Confident Kinsman heads large Kiwi Contingent in Australia this weekend

Top Kiwi Daniel Kinsman (#31) is confident heading into the final round of the 2013/14 Australian Rotax Pro Tour this weekend. Pic: Rotax Pro Tour

Top Kiwi Daniel Kinsman (#31) is confident heading into the final round of the 2013/14 Australian Rotax Pro Tour this weekend. Pic: Rotax Pro Tour

A confident Daniel Kinsman heads a large Kiwi contingent contesting the final round of the 2013/14 Australian Rotax Max (kart) Challenge Pro Tour at Coffs Harbour in central New South Wales this weekend.

The multi-time former New Zealand champion has had an up-and-down Australian season but heads to this weekend’s Pro Tour final knowing he is as quick as his Australian counterparts in the premier 125cc Rotax Max Light class.

“I’m feeling very confident,” he said as he packed for the flight last night.

“I qualified third quickest at the last round and though, obviously, we had our issues after the crash in the first heat, we were quickest in the Final on our way to seventh place.”

Bolstering the usual New Zealand entry at rounds of the Pro Tour (Aucklander Kinsman and Wellington sisters Ashleigh and Madeline Stewart) are those of four other Kiwis, brothers Josh and Dylan Drysdale from Palmerston North, and Aucklanders Snow Mooney and Aarron Cunningham.

Ashleigh and Madeline are contesting the one-make (chassis) Junior Trophy class with Madeline ranked eighth in the series points standings and Ashleigh just outside the top ten. The pair agree that the season has been one of learning but say they are enjoying the experience all the same.

“It’s really tough to arrive at a new track on Friday and with only limited practice get on the pace for qualifying,” says Madeline.”

I’ve not qualified as well as I would have liked which has made it much harder to get a good result. Luckily we’ve managed to improve through the heats and Pre-Final so I’ve had some Final results that have been quite good.”

Ashleigh hasn’t been far behind but admits that with the quality and depth of competition, not to mention staying on top of the kart’s chassis set up, it is hard work.

“With everyone competing in the same karts with only limited set up options, the competition is very close. Having less set up options actually makes it harder to get a good set up. You’ve got to get everything right because you can’t just put a different axle in or change the hubs.”

Dylan Drysdale, fresh from a class – and school – win at the Toyota Racing New Zealand-sponsored KartSport NZ National Schools’ championship in Palmerston North last weekend, is contesting the Junior Max class, while older brother Josh will be in the DD2 class, Mooney and Cunningham in DD2 Masters.

This weekend marks the start of a major overseas campaign for Cunningham, last year’s Rotax Max Challenge New Zealand Heavy class winner, who in August will travel to the United States to contest a round of the SuperKarts USA Pro Tour, and in September will be back in Australia for the Rotax Nationals meeting at Ipswich.

The DD2 kart differs to those used in the Rotax Light and Heavy classes in that it has a two-speed transmission. Though the category is not run in New Zealand it is very strong in Australia so Cunningham’s attitude is ‘when in Rome!’

“Yes, ” he said this week, “it’s really just taking advantage of an opportunity. Over there (Australia) the Heavy class is not really a feature anymore. Most of the top drivers have moved to DD2 or DD2 Masters and the fields in both classes are incredibly tough.”