Reigning Australian KZ2 Champion Josh Fife will be the driver to beat at Round Three of the 2018 SP Tools Australian Kart Championship in Newcastle this weekend.
The Canberra teenager spent the first few months of this year based in Europe competing against the World’s best, before returning to dominate at Round Two of the Australian Championship in Wodonga.
Despite missing the opening round due to his European commitments, the Tom Williamson Motorsport driver’s performance in the previous round has seen him rocket into fifth place in the Championship standings. A good result this weekend will see him return to Championship contention, but he will face tough opposition from his opposition in the highly-talented KZ2 gearbox field.
Those likely to challenge Fife at speeds in excess of 130 km/h around the Cameron Park layout include Championship leader Aaron Cameron in his JC Kart, and Bundaberg’s Troy Loeskow, who dominated the corresponding round in 2017 aboard his Ricciardo Kart.
New Zealand Champion Dylan Drysdale, former Champion Chris Hays along with rising stars Mitchell Mackay, Henry Johnstone and Jay Coul could also be contenders near the front of the field.
Shamick Racing’s James Wharton made a stunning debut at the previous round to become the youngest driver to win a round of the elite junior class (KA2) in the history of the Championship.
After competing in England last weekend, Wharton landed back in Australia on Tuesday, before preparing for this weekend’s event.
A consistent start to the year sees South Australian Kai Allen atop the KA2 standings as the title chase nears the half way mark.
Queenslander driver Scott Sorensen is one win away from becoming the most successful driver in the history of the Australian Kart Championship. The two-time and reigning Champion is in a three-way fight atop the KA1 standings with Tasmanian Lochie Dalton and South Australian Josh Denton.
Sydney driver Cody Gillis will be aiming for three straight round wins in the X30 Class – as will be Victorian Matt McLean in KA3 Senior.
Kody Garland is riding high after claiming success in the previous round in the TaG 125 class, but he will face tough opposition from Championship leader Brendan Nelson and last round runner-up Jack Black – amongst others – this weekend.
A mere two points separates the top three drivers in the KA4 standings with Hugh Barter leading Rhys Smith and Fletcher Harris. Smith was victorious in Round One while Harris recovered after qualifying 34th to claim the win at Round Two.
In the classes for the youngsters, Queenslander Marcos Flack is leading Cadet 12 while Victorian Lewis Francis holds a handy points buffer in Cadet 9.
Teams and drivers will arrive in Newcastle tomorrow (Thursday) to prepare ahead of practice on Friday followed by qualifying and the heat races on Saturday. The finals will be contested from 11:30am on Sunday.
The Newcastle Kart Racing Club is located on the corner of George Booth Drive and Cameron Park Drive, Cameron Park. Admission is free for spectators.
Sunday will be featured in a live stream across the internet on www.karting.net.au and the Australian Kart Championship Facebook page.
View the official race program below: