2018 Team Australia Tickets on display at The Bend Motorsport Park.

2018 Team Australia Tickets on display at The Bend Motorsport Park.

Australia has announced its team of drivers set to take on the World at the Rotax Max Grand Final Challenge in Brazil at the end of November in a gala presentation at the world’s newest motorsport complex, The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia.

In all, 12 Australians will jet off to Brazil to defend the Nations Cup at the Grand Final Challenge with 11 being announced last night and the final Rotax DD2 ticket to be awarded at the annual Gold Coast 600 Race of Stars in the middle of October.

The Boarding Passes that were awarded after Australia’s qualification events – the Rotax Pro Tour are as follows:

Micro Max – Jake Rutkowski
Mini Max – Costa Toparis
Junior Max – Jaiden Pope, William Seal
Rotax Max – Joshua Hart, Ben Jurczak
DD2 – Ryan Kennedy, Damian Ward, plus Race of Stars qualifier
DD2 Masters – Trevor Whitby, Terry Hanly, Ashley Seaward

It was also announced that Ryan Kennedy – who is heading to his fourth Rotax Max Grand Final Challenge – will be the Team Captain.

In Rotax Heavy, Gold Coaster Lane Moore won the Series and a new Rotax Max FR 125 EVO Engine.

The evening also doubled as the presentation of the annual Jason Richards Memorial which is given to a driver in the Rotax Pro Tour that embodies the spirit of the late Supercars star, who was a good friend and sponsored driver of Australian Rotax importer, IKD.

The driver announced as the Jason Richards Memorial Award winner for this year was 16-year-old Rotax Light driver, Reece Cohen.

The evening, attended by 150 people, including The Bend Motorsport Park Managing Director and founder, Doctor Sam Shahin, brought to a close what had been a thrilling way to open The Bend’s Kart Stadium – the only Australian karting complex rated by the governing body CIK-FIA as being suitable internationally rated events.

Michael McCullouch became a first time victor in Rotax Light. The Kiwi put together the perfect weekend setting the pole position time and winning each race, including an emotion charged final when he passed fellow Kiwi, Joshua Hart on the last corner of the last lap around the outside.

Hart finished second thus securing the Series victory with Leigh Nicolaou completing the podium.

Jaiden Pope confirmed the Series win in Junior Max with a competition crushing performance. The Tom Williamson Motorsport driver put in arguably the drive of his young career to take the win by 4.7 seconds.

Jackson Rooney broke through for a hard fought second placing, while William Seal came from deep in the pack to complete a TWM trifecta and also scoring enough points to get himself into the Australian team.

Cody Brewczynski had a successful entry into the Rotax DD2 ranks, taking a solid win and the Jason Richards Cup. He beat home Exprit driver, Josh Behune and Ryan Kennedy who was charging hard in the back end of the race.

Kris Walton took the win in a tense DD2 Masters Final over Scott Howard and Jason Pringle. The win cemented second in the Series for Walton behind outgoing World Champion, Troy Woolston with Howard being awarded third in the Series overall.

Sebastian Manson took his first Rotax Pro Tour victory in Mini Max. The Kiwi was pushed all the way by a hard charging Series Champion, Costa Toparis. Toparis had been shuffled back in the order and pushed hard to get himself into second, however Manson had enough of a margin that he took the win comfortably.

Aiva Anagnostiadis had a breakthrough first podium in third position for B&A Karting.

Jaxson Burns had the honour of being the first trophy winner on The Bend Karting Stadium when he took victory in Micro Max. Peter Bouzinelos crossed the line in first position, however was later disqualified for a bodywork infringement.

Finishing second was Max Walton completing a ZedCorse quinella with Jake Rutkowski securing his trip to Brazil with third placing.

In Rotax Heavy, Paul Rodgers took a solid win in his FA Kart. He was pushed all the way by Series champion, Lane Moore. Moore, who didn’t have a handle on Saturday’s conditions started from the rear of the grid and charged his way forward. Soon in second, he started closing down on Rodgers’ lead but laps ran out in the end. Mitchell Branson took a hard fought third placing.

Thus brings to a close to the 2018 season of Rotax Pro Tour competition, with just the Race of Stars remaining to finalise the Australian team for the Brazilian event in November.