|press release||15 February 2017|
Henry Johnstone, at just 15 years of age, competed in the KZ2 class in the first round of the Australian Karting Championship at Newcastle last weekend.
Henry also had to cope with extremely hot conditions of around 50 degrees. “It was so tough in that heat, but you just had to put it out of your mind and get on with it!”
Above: Henry on the Newcastle start grid (pic - Pace Images)
And get on with it Henry certainly did!
Only getting in to the KZ for the first time after Christmas and with only four test days, two at Todd Road and two in Newcastle, Henry was a little off the pace in practice on Friday.
“I was getting faster with each practice but we needed more from the kart and from me. And I was still figuring out how to get the best out of the new tyres when we put them on.”
Henry qualified in 21st position on Saturday “I was a bit disappointed, I was hoping to be around 16th but when I looked at the times I saw I was getting closer to the front runners’ times so that’s a positive”.
“I was a little nervous about the start for Heat One, I had watched many of them but it is completely different being out there and I stalled on the start, we rolled around again and then Aaron Cameron stalled so I didn’t feel so bad that somebody with so much experience stalled too.”
(pic - Pace Images)
Henry had an amazing start in Heat One avoiding a few accidents and stalled karts “It was crazy but so much fun. The nerves were gone and with the good start I was in 16th position and ended up finishing in 13th which I was so happy about. In Heat Two I finished in 11th position which I was stoked about.”
Starting 13th in the Final Henry’s kart bogged on the start and he didn’t get a great start like he did in all the previous heats. “I was not happy with my start, I dropped back but made my way through the field to finish in 14th with the 11th fastest lap time of the race, I never imagined at the start of the weekend I would be that close to the experienced KZ drivers. Unfortunately, I was given a drop down bumper penalty which pushed me back to 18”.
Henry’s dad, Mark Johnstone, who also is the owner of Anarchy Kartsport was very impressed with his son’s performance. “Before the weekend I was hopeful we would be finishing around 18th position as Henry has not had that much seat time in the KZ, and Henry and I are still figuring out the kart and the set up. When I saw him out there racing with such experienced guys I was so impressed and so proud, and was ecstatic about him finishing 13th in his first ever race.”
“I would like to thank my Dad for not stopping all weekend in that ridiculous heat, to my Mum for trying to keep me cool, fed and hydrated all weekend and to my sponsors Pace Images and Anarchy Kartsport”.
The next National Round will be at Geelong which is where Henry started racing. “I am looking forward to going to a track I know and I am positive I can improve on my Newcastle results, I will also be going to Dubbo in March to compete in the KZ2 NSW Championship to get some more race experience with the new drop-down bumper system, and to also practice my starts.”
Above: Henry plucking gears (pic - Pace Images)