Kiwi Vintage Fans Head to Christchurch

Vintage Kart enthusiasts from all over New Zealand will be in Christchurch this weekend, celebrating the early days of the sport in this country at one of the biggest demonstration events so far held here.

With 145 karts entered across 7 different classes at the 3-day (Fri-Sun) Grand Prix Vintage Kart Event, and with many of the 130+ drivers entered bringing family members and interested friends with them convenor Fiona Hamilton says it could turn out to be one of the biggest meetings held at the Carrs Rd kart track for a number of years.

Christchurch karters Avon Hyde (#35) leads John Hamilton (#9) at Carrs Rd in a race in the early 1980s (pic – Hamilton family)

“Kartsport Canterbury is certainly extremely privileged to be able to run the event for Vintage Karting NZ and provide a platform for the karters to show off their restored karts,” she said.

Unlike classic car and/or motorcycle meetings where there is qualifying and first-to-the-flag racing, Vintage Kart meetings here are altogether more relaxed affairs, with ‘demonstrations’ rather than races the order of the day, as well as plenty of time before and after the various class demonstration runs for drivers to share banter and swap stories about what the sport was like ‘back in the day!’

At the Christchurch meeting the gates open first on Friday for documentation, scrutineering and tuning runs with Saturday and Sunday reserved for demonstrations for all 7 classes, the first karts on track from 9.30am each day.

Over the years Chirstchurch has produced some of the country’s top karters, with many set to make a long-anticipated ‘return to the saddle’ this weekend.


Included in that number are the likes of Mike Mitchell, Doug Drake, John Hamilton, Denis Perry, Paul Crichton and Robyn Wilkinson. Several equally well-known sons will also be demonstrating karts they have acquired and restored.

Amongst that number will be Matthew Hamilton, Mark Mitchell, Shane and Darren Drake, Craig Perry, Aaron and Darryl Crichton plus third-generation Jacob Mitchell, each of whom having competed all over the country and enjoyed Island and National success.

Current Christchurch-based kart internationals Tiffany Hamilton and Jacob Douglas, and Palmerston North’s Callum Orr will also drive at the meeting.

Though she says that each of the categories has its unique appeal, Fiona Hamilton reckons that if she could pick only one class to watch it would be Group 7 (aka ‘The Supers.).

“With 19 Supers (over 100cc) karts entered it will be a great spectacle. The super-fast ‘twins’ will definitely be a treat to watch.”