High quality field ready for Rotax Pro Tour Gympie

Kosmic's Daniel Rochford, winner of the Final in Rotax Light at Todd Road, leading Arrow's David Sera and CRG's Pierce Lehane. Pic: IKD

After two exciting and intensely competitive rounds at Fairbairn Park in Canberra and Todd Road in Melbourne, the 2012 Rotax Pro Tour continues its national trek as it heads up the east coast and to the Cooloola Coast Kart Club in Gympie for its series debut this weekend.

The series resumes two months after an action packed event at the popular Todd Road circuit in Melbourne, held in stifling hot conditions for the second consecutive year. The meeting also provided the biggest number of overall entries the series has seen to date, with 172 drivers in six classes entered from across Australia and New Zealand.

In between Todd Road and the upcoming Pro Tour event in Gympie this weekend, a number of the Pro Tour competitors raced at the Victorian Open Sprint Kart Championships in Geelong on March 9-11. Rotax Light, Rotax Heavy and Junior Max were part of the Victorian titles and also counted towards the 2011/12 Rotax Rankings for each class. Daniel Rochford continued his good form from Todd Road to take out the Victorian title, despite initial opposition from CRG’s Pierce Lehane, who led in the early stages of the Final. Josh De Maio was not able to take up the fight between Rochford and Lehane and was content to finish third, ahead of Queensland’s Renee Gracie for Fujitsu Cool in fourth, Bradley Jenner in fifth and fellow Fujitsu Cool driver and World Finalist, Joey Mawson in sixth.

Rotax Heavy saw the end of Troy Woolston’s domination of the class to date, with the Australian champion beaten fair and squarely in the Final by Matthew Wall. The latter had a fascinating early race battle with Kerbrider’s Aaron Rintoul, before the Kerbrider pilot was unable to resist the pressure issued by Wall and lost the lead. Wall would cruise to victory from there, finishing ahead of Rintoul, Woolston, Daniel Richert and Brendan Nelson. In Junior Max, factory Exprit driver Joseph Burton-Harris put some of the troubles from Todd Road behind and claimed a comprehensive victory in the Final. It could’ve been Cameron Hill’s however, but an incident during the first start forced him out from the restart where the damage sustained was too great to continue. Burton-Harris took out Junior Max from Jake Klein, Jordan Boys, Todd Road winner Liam McLellan and Thomas Randle, whilst Andrew Kahl finished an uncharacteristic seventh. The win by Burton-Harris now elevates him to the lead of the Rotax Rankings in Junior Max, heading into this weekend.

A total of 155 entries across the six classes will converge on Gympie this weekend. The track itself, 890m in length, is unique in that it can be run both clockwise and anti-clockwise. For this weekend, the track will be run in clockwise direction. It’s mix of fast straights, undulations and twisty corners make the Gympie track a new and exciting challenge for the Rotax Pro Tour competitors and crews alike.

Rotax Pro Tour Gympie is hosted by the Cooloola Coast Kart Club this weekend, March 23-25 at 10 Runge Rd, Gympie. Entry is free for all spectators and a free BBQ on Friday afternoon, hosted by International Karting Distributors, promoters of the Rotax Pro Tour, will be held for all drivers, teams and spectators. Actions begins at 9am each day with qualifying and heat racing on Saturday and the Finals on Sunday. For those unable to make Rotax Pro Tour Gympie, fans can follow live updates on Twitter and Facebook.

Rotax Pro Tour Rankings: http://www.rotax.com.au/rankings.htm
Rotax Pro Tour Entry List: Click here
Rotax Pro Tour on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RotaxProTour
Rotax Pro Tour on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RotaxProTour