Early last decade, Blackwater local John Martin was one of Australia’s brightest young kart racers showing tremendous talent behind the wheel.
Martin raced at the highest level of the sport in Australia for several years before moving into circuit racing where he competed on some of the world’s iconic circuits in some of the world’s most iconic races – including the LeMans 24 hour.
This weekend the 33-year-old is turning back the clock and returns to the pinnacle of Australian karting – the Australian Kart Championship presented by Jayco and Castrol EDGE.
It is the first time a round of the five-event championship has been held in Emerald on a circuit that is less than 30 minutes where Martin has spent the majority of his life.
“It’s a bit surreal really, to be able to race at the highest level of karting Australia without having to travel a minimum of eight hours is something I’ve never experienced before,” said Martin.
“Showcasing the top level of karting to everyone in Central Queensland is going to be very exciting for everyone and I look forward to the local community getting behind it.”
Martin, who will line up in the KA1 class, believes the speed of the karts on the 1005m circuit, along with the set-ups in the pit area will impress the spectators.
“It was always hard to get people to understand that we weren’t racing ‘billy karts’ made in the back shed. By having the championship come to Emerald it will really showcase how impressive the sport of karting really is,” said Martin.
“The speed is probably the one thing that is hard to grasp until you see the racing for yourself. We’ll have drivers as young as seven racing at in excess of 80kmh while the senior drivers will crack 140kmh – it’s super impressive and intense.
“To have more than 200 competitors working out of everything from trailers to 40 foot semis that would fit right in at a Supercars event, it is going to be a great sight.”
Teams and drivers began arriving for the event last week for pre-event testing while official practice kicks off on Friday morning. Qualifying and the heat races will be contested from 8am on Saturday ahead of the finals on Sunday.
Admission for spectators is free. The Emerald kart circuit is located behind the AgGrow Fields on Capricorn Highway.