Kiwi ROK category karters Josh Parkinson, Kaden Probst, Tom Bewley and Jacob Douglas have enjoyed a strong build-up to this year’s ROK Cup International Final meeting being held at the South Garda Karting track in northern Italy this week and weekend.
At the second Autumn Cup meeting at the same circuit last weekend all four qualified for and raced in their A Finals, Parkinson in the Junior ROK class, Probst, Bewley and Douglas in Mini ROK.
That is a first for a Kiwi group. The quartet did it in style too.
Parkinson, consistently one of the quickest drivers in the 75-strong Junior ROK field, qualified second and started the A Final from P4 before crossing the line in P12 then being upgraded to P10 as time penalties were levied on other drivers.
The three other young Kiwis competed in the Mini ROK class which attracted 97 entries.
Kaden Probst from Auckland ended up the best of the trio in their A Final, working his way up 10 places to finish 19th. Before that he had qualified 21st and ran as high as 7th in his heat races and started the Final from P29.
Tom Bewley from Havelock North in Hawke’s Bay qualified 24th and had a best heat finish of 8th before ending up 29th in the A Final. After issues in qualifying which saw Jacob Douglas classified 50th before the heat races, the young Christchurch driver made it up from his P17 start to P6 in his first heat race, then P8 in the second to start the A Final from P16.
From there he got shuffled back to 30th spot but like his compatriots he was upbeat heading into this weekend’s ‘main event,’ the annual ROK Cup International Final.
The annual ROK Cup International final meeting is one of the biggest manufacturer-based events on the global karting calendar. This year’s will be the 16th with 441 karters from 54 countries set to contest Vortex ROK category titles across five different classes.
This year’s event will also be the fifth at which New Zealand has been represented. Ryan Wood from Wellington started the ball rolling in 2014, and Billy Frazer from Pukekohe made the trip in 2015. In 2016 four drivers – Breanna Morris, Joshua Parkinson and Mason Potter from Auckland, and William Exton from Picton – contested the meeting, while last year three – Jacob Douglas, Logan Manson from Levin, and Kaden Probst – flew the Kiwi flag at the Italian event.
Jacob Douglas won his prize drive as the 2018 NZ Sprint Mini ROK Champion, Tom Bewley earned his for winning the 2018 ROK Cup NZ Series Mini ROK class, while Joshua Parkinson won his drive at the 2018 National Schools Championships in the new Vortex ROK DVS Junior class. Kaden Probst managed to gain a wild card entry through his participation in Mini ROK class racing in both NZ and Australia.