Kiwi KZ2 karter Matthew Payne has won on debut at the latest round of this year’s SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol Edge (AKC) in Far Northern Queensland on Sunday.
NZ KZ2 class #1 Payne 16, from Papakura returned from his European base in Italy especially for the round and – after class pace-setter, Patrizicorse teammate Troy Loeskow’s golden run ended with an engine issue early in the Final – found himself perfectly placed to hunt down and eventually pass for the lead, top local driver Jason Faint.
In June Payne joined an exclusive group of Kiwi karters who have qualified for and finished the Final at a round of the FIA European KZ2 championship, and mentor Daniel Bray says he could see the difference driving in Europe this and last year has made.
“Partcularly in his confidence in passing people. A year ago Matt might have been able to get up on (Jason) Faint, but not get past. “Today (Sunday) he has able to hunt Jason down and make a clean pass for the lead which for a guy who is still just 16 year-of-age is pretty special.”
Coincidentally Payne’s win was the second for a Kiwi driving a Ricciardo kart for the Patrizicorse squad in as many years with former NZ KZ2 class #1 Dylan Drysdale claiming pole position and the round win at the Emerald round of the AKC last year.
The other two Kiwis who made the long trip to Emerald, Ryan Wood from Wellington, and Liam Sceats from Auckland, also showed plenty of pace at the Emerald track.,
Wood worked his way forward from his qualifying place of p12 in the Iame X30 Senior class with a best finish in the Heats of P6 and a hard-won P7 in the Final.
Liam Sceats, meanwhile, made it as far up the field as P4 in Heat 4 in the premium Australian Junior category, KA2, for a P7 start to the Final only to complete just the one lap before being listed as a dnf.
The round of the 2019 SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol KC over the weekend at Emerald was the fourth of five with Melbourne hosting the final over the August 31/Sept 01 weekend.