NZ Max Challenge logo.jpg




Two new classes bring a fresh look and feel to this year's New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge kart racing series which kicks off in Rotorua this weekend.14RotaxMaxChallengeRnd3HamLightsDanielKinsmanleadsAndyScholfieldandMitchellBeach-1.jpg


Traditionally, the three Senior classes  - 125cc Rotax Max Light, 125cc Rotax Max Heavy and Masters (32yrs+) - have been based around the same direct-drive 125cc Rotax engine with two minimum all-up (kart and driver) weight breaks, 165kg for the Light class, 185kg for Heavy.


This year, for the first time, New Zealand Rotax importer and series promotor Right Karts of Auckland, has introduced two new classes, DD2 and DD2 Masters.


The '2' in DD2 refers to the fact that though they use a similar 125cc Rotax engine as the direct drive Light and Heavy classes, karts in the two DD2 classes are equipped with a 2-speed gearbox and front disc brakes.


The move has been welcomed by karters here with at least 15 expected to start the first DD2 class race and another 15 expected to line up for the DD2 Masters one at the opening series round this weekend.


"It's certainly been popular with drivers," says series organiser Gavin Bright. "We thought long and hard before we made the change but, obviously, now we're pleased we did because the karters have really embraced it."


Now in its 15th year the series remains as popular as ever, the prospect of earning a place on the grid at a Grand Final event ensuring a strong event across the three Senior and one Junior class.14RotaxMaxChallengeRnd3HamLightsDanielConnor-1.jpg


Heading the entry list in the 125cc Rotax Light class is defending New Zealand title holder Mathew Kinsman from Auckland with competition expected to come from long-time rival Daniel Connor Helensville and former New Zealand and European Rotax series representative Josh Hart from Palmerston North.


Other drivers keen to make their mark include Hamilton's Rhys Tinney, Cambridge's Andy Schofield, Scott Manson from Christchurch, and Caleb Huston from Rotorua.


Defending class title holder Dylan Drysdale returns with favourite status in the Rotax Junior class with his main threats Auckland young guns Liam Lawson and Matthew Payne, the latter heading to Rotorua after a confidence-boosting win in the Junior Trophy class at the first Australian Challenge meeting in Melbourne last weekend. Also expected to challenge for race wins is Jacob Cranston from Palmerston North.


Daniel Kinsman, younger brother of Lights' class favourite Mathew competed in the DD2 class at last year's Grand Final in Spain so he knows how to set up and get the most out of the two-speed karts. He will have some formidable competition, however, in Auckland-based international Daniel Bray, a former US gearbox class champion and podium finisher at the KZ2 World Cup meeting in France in 2013.


The class has also attracted entries from young guns CJ Sinclair, Mason Armstrong and Jonathan Buxeda as well as one of the country's top female karters, Chelsea Herbert.


Another top female driver, Tiffany Chittenden, meanwhile, joins multi-time New Zealand sprint class champion Ryan Urban at the top of 14RotaxMaxChallengeRnd3HamHeaviesTiffanyChittenden-1.jpgthe entry list in DD2 Masters. Both represented New Zealand in the DD2 Masters class at the Grand Final in Spain last year with Chittenden ending up with the best finish of the Kiwi squad, sixth.


Urban had been one of the class pace-setters early on in the event but a crash in front of him saw him lose valuable places early on in the Final and he spent the rest of the race fighting his way back through the field rather than for the podium spot that was expected of him.


Other drivers to note who have moved to the DD2 Masters class include Aarron Cunningham from Auckland, former New Zealand Masters category winner and representative Nikki Urwin from Tauranga and Brendon Gridley from Nelson.


This weekend's opening series round at the KartSport Rotorua club's The Rock FM Raceway in the Mamaku Ranges west of the city is the first of six with subsequent ones in Hawke's Bay, Tokoroa, the Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Hamilton.



Back to contest the opening round of the 2015 New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge are Daniel Kinsman (#31), Andy Schofield (#32) and Mitchell Beach (#29), Daniel Connor (#96) and Tiffany Chittenden (# 9). 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 

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 New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail at

KartSport New Zealand