A 100+ entry bodes well for the 2018/19 Manawatu & TRC Toyota WPKA Goldstar KartSport Series as it roars back to life in Hawke’s Bay this weekend after a cracking start in Taranaki late last year.
In a strong sign that the annual lower North Island series is now considered a ‘must-do’ by ambitious drivers from throughout the country, it was current South Island class title holder Louis Sharp and fellow Christchurch driver Isaak Fletcher who won their respective classes at the first round – hosted by the KartSport Taranaki club at its Todd Energy Raceway on Sunday November 18 last year – and the talented Mainland duo are back to defend their early season points leads in the Hawke’s Bay on Sunday.
Sharp was simply too good for his North Island counterparts in the Vortex Mini ROK class at the opening round, winning four of his five heat races as well as the standalone class Grand Prix.
In the Cadet ROK class, meanwhile, Fletcher shared the spoils with 2018 South Island title holder Arthur Broughan from Blenheim.
Fletcher claimed the class win with three wins from five heats with Broughan second, while Broughan won the Cadet ROK class Grand Prix race with Fletcher second.
Another current South Island class champion, William Exton from Picton, won the Rotax Junior Grand Prix race from round class winner, Jackson Rooney from Palmerston North.
In other classes several drivers joined with Louis Sharp in doing the class/GP double, including Palmerston North pair Nelson Hartley in Open, and Ashley Higgins in 125cc Rotax Max Heavy, local pair Brad Still from New Plymouth in the new Vortex ROK DVS Senior class, and Derek Lawrence in ClubSport 120, as well as Wellington drivers Brent Melhop (Briggs LO206 Senior) and Ben Stewart (Vortex ROK DVS Junior).
Louis Sharp will certainly have his work cut out this weekend though, if he is to maintain his winning run in the Tricky Tree & Supreme Kart Supplies-backed Vortex Mini ROK class.
The 20-strong entry is packed with the country’s finest 9-under-13-yr-olds including top local driver Tom Bewley, Emerson Vincent from Pukekohe, Ollie Workman from Nelson, and Manawatu foursome, Kiahn Burt, Blake Dowdall, Hugo Neale and Judd Christiansen
The 21-strong Burne Aluminium-backed Rotax Junior class is also packed full of talent with Auckland’s Liam Sceats set to go up against Rnd 1 class GP winner William Exton from Picton, and top local driver Riley Spargo.
It is difficult to go past Mainland pair Izaak Fletcher and Arthur Broughan in the ERS Karting Wellington & Supreme Water Jet Cutting-sponsored Cadet ROK class, while the Higgins brothers, James (Higgins Concrete 125cc Rotax Max Light) and Ashley (Gary Douglas Engineers Ltd 125cc Rotax Max Heavy) will again be hard to beat in their respective Senior classes.
Practice for this weekend’s Goldstar round is on Saturday with racing on Sunday. It’s not too late to enter this round or the rest of the series for that matter, with entries taken on Saturday if necessary.