Having now won the S1 stock moto class at the big Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix kart street race meeting in California for the past two years, the question heading into the 2017 meeting this weekend is, can Kiwi Matt Hamilton make it three in a row?
With fellow Christchurch drivers Tiffany Chittenden and young gun Jacob Douglas, Hamilton will be one of three Kiwis competing at Lancaster, north-east of Los Angeles, this weekend.
While he has enjoyed conspicuous success at kart events all over the world over a 20+ year career the annual Lancaster meeting, around a typically unforgiving street course, has been unusually good to multi-time NZ champion Hamilton.
In his debut there two years ago the Christchurch kart shop manager topped the premier S1 class time sheets in qualifying, finished second in the first heat race and third in the second before winning the Final (and main event) by just over a second from top US drivers Fritz Leesmann and Ron White.
On his return to defend that win last year he did even better, again topping the S1 class time sheets in qualifying before winning the first heat from Ron White and Billy Musgrave, the second from Jimmy McNeill and Musgrave, then Saturday’s main event from White and Carter Williams.
Tiffany Chittenden, Hamilton’s partner, also contested the event last year, qualifying eighth quickest in the S4 class then coming back from a mechanical dnf in the first heat to finish 11th in the second and eighth in the class Final on Sunday.
This year it is Jacob Douglas’s turn to make his debut at Lancaster. The 12-year-old, who won the New Zealand Vortex Mini ROK title at the 2017 KartSport NZ Sprint Championship meeting at Invecargill at Easter, is contesting the Mini Swift class to help prepare for the annual ROK Cup International meeting he will contest in Italy in a fortnight’s time.