Top Kiwi karter Dylan Drysdale is in the box seat in the KZ2 class heading into the second round of this year’s SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol Edge at Wodonga in rural Victoria this weekend.
Despite a shower of rain effectively sabotaging his qualifying efforts the Sydney-based 18-year-old finished a fighting fourth at the opening series’ round in South Australia in February.
For much of the Final he was battling with Patrizicorse/Ricciardo Kart teammate (and regular New Zealand visitor) Troy Loeskow for second place behind eventual race winner Aaron Cameron.
Loeskow eventually got the better of his Kiwi counterpart but Drysdale was still a contender for the final podium spot until top Australian driver Pearce Lehane found a way past in the closing stages, leaving Drysdale fourth.
Also expected to feature at the pointy end of the 34-strong KZ2 field this weekend is top Australasian female karter, Madeline Stewart from Wellington.
Stewart, 16, had a weekend to forget at the opening Aust. Kart Championship round at Monarto in South Australia, but headed back across the Tasman this week buoyed by her pace – and second place in the KZ2 class – at the 2018 Giltrap Group KartSport NZ National Sprint Championship meeting at Rotorua over the Easter weekend, and the fact she will be driving a new Kart Republic kart this weekend.
“Kart Republic is a new chassis brand from Dino Chiesa who previously designed the Zanardi Kart,” Madeline’s father Tony said this week.
The brand ran for the first time in Australia in the X30 class at the opening Aust. Kart Championship round at Monarto, but this weekend will see Madeline Stewart give it its KZ2 class debut.
While it is always a risk changing chassis brands Tony Stewart says that it showed ‘real promise’ in testing last month.
Madeline’s older sister Ashleigh, who now lives and goes to University in Melbourne, is also back for more, in her case in the X30 class where she will be race-fit having just competed at the opening round of the Victorian State Championships last weekend.
The other two Kiwis who have crossed the Tasman this week to compete at the Albury-Wodonga Kart Club’s track are Kaden Probst from Auckland in Cadet 12 and Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington in KA1.
Probst qualified 19th and showed both pace and maturity to storm through to a weekend best 15th (out of a Cadet 12 class entry of 56) in the Final at the opening series round at Monarto.
O’Meara-Hunt, however, had a shocker of a weekend with multiple engine issues, which meant she didn’t even get to start the KA1 Final. So she is hoping for a better run at the second round.
This year’s Australian Kart Championship is being contested over five rounds with the next at Newcastle in May.
2018 Australian Kart Championship
Rnd 1: Monarto SA Feb 23-25
Rnd 2: Wodonga VIC April 13-15
Rnd 3: Newcastle May 25-27
Rnd 4: Emerald NTH QLD July 27-29
Rnd 5: Todd Rd Melb VIC Aug 31-Sept 02