NZ Rotax MAX Challenge, Round 2

press release

The rain poured down at the combined second round of this year's Gen-i Kartstars Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand/125 Shifter Series at the Bay of Plenty Kart Club's Fagan's Valley Raceway over the weekend but it didn't stop Auckland drivers Simon Evans and Ryan Grant impressing in their respective classes.

Defending class title holder and recently crowned New Zealand Sprint champion Ryan Urban was quickest in qualifying and went on to win both heat races and the Pre-Final in the premier TotalSpan 125cc Rotax Max Light class. But it was Simon Evans who claimed fastest race lap honours in the heats and Pre-Final then won the rain-shortened 20-lap Final after shadowing Urban in the early stages then passing him with just three laps to go.

Above: TotalSpan 125cc Rotax Max Light class winner Simon Evans.
pic - Fast Company/Greg Henderson

Urban remained glued to Evan's kart's bumper but could not find a way back past, crossing the finish line just 0.6 of a second behind. Third was top local driver Niki Urwin, fourth multi-time former champion and the class winner at the first round of this year's Gen-i Kartstars series, Matthew Hamilton from Christchurch. Hamilton was the picture of consistency in the difficult conditions and proved his worth by setting the fastest race lap in the Final.

Ryan Grant, meanwhile, was again the star of the 125cc Shifter Series, claiming his second KZ2 class win in a row after setting the quickest lap in qualifying and winning two of the three heats as well as the Pre-Final and the Final. Young gun Graeme Smyth was the only driver to take a win off Grant (in the first heat) then finished second in the Pre-Final but he struck problems in the Final. This opened the way for fast-rising local driver Daniel Dufty to claim second between winner Ryan Grant and his third-placed older brother Matthew.

Above: KZ2 class winner Ryan Urban.
pic - Fast Company/Greg Henderson

One of the other nationally-ranked locals, Mark Swetman from Tauranga, won his class, F125S, at the first round of the Shifter Series in Taranaki in early March, but after qualifying quickest and winning the Final he was pipped on points for the round win at his home track by Kevin Storr.

Storr proved his prowess in the wet by winning two of the three heats and the Pre-Final then finishing second to Swetman in the Final to claim the round by two points from Swetman with Mike Browning beating Snow Mooney to third by one point.

In the other Gen-i Kartstars Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand classes young gun Daniel Kinsman made a clean-sweep of Arai Formula Junior qualifying quickest and winning the two heats, Pre-Final and Final - the latter from fellow Aucklander Aaron Hodgson and Cambridges' Andy Schofield.

Hodgson was always a factor however, as evidenced by his fastest race lap in the Final as he chased down Kinsman.

In Strata Networks 125cc Rotax Max Heavy, meanwhile, it was Auckland's Bradley Alexander who eventually came out on top from fastest qualifier Aarron Cunningham (Auckland) and Pre-Final winner Dunedin's Paul Booth.

The weekend's round also marked the debut of a new Junior class for CIK karts which will operate as a support class to the 125 Shifter Series from now on. This was won convincingly by Arie Hutton with a perfect points score from fellow Aucklanders Paul Blomqvist and Callum Quinn.

There is now a break of a month before the third round of the combined series at KartSport Auckland's The Pallet Company Raceway over the May 23-24 weekend.

The 2009 Kartstars Gen-i Rotax Max Challenge is brought to you with the support of Gen-i, TotalSpan, Arai Helmets, Strata Networks and Right Karts.

Click here for the series points.


TotalSpan 125cc Rotax Max Light
1. Simon Evans; 2. Ryan Urban; 3. Niki Urwin; 4. Matthew Hamilton; 5. Kane Taylor; 6. Alex Geary.

Arai Formula Junior
1. Daniel Kinsman; 2. Aaron Hodgson; 3. Andy Schofield; 4. Tom Alexander; 5. Daniel Connor; 6. Bramwell King

Strata Networks 125cc Rotax Max Heavy
1. Bradley Alexander 5 points; 2. Aaron Cunningham 8; 3. Paul Booth 17; 4. David Waldmeyer 18; 5. Brendon Hart 18; 6. Teddy Bassick 21

2009 125 Shifter Series

1. Ryan Grant 11 points; 2. Karl Wilson 22; 3. Matthew Grant 23; 4. Daniel Dufty 27; 5. Graeme Smyth 31; 6. Richard Moore 38

1. Kevin Storr 4 points; 2 Mark Swetman 6; 3. Mike Browning 23; 4. Snow Mooney 24; 5. John Steward 26; 6. David Munro 30

1. Arie Hutton 0 points; 2. Paul Blomqvist 13; 3. Callum Qunin 16; 4. Bradley Hicks 18; 5. Mitchell Brown 26 ; 6. Shaun Varney 27.

Click here for the series points.

Rnd 1 Feb 21 Manawatu Toyota Raceway Palmerston North
Rnd 2 April 25-26 Fagan's Valley Raceway Bay of Plenty
Rnd 3 May 23-24 The Pallet Company Raceway Auckland
Rnd 4 August 29-30 RV Wholesale Supplies Raceway Hamilton
Rnd 5 September 26-27 Rotorua Karters CIK Circuit Mamaku Rotorua