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Palmertson North and its KartSport Manawatu kart club have a proud record of producing some of the best drivers - kart and car - in the country.14RotaxMaxChallengeRnd3HamJnrDylanDrysdaleleadsstart-1.jpg


Former karters Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber are now works Porsche drivers in Europe, Chris Pither races V8 Supercars across the Tasman and both Bamber, from Wanganui, and fellow international Josh Hart, from Palmertson North, have finished on the podium at the Rotax Max category's annual Challenge Grand Final meeting overseas.


This weekend the Palmerston North club hosts the C B Norwood Distributors Ltd KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship meeting at its Manawatu Toyota Raceway at Shirriffs Rd and the next generation of local talent - the likes of Dylan Drysdale, 15, Jacob Cranston, 14, Kaleb Ngatoa, 13, Tom Greig, and Riley Jack, Jackson Rooney and Louis Redshaw, all 11, are set to start the process off all over again.


Drysdale won the Junior Rotax class in last year's Rotax Max Challenge series and during the year claimed a New Zealand Schools title in the Formula Junior class, as well as finishing third in the Junior Rotax class - behind Rotorua driver Caleb Huston and fellow Manawatu ace Jacob Cranston - at the North Island title meeting in Rotorua over Labour Weekend last year.


Cranston finished second in the  Junior 100cc Yamaha class at the National Sprint Championships in Blenheim last year, was second in 1415BayleysGoldstarRnd3TarRMJnrJacobCranstonleadsJosh Donohue-1.jpgthe Junior Rotax class and third in Junior 100cc Yamaha at the 2014 NZ Schools championship meeting and is a former NZ#1 (in 2012) in the now superseded Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha class.


Kaleb Ngatoa, meanwhile, was the winner of the Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha title at the North Island Sprint championships in 2013.


This weekend Drysdale, Cranston and Ngatoa will be contesting two classes, Rotax Max Junior and Junior 100cc Yamaha.


Tom Greig, Riley Jack, Jackson Rooney (the reigning North Island Cadet ROK class champion) and Louis Redshaw will be contesting Vortex Mini ROK where they will be up against reigning North Island champion Josh Parkinson from Auckland and 2014 NZ Schools' champion Ryan Wood from Wellington.


There's a double incentive in the Vortex Mini ROK class with the 24 entrants aged from 9 to 13 vying to claim the inaugural New Zealand National Sprint title (which replaces the superseded Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha one) as well as the chance to represent New Zealand at the ROK Cup International Finals in Lonato, Italy between October 22 and 25 this year.


This weekend's meeting has attracted 178 entries from as far south as Invercargill and as far north as Whangarei with a number of multi-time national and island champions in the mix.


Christchurch ace Matthew Hamilton leads the way in terms of titles won, with 12 New Zealand Sprint ones to his name, including the 2014 KZ2 class one which he is defending against 2012 New Zealand champion Daniel Bray, 2014 North Island champion Graeme Smyth, and 2014 South Island champion Chris Cox.


Former Christchurch but now Gold Coast, Australia-based Simon Hunter is second in the title tally heading into the event, having won the New Zealand 100cc Yamaha Heavy title six times and the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy title twice.


He will be up against a number of fellow former class champions in both classes, including Gold Coast-residing expat Lane Moore (who won the New Zealand 125cc Rotax Max Heavy title in 2011), reigning New Zealand and North Island champion Ryan Urban, and 2013 New Zealand title holder Zach Zaloum.


Ryan Urban and Auckland-based former Palmerston North driver Ryan Bailey are typical of many top Senior karters contesting this year's Norwood's-backed Sprint Nationals meeting. 14RotaxMaxChallengeRnd5HastingsRotaxHeavywinnerRyanUrban-1.jpg


Urban won his first title - in the superseded Midget class - in 1993, and is still racing and winning more than 20 years later, claiming the 125cc Rotax Max Light title in 2009 and the Heavy class title at both the North Island and New Zealand championship meetings last year.


Bailey followed suite, winning the New Zealand Cadet title in 2000 then - after a break chasing a career in cars - came back to win the North Island 100cc Yamaha Heavy title in 2009 and is lining up for a crack at the 2014 title this weekend.


An interested observer at the meeting, meanwhile, will be recently retired V8 Supercar driver and now V8 Supercar TV pit reporter Greg Murphy.


Murphy was one of the first New Zealand racing drivers to get his start in karts and went on to a stellar career in cars which included four Bathurst 1000 wins.


This weekend he will be reporting from the meeting for Sky Sport's new #SkySpeed motorsport show while his father Kevin runs Murphy's son Ronan in the Rotax Max Junior and Junior 100cc Yamaha classes. ryan-bailey_39.jpg


After a successful trial at last year's Sprint Nationals meeting in Blenheim, Spark and livestreaming specialist i-FilmNZ will provide live coverage of this year's CB Norwood Distributors Ltd-backed Palmerston North meeting via the internet HERE on Saturday April 4 and Sunday April 5.


Karter and current V8 Supertourer driver Richard Moore will anchor the commentary team with assistance from fellow racer (and now Australian V8 Supercar driver) Simon Evans, visiting Australian kart series media man Liam Meegan, and the KartSport Manawatu club's regular track commentator, Mike Wilson. Viewers can join the livestream  live chat and enter prize draws during the broadcast.


As well as live coverage via the internet, Sky TV motorsport show #SkySpeed will also be showing a feature package on Sky Sport 3 in the week after the event.


There will be action at Manawatu Toyota Raceway on Shirriffs Rd on the outskirts of Palmerston North from Easter Friday with Time Trials (qualifying).


Five class titles will then be contested each day on Saturday and Sunday.


On Saturday the classes are Vortex Mini ROK, Junior 100cc Yamaha, 125cc Rotax Max, 100cc Yamaha Heavy and KZ2 .


On Sunday they are Cadet ROK, 125cc Rotax Max Junior, Open, 125cc Rotax Max Heavy and 100cc Yamaha Light.


Spectators are welcome with action on the track each day between 9.00am and 4.30pm. For more information go to



Drivers to look out for at this weekend's CB Norwood Distributors Ltd 2015 KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship meeting in Palmerston North include young guns Dylan Drysdale (#30) and Jacob Cranston (#31), and top Senior category drivers Ryan Urban (#1) and Ryan Bailey (#39). Photo credit: Fast Company/Graham Hughes & (Jacob Cranston photo) Fats Company/Vicky Jack.






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

KartSport New Zealand