Mason Potter from Auckland and Emerson Vincent from Pukekohe got their 2017 ROK Cup NZ campaigns off to winning starts at the opening round at the KartSport Auckland club's very well supported (112 competitors) Microbe Cars sponsored City of Sails Two-Day Challenge meeting over Auckland Anniversary weekend.
Potter, who finished second in class in the Cadet ROK category last year, only won one of the five Vortex Mini ROK class races over the two-day meeting but he was second in two of the other four and finished no lower than fourth, giving him a crucial advantage when three-race winner Ayrton Williams ended up 16th in the final.
With all five race results counting for event points Potter came out on top from a similarly consistent Dylan Grant, with Williams third, Liam Sceats fourth, Heat 1 winner Zeal Jones fifth and Asten Addy sixth.
With key players in last year's title fight having move up an age bracket to the Vortex Mini ROK class, Emerson Vincent stepped up to the plate in Cadet ROK, winning four of the five races and finishing second in the other.
The only other race winner, Ashton Phipps, ended up second after a countback with Tom Bewley, and South Island champion, Louis Sharp, was fourth.
Rhys Tinney, meanwhile, stepped up with a win in the Pre Final and podium spots in the other four to claim overall KZ2 class honours from Taylor Harte and Logan Brown.
Former class winner and New Zealand representative Daniel Kinsman won three of the five Rotax Max Light races to beat Corey Green and Tom van Kan to the top spot in that class, while Masters competitor Garry Claxton enjoyed one of his most competitive recent outings in Rotax DD2, finishing third behind young guns C.J.Sinclair and Bond Roby.
Three wins from five starts were enough for Lee Sefton to get the better of Richard Macey and Mark Ongley in ClubSport 120, and for Ashton Grant to beat the cream of the country's emerging kart talent to take top Rotax Max Junior class honours from former ROK Cup NZ class winners and New Zealand representatives, William Exton and Joshua Parkinson.
ROK Cup NZ action now heads south with the second round of the 2017 series being run in conjunction with the annual KartSport New Zealand Sprint Nationals meeting, this year being hosted by KartSport Southland at Invercargill over Easter Weekend.
The event was the first big one for the new Dunlop DFH and Vega XM (KZ2 class) control tyres. Competitors generally gave both new tyres very favourable reports with a number of lap records lowered and/or closely matched.
The competitive life of the Dunlop DFH was particularly impressive.
- Ashton Grant qualified on pole in Rotax Max Junior with tyres at least 170 laps old. Ashton went on to win the event.
- Mason Potter qualified on pole in Vortex Mini ROK with tyres which had over 4 days of testing at various tracks over the holidays prior to the event. Mason went on to win the event.
- Dylan Grant qualified 4th in Vortex Mini ROK with tyres at least 170 laps old and went on to finish second in his class.
1. Rhys Tinney; 2. Taylor Harte; 3. Logan Brown; 4. Finley McLaren; 5. Aaron Wilson; 6. Andrew Hunt
125cc Rotax Max Light
1. Daniel Kinsman; 2. Corey Green; 3. Tom van Kan; 4. Keith Wilkinson; 5. James Higgins; 6. Jason Butterworth
1. C.J. Sinclair; 2. Bond Roby; 3. Garry Claxton; 4. Josh Hookway; 5. Warren Parris; 6. Hayden Jackson
1. Lee Sefton; 2. Richard Macey; 3. Mark Ongley; 4. Chris Smart; 5. Ezra Jackson; 6. Stewart Saunders
Rotax Max Junior
1. Ashton Grant; 2. William Exton; 3. Joshua Parkinson; 4. Brock Gilchrist; 5. Ryan Crombie; 6. Taylor Hurst
Vortex Mini ROK
1. Mason Potter; 2. Dylan Grant; 3. Ayrton Williams; 4. Liam Sceats; 5. Zeal Jones; 6. Asten Addy
1. Emerson Vincent; 2. Ashton Phipps; 3. Tom Bewley; 4. Louis Sharp; 5. Sebastian Manson; 6. Ollie Workman
2017 ROK Cup NZ
Points after Rnd 1 of 4
Vortex Mini ROK
1. Mason Potter 50 points
2. Dylan Grant 47
3. Zeal Jones 45
4. Asten Addy 44
5. Kaden Probst 43
6. Logan Manson 42
7. Bo Hill 41
8. Luke Thompson 40
9. Liam Pink 39
10. Kasey O'Donnell-Dawson 38
1. Emerson Vincent 50 points
2. Ashton Phipps 47
3. Tom Bewley 45
4. Louis Sharp 44
5. Ollie Workman 43
6. Jaxon Harvey 42
7. James Black 41
8. Jay Urwin 40
2017 ROK Cup New Zealand
Rnd 1: City of Sails meeting Auckland Jan 28-29
Rnd 2: NZ Sprint Champs Invercargill April 15-16
Rnd 3: Top Half Series Rnd 1 Bay of Plenty June 25
Rnd 4: NZ Schools Champs Marlborough July 15