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This Sunday Kiwi Supercars stars Scott McLaughlin, Shane Van Gisbergen and Fabian Coulthard will be battling wheel-to-wheel at Pukekohe. A couple of hours drive away – in Edgecumbe in the Eastern Bay of Plenty – the racing will be just as17H-DTopHalfR3HamCadetROKAshtonPhipps42-1 (002).jpg intense, as the next generation of aspiring Supercar drivers battle for series’ honours at the final round of this year’s Hampton Downs-backed Top Half Kart Series.

The annual Top Half Series has long been a stepping stone from club to Island and National level kart competition in this country and when they were younger McLaughlin, Van Gisbergen and Coulthard all competing in it.

Proof of the place KartSport has as the first step on the motorsport ladder is everywhere – from former karter Brendon Hartley now in Formula One, to the likes of former NZ kart champions Ryan Bailey, Callum Hedge and Joshua Parkinson who are competing in the SsangYong Actyon ute racing series at Pukekohe this weekend.

“That’s right,” says series Promotor Roger Smith, “karting is a great place to start or stay. You can use it as a stepping stone for whatever level of car racing you like, literally from club level to Formula One. Or you can start in it and stay – if you want to till well over 60.”

The final round of the series on Sunday has the backing of local Ford dealer Ocean Ford and has again attracted a bumper entry.17H-DTopHalfR3HamDD2SamWaddell81-1 (002).jpg

One of the reasons is the prize pool, Smith confirming that there is still around $20,000 worth of cash and product prizes up for grabs.

Included in the impressive pool is around $8,000 in prize money plus series trophies which will be distributed to the top six finishers in each class plus there are cash draws, and spot prizes from CRC Industries NZ, RJ’s Licorice, and Hampton Downs Go Karts.

There is also an entry in the 2018 Giltrap Group NZ Rotax Max Challenge series, a draw for a set of tyres courtesy Lascom Motorsport and Dunlop Australia and New Zealand, plus awards for the Most Improved Senior and Junior drivers.

The many karters who have contested all four rounds are also eligible for the Arai helmet and custom paint job draw17H-DTopHalfR2RotJnrRotaxAshtonGrant-1 (002).jpg courtesy Arai and Headcase Designs Performance Graphics, as well as Senior and Junior race gear packages courtesy Lightning Race Gear.

Edgecumbe’s Kartzone Raceway was lucky to avoid damage from the flood which devastated much of the town earlier this year and the Eastern Bay of Plenty club has been hard at work ahead of this weekend’s meeting to prepare the track and clubrooms for what will be its biggest meeting in several years.

Hampton Downs Top Half Series regulars like Ashton Phipps (#42), Sam Waddell (#81) and Ashton Grant (#27) in action at previous rounds of this year’s series. Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes


Prepared by FAST COMPANY on behalf of KartSport New Zealand. To find out more about the 2017 Hampton Downs Top Half Series contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail at ross@fastcompany.co.nz


KartSport New Zealand