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KartSport Manawatu club members will have a big job on their hands this weekend as they host a 130+ entry at this year's Toyota Racing New Zealand-backed KartSport New Zealand National Schools' Championship in Palmerston North.


"The numbers are definitely up this year," says event convenor John Paddy. "They were hovering around the 130 mark for a couple of weeks there but by the time entries closed last Friday we had 137."14RotaxMaxChallengeRnd1JnrMichaelMcCulloch-1.jpg


Helping boost the entry numbers is the fact that this year's is a transitional event for the two main under 14-year-old classes, with championship titles at stake for the last time in Cadet Raket and Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha, and for the first time in the categories that are replacing them, Cadet ROK and Vortex Mini ROK.


The four classes are certainly the best supported, with the new Cadet ROK category the most popular with 23 entries followed by Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha with 22, Vortex Mini ROK with 21 and Cadet Raket with 20.


Entries have come from all over New Zealand, with karters representing primary, intermediate and secondary schools from Invercargill in the south to Whangarei in the north.


Heading the list in the two Cadet classes is young New Plymouth driver Thomas Boniface, the defending schools' Cadet Raket class title holder and current NZ #1 in Cadet Raket. Another current New Zealand champion, Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha title holder Liam Lawson from Auckland, starts favourite, meanwhile, in both Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha and Vortex Mini ROK.


Confidently facing the visitors are a number of well-credentialed local drivers including Jacob Cranston and Bayley Walker who will contest both the Formula Junior and Junior 100cc Yamaha classes, Jackson Rooney who will contest both Cadet classes, Tom Greig in Vortex Mini ROK and Junior Restricted Yamaha and Riley Jack in Vortex Mini ROK. 14SchoolsPreviewCadetROKJacksonRooney-1.jpg


Though this year is the first that KartSport Manawatu and Palmerston North Boys High School has hosted the event, Palmerston North Boys holds the record for winning the Secondary Schools title the most times - three.


The last time the school won the Senior title was in 2012 in Wellington thanks to students Josh Drysdale and Scott Blummont. That year fellow KartSport Manawatu club members Jacob Cranston and Tom Greig also won the Primary/Intermediate category for their school, College Street Normal.


Other schools to have won the Secondary title in the 12 years the event has been running are Rangitoto College, St Kentigern College and Auckland Grammar School from Auckland, St Andrews College and Burnside High School from Christchurch and Waimea College from Nelson. 


Event coordinator John Paddy says KartSport Manawatu is a family-focused club which goes out of its way to look after members and visitors alike.


"We've got a track which has got a good mix of quick and technical sections, we've got a great clubhouse and facilities and because we're so central we're not too far for people from out of town to travel."


Over  the years the club has nurtured some of the country's best drivers including former F1 test driver and current works Porsche sportscar ace Brendon Hartley. And Paddy says you have to be good to take on and beat a local on their home track.


A special feature of the popular annual Schools' event are the Bruce McLaren KartSport Awards presented in association with the Bruce McLaren Trust and now, Toyota Racing New Zealand.


Each year two awards are offered and this year the awards - and prize of a drive in a Toyota Finance 86 Championship TR 86 race car - will go to the winners of the two most popular eligible classes at the event - once they produce and present a project at their school on the career, achievements and values demonstrated by the driver the award honours, New Zealand racing great Bruce McLaren.


There will be racing at KartSport Manawatu's Manawatu Toyota Raceway on Shirriffs Rd on both days this weekend with karts on track from 9.00am. Three class titles - Cadet Raket, Vortex Mini ROK and Formula Junior - will be contested on Saturday, and four - Cadet ROK, Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha, 125cc Rotax Max Light and Junior 100cc Yamaha - on Sunday.



Local drivers to look out for at this year's Toyota Racing New Zealand 2014 KartSport New Zealand National Schools' Championship meeting in Palmerston North are Michael McCulloch (#70) who will be competing in the 125cc Rotax Max Light class (Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes) and Jackson Rooney (#30) who will be competing in both the Cadet Raket and Cadet ROK (pictured) classes. Photo credit: Fast Company/Emilee Wright.





