Pint-sized Pukekohe driver Emerson Vincent was the top Kiwi finisher with third place in the Cadet 9 class Final at the third round of this year’s Australian Kart Championship in South Australia over the weekend.
The eight-year-old was the toast of the eight-strong continent of New Zealand karters competing at the meeting at Monarto south-east of Adelaide when he charged through the pack to claim the final podium spot after a weekend of ups and downs.
“He copped a 10-second time penalty in the first heat then had engine problems in the third (heat) on Saturday and the fourth on Sunday morning,” said his father Jody. “Each time he just picked himself up and got on with it though and really showed what he could do in the Final.”
One of the other Juniors in the squad, 11-year-old Liam Sceats from Auckland, was next best finisher with eighth place in the Cadet 12 class Final.
Describing it as a ‘strong finish to a positive weekend’ Liam’s father Simon said that bar a time penalty for a nose cone infringement in the fourth heat it had been a very satisfying performance from his son.
“It’s always harder on the kids who don’t get to practice at the track the weekend before like the Kiwis but it is what it is. You judge your weekend on how you progress so for Liam to go from qualifying 18th to finishing eighth in the Final, you’d have to call that a pretty fair weekend.”
Connor Davison from Hamilton also worked his way forward over the weekend, qualifying 22nd and after a 14th, two 16ths and an 18th in the heats topping off his weekend with 12th in the KA4 Junior class Final.
The other Kiwi Juniors at the event found it harder making headway, young Aucklanders Kaden Probst and Luke Thompson finishing 22nd and 28th respectively in the Cadet 12 class Final.
Both showed good pace but a mechanical issue and carb problem slowed Probst in qualifying and the Saturday heats, while a crash and subsequent bent chassis made it hard for Thompson on Sunday.
Now Melbourne-based Ashleigh Stewart did not have a great run in qualifying in the TaG125 class but ended up best of the Kiwi Seniors at the meeting with 13th place in the Final.
“Ashleigh had a few issues through the heats resulting in a 19th place start in the Final, but by that stage we had managed to solve the issues and she drove through to 13th which was good,” explained father Tony, ”
Younger sister Madeline also had a positive weekend in the KZ2 class, qualifying sixth and handling difficult track conditions in the Final to cross the finish line 16th.
“Madeline was able to carry her practice pace through to qualifying which was really great,” said Tony. “She made a mistake with her start and got a jump start penalty in the first heat which relegated her from seventh at the line to 13th and she got driven over in the first corner in the second which bent the steering. Then Sunday was a classic wet/dry day which made things difficult for everyone. In the Final the track was wet but looked like it would dry so the field went out on slicks only for it to rain again so Madeline did a great job in the circumstances to finish in 16th place.”
Finally, it was very much a case of ‘the one that got away’ for Dylan Drysdale in the X30 Senior class. The now Auckland-based Palmerston North driver qualified fourth quickest but had an up-and-down run through the heats with a high of second place in the fourth heat and low of three separate automatic 10-second nose cone infringement time penalties, two in the heats (which put him back from top six finishing spots at the line to 25th in the first heat and 23rd in the third) and the third in the Final.
Again, though he crossed the finish line in eighth in that race the time penalty relegated him to 21st.
Points-wise after three of the five rounds of the 2017 Australian Kart Championship Emerson Vincent is also the best of the Kiwis with ninth place in the Cadet 9 class standings. Dylan Drysdale is 11th in X30, Connor Davison 15th in KA4 Junior and Liam Sceats 18th in Cadet 12. Ashleigh Stewart is 26th in TaG 125, Madeline Stewart is 30th in KZ2, and Luke Thompson and Kaden Probst are 31st and 34th respectively in Cadet 12.
The fourth and penultimate round of this year’s Australian Kart Championship presented by Jayco and Castrol Edge will be held at Emerald in northern Queensland between July 21 and 23.
2017 AUSTRALIAN KART CHAMPIONSHIP
Rnd 1 – Newcastle (NSW) February 10-12
Rnd 2 – Geelong (VIC) March 31-April 2
Rnd 3 – Monarto (SA) May 26-28
Rnd 4 – Emerald (QLD) July 21-23
Rnd 5 – Port Melbourne (VIC) September 1-3