Mastering a sodden mix of weather and track conditions at a rain-lashed Coffs Harbour kart track over the weekend, Wellington teenager Ryan Wood is the latest Kiwi karter to claim a class win – and with it a State title – at a round of Australia’s Rotax Pro Tour.
In March, female compatriots Madeline Stewart and Rianna O’Meara-Hunt (both also from Wellington) made Australasian kart history with wins in both the Rotax Light (Stewart) and Rotax Junior (O’Meara-Hunt) classes at the second series’ round in South Australia.
Wood, 13, made it three wins for members of the travelling Kiwi contingent at the fourth of six rounds of this year’s ‘Tour series at Coffs Harbour on New South Wales’ central coast on Sunday.
He did it in style too, qualifying on pole on Friday before carding a 2-2-2 run through the wet heats (before racing was abandoned because of the rain) on Saturday. He then finished seventh in the Pre-Final in the dry on Sunday before battling his way to the closest finish of the weekend in the Final.
In it he won by just 0.034 a second to edge out top Australian driver Harrison Hoey with shootout and Saturday heat winner Broc Feeney third.
It was a good weekend, too, for the other Kiwi Juniors, with Rianna O’Meara-Hunt qualifying fifth and finishing fourth, and Sam Wright from Auckland qualifying third and finishing the Final in seventh place.
O’Meara-Hunt was a factor from the start of the Final, in fact, grabbing the lead for a lap from her starting position of P3 on the second lap, then taking it back from Reece Cohen for six laps through the second quarter.
However she was caught and slotted back to third on lap 12 by Wood and Hoey then lost another place (leaving her in fourth) two laps later when she was caught and passed by Broc Feeney who led the first lap but made a mistake and had to spend the rest of the race fighting his way back to the front.
Expat Josh Drysdale also impressed in the DD2 Senior class, qualifying third, then winning the three wet Saturday heats and finishing third in the Final on Sunday.
Wellington’s Stewart sisters Madeline and Ashleigh found the going tougher in the Rotax Light senior class.
Round two winner Madeline qualified 12th and after a flat tyre caused a dnf in the first heat came back to card a 14-15-20 run through the remaining heats and Pre-Final before crossing the finish line 13th in the Final.
Melbourne-based sister Ashleigh was never far behind, qualifying 20th and having a best heat finish of 13th before working her way up to 16th place in the Final.
The Puckapunyal track in rural Victoria hosts the fifth round of the 2017 Rotax Pro Tour over the August 05-06 weekend.