Kiwi Rotax Winners Face Ultimate ChallengeTweet
Standing on the top step of the podium at an annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals event is the ultimate goal of every karter who contests a national Rotax Max Challenge kart series. And this week the four Grand Finals trip winners from New Zealand's 2012 series - brothers Daniel and Mathew Kinsman from Auckland, Scott Manson from Christchurch, and Niki Urwin from Tauranga - are in Portugal with that thought very much in mind.
Even just getting to start a class Final is an achievement in itself; at the 13th annual Grand Finals meeting at Portugal's International Karting Circuit of Portimao this year the four Kiwis are part of a 276 strong lineup of national Challenge series winners from 60 countries.
New Zealand is one of a small number of Rotax territories which has sent teams to all 13 Grand Finals meetings with a best result of second in the premier 125cc Rotax Max Light class to Palmerston North-based international Josh Hart in 2010.
Last year saw slim pickings for the Kiwis at Al Ain in Abu Dhabi but this year the latest squad will benefit from the experience of Mathew Kinsman and Niki Urwin.
Kinsman, who is returning for a third crack at a Grand Finals title, first represented New Zealand as a Junior in 2009, where he finished 13th in class, then returned last year as a Senior, contesting the 125cc Rotax Max Light class but not making the final.
Urwin - a paraplegic who races a kart with hand controls - is returning after first making the New Zealand squad in 2010 and finishing 21st in the DD2 Masters class final.