The Bend Motorsport Park’s multi-purpose karting precinct had its first test today with the Rotax Pro Tour getting underway in changeable weather conditions.

The competitors, that have traveled from around Australia and New Zealand for the event have put on a terrific display of motor racing despite the fact they faced everything from perfect, dry weather running to blinding rain and blustery wind throughout the course of the day.

In a breakthrough performance in Rotax Light, Pacific Kartsport’s Michael McCullogh managed the clean sweep of the day, taking the pole position and all three heat races.

Kiwi Praga Karts star Josh Hart, who has won two rounds and was in with a mathematical chance of making ‘Team Australia’ for the Rotax Max Grand Final Challenge in Brazil in November ended the day with two seconds and a fifth - enough for him to gain points on the man he’s chasing - JC Kart’s Reece Cohen while Series leader, Ben Jurczak extended his Series lead with a trio of strong performances.

Marcello Surace had one of his best performances in the Rotax Pro Tour including his first ever third place - his highest ever Pro Tour finish.

In the premier Junior category - Junior Max - Bailey Sweeney got through for his maiden win, taking two heat races along with Series leader, TWM’s Jaiden Pope.

Kiwi Tom Williamson Motorsport pilot, Jackson Rooney set the tone for his day with a pole position and was rarely outside the top three, others to impress included Top Gun Racing’s Taylor Hazard and Luke Pink.

In DD2, Cody Brewczynski took two wins in his Velocity Kart Shop CompKart in his first attempt in the category, whilst youngster Jac Preston got through for a heat win in incredibly wet conditions.

Damian Ward, who was at the point of the Race to the Worlds coming into the weekend, is well and truly in the hunt as well.

In DD2 Masters, Scott Howard ended with two race wins and a non-finish after a solid day at the office on the world’s newest karting circuit. The Queenslander relished the opportunity to take on the challenging 1117 metre layout.

Victorian, Ashley Seaward crossed the line first in the third heat but later received a bodywork penalty dropping him to third.

Kris Walton in the ZedCorse CompKart won the second heat, while World Champion Troy Woolston has been largely outside the top three, Trevor Whitby and Terry Hanly have been among the front runners on occasion in a wide open category where just about everyone has struck trouble at some point during the day.

Runaway Series leader, Costa Toparis is well in control of Mini Max. Making the shift to BirelART ahead of this weekend has seen Toparis possibly look even stronger - taking three dominant wins throughout the course of the day.

B&A Karting’s Aiva Anagnostiadis is looking to score her first Rotax Pro Tour podium this weekend and is showing determination to achieve that goal with a trio of front-running finishes. Also up the front is Sebastian Ruiz and Kiwi Sebastian Manson - who has made the most of a poor qualifying performance.

FA Kart driver Paul Rodgers has made the most of the conditions - which for the most part were terrible - for each Rotax Heavy race, taking three heat wins. He had a spirited fight with South Australian Andrew Cash in the third heat, while aside from that Rodgers - who successfully made the move to Heavy at the last round - was largely untouched throughout the day.

Pro Karting’s Lukas Janev has shown some strong pace throughout the course of the day as has Ben McMellan and the returning AWC Motorsport Academy driver, Tasmanian Ben Walter.

In Micro Max, the youngsters have been typically entertaining. Jaxson Burns had the honour of being the first ever race winner on The Bend’s karting circuit, taking victory in the last corner from Max Walton.

Other wins were taken by Peter Bouzinelos - who won a rain-soaked race on slick tyres aboard his Sera Driver Development kart - and James Anagnostiadis who won his first ever Pro Tour heat race.

Series contender Jake Rutkowski has had an up and down day, allowing Bouzinelos to eke out more of a lead heading to the Finals tomorrow - which will prove crucial for who will represent Australia at the World Finals in Brazil.

Racing starts tomorrow morning at The Bend at 8am. If you can’t attend the new Tailem Bend circuit in person, you can watch the free livestream at