|press release||19 October 2016|
Italy is home for some of New Zealand's top karters this week as engine manufacturers Rotax and Vortex hold their annual international final events.
Starting officially today (Wednesday October 19) nine Kiwi karters will be competing across two different international events in the county regarded as the spiritual home of the sport.
Above: Ryan Urban is back to defend his DD2 Masters world title (pic - Fast Company/Vicky Jack)
Last year's DD2 Masters class title holder Ryan Urban of Auckland heads an experienced Kiwi squad at the 17th annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals meeting at Sarno near Naples in southern Italy.
The annual Grand Finals meeting pits national and regional Rotax Max Challenge class winners from around the globe against each other at a multi-day meeting held each year to find the best Rotax class drivers in the world.
Joining Urban at Sarno are fellow multi-time New Zealand representative Josh Hart from Palmerston North, former British Challenge class winner and now two-time NZ rep Tiffany Chittenden from Christchurch, Dylan Drysdale from Palmerston North and Matthew Payne from Pukekohe.
Last year in Portugal Urban became the first Kiwi to win a class title at a Grand Finals meeting. Josh Hart also has a strong record at the annual event, with a best finish of second place in the Rotax Max Light class (at the La Conca kart track in Italy) in 2010.
Above: Breanna Morris wll contest the Rok Cup (pic - Fast Company/Graham Hughes)
The meeting will see 360 drivers from over 50 countries contest a number of Rotax category titles. A live stream of the event starts on Wednesday and can be accessed at http://www.rotax-kart.com/en/Max-Challenge/Grand-Finals/Grand-Finals-2016/LIVESTREAM
In the north of the country, meanwhile, at the South Garda Karting track (half way between Milan and Venice) inaugural ROK Cup New Zealand Vortex Mini ROK class winner William Exton from Picton joins 2016 New Zealand Vortex Mini ROK class sprint champions Breanna Morris, 2015 champ Joshua Parkinson and wildcard Mason Potter (all from Auckland) at this year's ROK Cup International Finals meeting.
The 14th annual ROK Cup International Finals is one of the biggest manufacturer-backed events on the karting calendar and this year has attracted 422 karters from 51 countries.
New Zealand has been represented at the past two ROK Cup International Finals; by Ryan Wood from Wellington in 2014 and Billy Frazer from Pukekohe in 2015.
This year three of the Kiwis - Morris, Exton and Potter - will contest the huge 171 strong Mini ROK class (for 9-13 yr. olds), while the fourth, Joshua Parkinson, will compete in Junior ROK. The finals will be livestreamed on Saturday from http://www.vortex-rok.com/intcup-home_eng.php .
Above: William Exton (pic - Fast Company/Vicky Jack)
Above: Josh Hart (pic - Fast Company/Vicky Jack)