Auckland’s Kinsman brothers, Mathew and Daniel, came through to claim three of the seven class title on offer at the Giltrap Group backed 2018 KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championship title event at Rotorua over the Easter weekend.
Both successfully defended the titles they won at the 2017 National Sprint meeting at Invercargill (Mathew Rotax DD2, Daniel 125cc Rotax Max Light) a year ago while Mathew added the NZ KZ2 title to his now nine-strong NZ #1 tally.
Between them the pair now have 17 NZ #1 National Sprint titles with the NZ 125cc Rotax Max Light class a particularly happy hunting ground. Since 2013 – when Daniel won it for the first time – no one else has had a look in.
Mathew won it for the next three years (2014-2016) and Daniel has now won it back for the past two.
Not that he (Daniel) had it particularly easy. This year visiting Australian driver Harrison Hoey qualified quickest and young second-generation Kiwi ace Zac Stichbury won the heats and Pre-Final.
However after two red flags and consequent race re-starts it was Daniel Kinsman who had the edge in the Final, winning from Stichbury, Hoey and the category’s new generation of young guns, Ashton Grant and Joshua Bethune from Auckland, and Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington.
Though both brothers contested the Rotax DD2 title, defending title holder Mathew had the edge this time, qualifying quickest before winning both heats and the Pre-Final and Final, the latter from top female driver Tiffany Hamilton (nee Chittenden) with brother Daniel (Kinsman) third.
KZ2 was the tough one, but again Mathew Kinsman came through when it counted.
Young guns Matthew Payne from Auckland and Jacob Cranston from Palmerston North were both quicker in qualifying of Friday, while internationals, and former class title holders, Daniel Bray and Matthew Hamilton finished one-two respectively in the first heat.
Mathew Kinsman won the second heat but Bray was back in front in the Pre-Final from Mathew Kinsman, Matthew Hamilton, Matthew Payne, Madeline Stewart and Jacob Cranston..
That set the prospect of a mega Final…until first Matthew Hamilton was out without completing a lap thanks to a faulty tyre valve, and a tangle saw pole man Daniel Bray lose track position not long afterwards, leaving fellow front row starter Mathew Kinsman in a lead he was never to lose.
Behind him, top female international, Madeline Stewart set the fastest race lap on her way to second place with Jacob Cranston third, Bray fourth, Daniel Bugler fifth and Rhys Tinney sixth.
The other class winners at this year’s National Sprint title event were Zach Zaloum from Hawke’s Bay in the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class, Australian Jaiden Pope (Junior Rotax), Louis Sharp (Vortex Mini ROK) and Blake Corin (Cadet ROK)
It was a second National Sprint title win for Hastings driver Zaloum, who claimed his first in the Rotax Max Heavy class in 2013. He did it in style too, qualifying quickest and only conceding one win (in the Pre-Final to eventual title runner-up, Campbell Joyes) over the four class races.
In theory his run to title number two was made easier when visiting Australian driver Lane Moore was excluded from the event for a technical infringement on Saturday, but in practice Zaloum was the class of the field on both days, eventually winning the Final very much as he liked from Joyes, Darren Walker, Caleb Hartley, Aarron Cunningham and Stuart Gould.
The best performance from the five-strong Australian squad at the event, meanwhile, came from Jaiden Pope who won the Rotax Max Junior Final from fastest qualifier and heat and Pre-Final winner Ryan Wood
Wood, from Wellington, but a regular and round winner on Australia’s Rotax Pro Tour, did everything in his power to win the Final as well.
However, though he shadowed Pope from beginning to end he couldn’t find a way past, having to settle for second place with South Island champion William Exton third, Fynn Osborne fourth, NZ Schools’ title holder Sam Wright fifth and Jackson Rooney sixth.
Results in the Vortex Mini ROK class remain provisional at the moment subject to the hearing of an appeal, after defending class title holder Jacob Douglas crossed the line first but was subsequently excluded from the results of that race after a protest from another driver.
In his absence the win in the Final went to fellow Christchurch driver Louis Sharp from Sebastian Manson, Jenson Bate, Ryan Bell, Taylor Payne and North Island champ Ryan Hancock.
Finally, it all came down to a late race re-start in the Final of the Cadet ROK class, Tauranga youngster Blake Corin pulling off an audacious round-the-outside pass to jump from P3 to P1 and hold on to win the race and earn the NZ#1 title from North Island champ Jay Urwin, and a chasing pack consisting of Hugo Neale, Blake Dowdall and Kiahn Burt.