and Clayton Merz with some extra close finishes.  The senior statesman of the class, Rocket Ron Alexander had a pretty average weekend after some very consistent results throughout the series to date.  Numerous incidents at the end of the back straight saw him suffer in the points.  Sitting in 2nd place leading into this round he’ll be feeling lucky that 3rd place sitter Julian Osborne also had his share of issues which maintains Rons breathing space in the points.  Both guys wont be happy with their performances for this round and will be looking to make amends next time out.

Rocket Ron's bad luck didn’t rub off on his son Brad though with Alexander Jnr dominating the Rotax Heavy class once again.  The Aucklander almost making it a clean sweep apart from a 2nd place finish to Ricky Lang in Race 3.  Lang managing three 2nd place results and a win to give him some great points.  The real battle in this class is between Darren Maguire from Wellington and Taranaki’s Peter sktaupo4.jpgCottam.  Both competitors have finished every round very even on points and this rivalry looks to continue into the remaining rounds of the series as they battle it out for 2nd place.  

Part of this meeting was the presentation of the “Ross Tait Rush” trophy.  Drivers competed for the trophy over Rounds 1-3 of the series by completing 5 flying laps of the circuit on the practise day preceding race day.  No timing devices were allowed and drivers had to nominate a time to complete the 5 laps.  Closest to his nominated times overall and winner of the trophy was Club President Andrew Hall.  Ross Tait was instrumental in getting the KartSport SuperKart Drivers Club and the current series into action and Hall commented on how wrapped he was to win the trophy in its inaugural year.  

Sean Heffernan was the lucky winner of a Woodstock Racing Jacket as part of the lucky dip draw which every pre-entry is eligible for.

The SuperKart Series takes a 3 month break now before returning to Hampton Downs for Round 5 on the 28th of September. 

For more information about the series go to www.facebook.com/groups/152367844774876/

Race report prepared by Nick Isaac – KartSport SuperKart Drivers Club.

Photos courtesy of Petrina Aiono.

 
KartSport New Zealand