Rotax Class Title Fights Go Down To The WireTweet
What a difference a year makes!
This time last year Auckland karter Daniel Kinsman could afford to sit out the final round of the 2011 Right Karts KartStars Rotax Max Challenge because he had already won the premier 125cc Rotax Max Light class title - and with it the chance to represent New Zealand at the 2011 Rotax Max Grand Final in Abu Dhabi.
This weekend he has to compete at the final round of the 2012 Challenge series in Rotorua like everyone else.
The reason is that after a roller-coaster year of white-hot competition Kinsman is just one of three drivers with a mathematical chance of claiming the title in the Right Karts 125cc Rotax Max Light class.
To make matters even more interesting one of the two drivers he has to beat this weekend is his older brother Mathew!
Mathew won his class for the second time this season at the penultimate series round in Auckland a month ago and in doing so closed to within three points of long time series class points leader Daniel.
With Daniel slipping back to fourth place in class at Auckland the other driver in title contention, Helensville's Daniel Connor - who finished third - also closed up the gap to be just 11 points behind Daniel and only eight behind Mathew heading into this weekend's series final at KartSport Rotorua's Amoore Rd circuit high in the Mamaku Ranges.
It's not just honour at stake either. This year there are four trips to the 2012 Grand Final (at which Rotax Max class winners from over 60 different national competitions around the world meet) at the Portimao circuit in Portugal up for grabs, one each for the winner and runner-up in the Right Karts 125cc Rotax Max Light class, one for the winner of the Arai Helmets Formula Junior class and the other for the winner of the Masters (over 32 yrs) division of the Strata Networks 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class.
It's not just in the Lights class that the points situation is tight either.
In Arai Helmets Formula Junior Auckland round class winner Josh Drysdale from Palmerston North is now just six points behind season-long series points leader Scott Manson from Christchurch. With only one trip to the Grand Final in that class it will be a case of winner-takes-all at Rotorua.
In fact it is only in the Strata Networks 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class that the points situation is a little more clear-cut with Hawke's Bay driver Zach Zaloum enjoying a 13 point buffer over Aucklander Shane Hodgson.
In that class, though, the danger man is Tauranga-based paraplegic Niki Urwin who finished second to Hodgson at the Auckland round - beating Zaloum in the process.
If Urwin, who drives a specially-adapted kart with hand controls, retains his lead in the Masters category he will not only earn his second trip to a Grand Final in three years. If he beats Hodgson he could also end up second in the overall Heavy class points standings behind Zaloum.
This weekend's series final meeting follows a similar format to other rounds of the Gen-i Right Karts KartStars Rotax Max Challenge with qualifying and the first round of heats on Saturday and the remaining heats, Pre-Finals and Finals on Sunday.
2012 Gen-i KartStars Rotax Max Challenge of New Zealand - Series points after Rnd 5 of 6
Right Karts 125cc Rotax Max Light
Arai Formula Junior
Strata Networks 125cc Rotax Max Heavy