Cadet ROK (23) – Bradley Ayers, Logan Evans, Max Donnelly, James van den Berk, Louis Redshaw, Louis Sharp, Clay Osborne, Gemma Winters, Zac Christensen, Cullern Thorby, Abbey Simcock, Ryan Bell, Liam Sceats, Thomas Boniface, Connor Davison, Billy Frazer, Jackson Rooney, Blake Austin, Jacob Mitchell, William Exton, Mason Potter, Noah Skipps, Luke Cross


Cadet Raket (20) - James van den Berk, Louis Redshaw, Louis Sharp, Blake Evans, Clay Osborne, Asten Addy, Mitchell Frazer, Conrad Knight, Jenson Bate, Isaac Springett, Liam Sceats, Thomas Boniface, Connor Davison, Billy Frazer, Jackson Rooney, Blake Austin, Jacob Mitchell, William Exton, Mason Potter, Luke Cross


Vortex Mini ROK (21) – Fynn Osborne, Callum Hedge, Joshua Parkinson, Taylor Hurst, Riley Jack, Heidi Benner, Douglas Harvey, Brandon Lambert, Liam Reid, Brock Gilchrist, Ben Morrison, Jaden Ransley, Liam Lawson, Ryan Wood, Tom Greig, Josh Donohue, Sam Wright, Lee Zeltwanger, Taariq Mohamed, Dylan Frere, Josh Bethune


Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha (22) – Callum Hedge, Joshua Parkinson, Taylor Hurst, Lee Zeltwanger, Jay Zeltwanger, Jackson Coyne, Nate Coyne, Rianna O’Meara-Hunt, Benjamin Hurst, Adam Bell, Ethan Donohue, Corey Smith, Jayde Smith, Jaden Ransley, Liam Lawson, Ryan Wood, Tom Greig, Josh Donohue, Sam Wright, Frank May, Dylan Frere, Josh Bethune


Formula Junior (18) – Michael McCulloch, Connor Burson, Daniel Talbot, Zachary Thompson, Ashleigh Stewart, Dylan Smith, Trey Nairn, Madeline Stewart, Bailey Paterson, Taylor Harte, Nick Evans, Dylan Drysdale, Luca Burns, Jacob Cranston, Kaleb Ngatoa, Ayden Polaschek, Bayley Walker, Sebastian Noble,


Junior 100cc Yamaha (15) – Ryan Jury, Brendon Jury, Ayden Polaschek, Kaleb Ngatoa, Jacob Cranston, Zach Thompson, Luca Burns,  Dylan Drysdale, Madeline Stewart, Trey Nairn, Dylan Smith, Ashleigh Stewart, Suvarn Naidoo, Bayley Walker, Cameron Spargo


125cc Rotax Max Light (18)- Liam Young, Mitchell Turner, Travis Day,  Jack Bridgman, CJ Sinclair, Daniel Bugler, Tim Smith, Campbell Joyes, Robert Burrowes, Josh Adlam, James Blair, Bill McCulloch, Clarke McFadzien, Cameron Smith, Olivia Yardley, Oscar Grant, Nathan Reid, Samuel Carpenter



2003 Rangitoto College, Auckland

2004 St Kentigern College, Auckland

2005 Palmerston North Boys High, Palmerston North

2006 Waimea College, Nelson

2007 St Kentigern College

2008 St Andrews College, Christchurch

2009 St Andrews College, Christchurch

2010 Palmerston North Boys High, Palmerston North

2011 Auckland Grammar School, Auckland

2012 Palmerston North Boys High, Palmerston North

2013 Burnside High School, Christchurch



2003 Rangeview Intermediate, Auckland
2004 Waimea Intermediate, Nelson
2005 Marina View School Auckland
2006 Russley Primary & St Kentigern Intermediate ChCh & Auckland
2007 Albany Primary, Auckland
2008 Waikari School and Kaikorai Valley College, Dunedin
2009 Newbury School, Palmerston North
2010 Taradale Intermediate, Napier
2011 Windsor Primary/Chisnell Wood Intermediate, Christchurch
2012 College Street Normal School Palmerston North
2013 Medbury School, Christchurch



CLICK HERE for previous Schools Championships winners


Prepared by FAST COMPANY on behalf of KartSport New Zealand. To find out more about the Toyota Racing New Zealand 2014 KartSport New Zealand National Schools' Championship contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail at


KartSport New Zealand