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The country's top Rotax Max category karters will come up against five of Australia's best at the opening round of this year's Yögg-sponsored Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand in Palmerston North on Saturday. 12Gen-iRMCFinalLightsDKinsmanKTaylorfrotnrow-1 (2).jpg

Yögg is the name of a new  frozen yoghurt franchise being rolled out around the country this year and the company behind it is using the annual Rotax Max Challenge - now in its 14th year - to spread the word.  

As it did last year, host club KartSport Manawatu has invited a number of top Australian drivers to take on their Kiwi counterparts at this Saturday's twilight meeting, hence the Trans-Tasman Challenge title.

Heading the list is reigning V8 Utes Australia champion Ryal Harris from Brisbane who was a multiple state kart title winner and two-time Australian kart champion before making his move to the popular V8 Ute series.

Harris will compete in the premier 125cc Rotax Max Light class where he will come up against former Junior and defending Lights class title holder Daniel Kinsman and older brother and fellow 2012 New Zealand rep Mathew Kinsman, former national class sprint champion Daniel Connor, two-time Masters section winner and New Zealand representative Niki Urwin, and Auckland international Daniel Bray. 12Gen-iRMCMastersNikiUrwin-1.jpg

Three of the other visiting Australian drivers, brothers Lane and Trent Moore, and Michael Saller are competing in the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class, while the fourth, Lachlan McHugh, is lining up in Junior Max.

Lane Moore has crossed the Tasman several times to compete in recent years, in 2011 winning the New Zealand Rotax Max Heavy class sprint title at Invercargill.

At the Trans-Tasman meeting this weekend he, older brother Trent and Michael Saller will come up against a strong field of well-credentialed Kiwis including former North Island class champion Aarron Cunningham, the class winner at the final round of last year's Rotax MAx Challenge series, Andrew Grant, both from Auckland, and former Porsche GT3 Cup racer Jody Vincent from Pukekohe. 

In Junior Max, meanwhile, Lachlan McHugh will face top New Zealand driver Marcus Armstrong from Christchurch, with both expecteding stiff competition from Christchurch's Jordan McDonnell, Palmerston North duo Jacob Cranston and Dylan Drysdale, and Hawke's Bay pair Maddy Wise and  Trey Nairn. Michael Saller.jpg

Saturday's meeting is being run to a twilight format with racing starting at 1.00pm and continuing into the evening. As well as the three (four including the Masters section of 125cc Rotax Max Heavy) Rotax Max Challenge series categories there will be four support classes, Cadet, Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha, Open and Clubsport 120.

It is in Cadet that a sixth Australian driver, Taylor Hazzard from Sydney, is running.

New Zealand's is one of over 60 Rotax Max Challenge series run globally each year with national winners meeting at an annual Grand Final. The first was in Puerto Rico in 2000, and this year, for the first time, the Grand Final will be held in the United States. 

New Zealand's best performance to date was at the Grand Final in Italy in 2010 where Palmerston North international Josh Hart finished second in the premier Rotax Max Senior class and Christchurch driver Matthew Hamilton finished third in DD2.

Prior to this the best result was kart-turned-car star Earl Bamber's third in the Junior class when the Grand Final was held in the Canary Islands in 2004.

Saturday's opening series round is the first of six with subsequent rounds to be held at Rotorua, Te Puke, Tokoroa, Hawke's Bay and Auckland.

Eventual 125cc Rotax Max Light class winner Daniel Kinsman (#31) shares the front row with Kane Taylor (#15) at last year's New Zealand series final at Rotorua. Last year's Masters class winner Niki Urwin (#4) moves up to the premier 125cc Rotax Max Light class this year. Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes
Australian Michael Saller. Photo credit: K. Arena Photography

Rnd 1: Feb 16 KartSport Manawatu
Rnd 2: Mar 09-10 Kartsport Rotorua
Rnd 3: April 20-21 Kartsport Bay of Plenty
Rnd 4: May 25-26th Kartsport Tokoroa
Rnd 5: Aug 17-18 Kartsport Hawke's Bay
Rnd 6: Sept 21-22 Kartsport Auckland

 Prepared by FAST COMPANY on behalf of KartSport New Zealand. To find out more about KartSport in New Zealand contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail on ross@fastcompany.co.nz








KartSport New Zealand