All eyes will be on Cable Systems KZ2 class teammates Graeme Smyth and Ryan Grant at the latest round of this year’s ProKart Series in Auckland this weekend – after four (of six) rounds the pair are separated by just one point.
After a dramatic Te Puke round Final in June – from which Smyth emerged the victor and Grant slowed dramatically on the run to the chequered flag with a carburettor issue –
Grant still managed to close the series points’ gap on his teammate right down and heads into the Auckland round this weekend with everything to win and little to lose.
Top South Island prospect Chris Cox was tied for second place with Grant heading into the Te Puke round and though he has slipped back to third he is still only three points behind Grant and four behind Smyth.
This weekend’s round sees the return of young guns Jordan Morris and Logan Brown who impressed in the KZ2 class last season, the debut in KZ2 of Dean Brennan from the Bay of Plenty and three more Juniors joining the Vortex Mini ROK support class.
In the other classes former KZ2 Masters champ and long-time class standard-setter Tom Curran came under serious fire at Te Puke and arrives in Auckland with points runner-up Jared Mackenzie and Te Puke winner Steve Brown breathing down his neck. Add in Aucklander Mark Lane (third at Te Puke) and veteran Nelson ace Grant Kugener (fourth) and you have the makings of another epic encounter.
As he was last year, Garry Cullum remains the class of the KZ2 Restricted field though Connor Adams and Gerhard Benedie edge closer with each round.
Recently re-crowned class NZ Schools champion Ryan Wood from Wellington continues to set the pace in the Vortex Mini ROK support category, though Fynn Osborne from Hamilton and Billy Frazer from Auckland’s KartSport Mt Wellington club remain within striking distance.
There’s certainly plenty at stake with just two rounds of the ProKart Series to go, with the first three series placegetters overall in the Cable Systems KZ2 and KZ2 Masters classes winning entry to Australia’s big Stars of Karting meeting in Queensland in October and the winner of the Vortex Mini ROK class winning an entry at the final round of the Australian championship meeting in Geelong later that month.
This year’s ProKart Series is again twinned with the Logitech New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge, with over 100 karters from as far afield as Dunedin and Whangarei making the trip to Auckland to compete across the two series over the weekend.
There will be action at Strata Networks Raceway on both days this weekend with qualifying and the first heat on Saturday and the subsequent heat, Pre-Final and Final on Sunday.
This weekend’s round of the 2015 ProKart Series is the fifth of six with the KartSport Hamilton club hosting the final at AgriSea Raceway (Mystery Creek) over the September 12-13 weekend.