Pukekohe ace Emerson Vincent was again the top Kiwi karter at the latest round of Australia's Rotax Pro Tour, finishing third in the Micro Max class at Bolivar in South Australia on Sunday.
Vincent, 7, qualified fifth but claimed a win and two second places in the heats and second place in the Pre-Final, before crossing the finish line third behind 2016 title rivals Sebastian Ruiz and Harry Arnett in the Final.
Connor Davison from Hamilton was next best of the Kiwis with a fourth place finish in the Mini Max class. Then came Samuel Wright from Auckland (eighth in Junior Max Trophy), and Wellingtonians Rianna O'Meara-Hunt (eighth in Junior Max) and Madeline Stewart (ninth in Rotax Light).
Matthew Payne from Pukekohe, and Ashleigh Stewart from Wellington, also did well. Payne qualified 10th in the Junior Max class and claimed a heat-best finish of seventh before finishing 11th in the Pre-Final and 13th in the Final.
Ashleigh Stewart qualified 13th in Rotax Light and claimed a heat-best eighth before crossing the line 12th in her Pre-Final and 14th in the Final.
At just her third event in Australia, Rianna O'Meara-Hunt's eighth place in the Junior Max Final was a stand-out for the Wellington teen who said from the track that she was…"very happy to be making good gains every time we come away and to be able to see improvements in my driving."
On the way she qualified 11th, finished ninth in the first heat, tenth in the second and fourth in the third then seventh in the Pre Final.
The Stewart sisters, Madeline and Ashleigh, enjoyed the challenge of competing at a new track, though both were 'a bit disappointed' with their Final placings.
Their father, Tony Stewart explains;
"Madeline had a pretty good qualifying and started the heats in fifth, but Ashleigh did not get the best out of the new tyre and only qualified 13th. Her (Ashleigh's) race pace was much better, however, resulting in her starting 10th in the Pre-final.
"Madeline had a deflating tyre in Heat 1 which gave her a bad finish meaning she ended up starting the Pre-Final in sixth.
"The cold morning caused a couple of people to foul plugs in the roll up lap at the start of the Pre-Final. Ashleigh was one of the victims but managed to get her engine to clear and took the start but from the back of the field. She managed to move up to 12th.
"Madeline started (the Pre-Final) on the outside and got caught up at the start but managed to come back to sixth.
"The track was a bit shorter and tighter than the tracks we normally race at in Australia and the first corner delivered drama in every race. Madeline and Ashleigh both started on the outside in the Final and went backwards at the start.
"Madeline managed to climb back up to sixth and caught the fifth placed kart but got stuck and was not able to move forward. That effect was to be backed up into the next bunch also recovering from a bad start so she ended up ninth.
"Ashleigh just could not recover from her start, she took a few laps to get back on the pace and although her lap times were competitive, the field was so close she could not move forward and finished 14th.
The winner of the DD2 class, Joshua Car, won both the Jason Richards Cup (for his DD2 class win) and the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy, for upholding and possessing the values, personality and mateship that the late Jason Richards, himself displayed
Richards was born and raised in Nelson and was a multi-time South Island and New Zealand Sprint Kart champion before making the move to cars here then in Australia.
The weekend's round of the 2016 Rotax Pro Tour in South Australia was the fifth of seven with the sixth at Puckapunyal in Victoria at the end of August and the Grand Final meeting at Dubbo in New South Wales over the October 01-02 weekend.