Pro Tour points chase travels north to Queensland
Following a fiercely fought opening round of the 2016 Rotax Pro Tour that saw new winners and a raft of new names at the top of the order, this weekend spells the next challenge in the seven round National Series with the first visit of the year to Queensland with Warwick’s Sandy Creek Raceway playing host to round two, and if history repeats itself, the battles should be immense from the outset.
New Zealand’s Emerson Vincent and Sydney’s Sebastian Ruiz were the standout performers at the opening round in Micro Max. While the round win went by the way of the Kiwi, the experience of the Todd Road event for all the drivers will be to their benefit and will most assuredly see the field close up this weekend.
James Wharton and Kai Allen traded places on more than one occasion in Mini Max at the opening round with the pair sharing in the victories. While they enter the second round as the favourites to again be at the front of the field, local and reigning Rotax Max Australian Challenge series winner Bayley Douglas is on home soil for the first time and will be looking to go further to improve on his good start to the year. Douglas’ team mate and former Micro Max driver, Jack Westbury displayed a good showing in his first event in the class and will be another driver to watch.
Junior Max Trophy
The second season of Junior Max Trophy utilising the Intrepid Freedom chassis kicked off seeing New Zealand’s Jaden Ransley being the dominant driver at Todd Road. Both in the wet and dry conditions, Ransley proved to have the measure of the field, with Tasmania’s Callum Bishop stepping up from Mini Max, making a good showing as was Brodie Whitmore from Sydney. Queenslander Jaiden Pope has made the progression from Mini Max to Junior Max Trophy in 2016 and will be looking to back from his round win last season in Mini Max at Warwick.
Junior Max has again produced the largest field of the Pro Tour with over 40 drivers set to vy for the silverware at Warwick. The experience of Cody Brewczynski and Dylan Hollis is expected to help them be touted as the favourites of the weekend with Brewczynski having taken the round win at Todd Road. Jordan Pike displayed a good showing at the opening round, sitting third in the points after that event and will be looking to return to his good form this weekend. Junior Max Trophy graduate Matthew Payne will be high on confidence on the back of his round win at the opening event of the New Zealand Rotax Max Challenge last weekend in Palmerston North with Payne being joined by Pro Tour debutant and fellow Kiwi, Rianna O’Meara Hunt who will be under the watchful eye of her experienced driver coach, Arie Hutton on the weekend.
Rotax 125 Light
Cody Gillis proved to be the standout performer in the opening round in Rotax Light, taking his first round win in the series and thus enters the Warwick event as the favourite. With his team mate Joshua Fife showing good form to finish second, the pair will be looking to replicate their performance. Brad Jenner managed a hard fought podium following a flat tyre in qualifying at the opening round and is looking to capitalise and make amends this weekend, meanwhile Nicholas Andrews is on home soil and is a known strong performer at the Sandy Creek circuit.
Rotax 125 Heavy
With the win in the opening round for Rotax Heavy going to Shay Mayes, he enters this weekend as the favourite, however hot on his heels will be both Ben Ritchie who scored a podium and sits second and the Gold Coast’s Lane Moore who will be looking to replicate his efforts form Warwick last year where he took out the round win. The trio enter the event alongside Clem O’Mara as the major players in the category as well as the major contenders for victory.
The class and experience of drivers within DD2 has taken another step up in 2016 and that was seen by an incredible display of closing driving and fierce battles at the opening event. While Troy Woolston took out the victory in a commanding performance on home soil, backed up by fellow Victorian Jason Pringle who is defending his number one plate, Daniel Rochford appeared one of the standouts on debut in the class, taking a heat win. Brock Plumb and Ryan Kennedy showed glimpses of good form in Melbourne and will be hoping to make the most of a home state event this weekend to boost their chances in the points.
With points leader Daniel Richert not making an appearance at round two, it leaves Regan Payne who sits second and Todd Road round winner Kris Walton as the key drivers to watch in DD2 Masters in Warwick. The pair will be sure to have Queenslander’s Steve Ellery, Scott Howard and Klinton Hancey hot on their heels, looking for the top step of the podium while Lee Mitchener will again step in for double duties and be hopeful for a further move up the order this weekend.
Round two of the 2016 Rotax Pro Tour takes place at the Sandy Creek Raceway in Warwick, Queensland from February 26-28.
To follow either event online throughout the weekend, like Rotax Pro Tour on Facebook, follow Rotax Pro Tour on Twitter and tune into the live audio commentary via Ustream at www.rotax.com.au/streaming.html