It’s a headline which could have been written about Bruce and Wayne Anderson, the Whenuapai-based West Auckland brothers famous for their efforts behind the wheel of the PinePac Ford Mustang in the heyday of Group A saloon car racing here and across the Tasman in the 1980s.
Instead the headline celebrates a success as modern – almost – as tomorrow; the wins by two of Bruce’s grandchildren, Nathan and James, at the final round of KartSport New Zealand’s Simulator-based Tasman Kart Supplies-sponsored iKartSport & SIMSpeedTV-organised ‘Virtual Club Series’ held at a virtual Monza circuit in ‘Italy’ on Tuesday night.
The round marked the culmination of both the three-round Tasman Kart Supplies ‘virtual’ GT3 series and the end of what started out as a modest weekly attempt by KartSport New Zealand and corporate partners, the Giltrap Group and Carter’s Tyre Service, to keep its members thinking about racing during the COVID-19 Lockdown
Interest quickly blossomed, however, and the series soon developed a following of its own – and with it – the independent backing, first of Blenheim-based irrigation specialist Liquidaction, then Nelson kart shop Tasman Kart Supplies.
The buying power of the 447-strong iKartSport Facebook group that grew up around the weekly Sim meetings also prompted ferry booking portal Cook Strait Crossings to offer its support.
A chance remark about everyone only racing for ‘Chocolate Fish’ by one of the Kiwi commentators (which required a long and detailed explanation to Aussie counterpart David Sera) also prompted the local manufacturer of the candy, Cadbury, to ‘come to the party’ with product giveaways at latter rounds!
As fourth-generation members of West Auckland’s most famous racing dynasty, teenage brothers James and Nathan Anderson are fast making names for themselves on the Sim circuit, with 19-year-old James also contesting a round of the NTS V8 Evolution Championship Sim Series at a virtual Oulton Park circuit in the UK on the same night.
It was younger brother Nathan who ended up claiming the big prize, however, building on the form that the week before saw him finish second only to Supercars series champion and world-class Sim racer Shane Van Gisbergen in the first race of the evening, to qualify quickest and win the first (of 3) 8-lap races at Monza this week.
He then managed to avoid (most) of the drama in the reverse grid second (8-lap) race to harvest more valuable points by crossing the finish line in ninth place, before capping the night off with a storming late race run to second place in the final behind older brother James.
No other driver – out of the 50 who entered the three-round Tasman Kart Supplies GT3 Club Championship – had the combination of pole-setting and race-winning speed plus points-scoring consistency that the younger Anderson did.
The combination saw him claim the series title by a massive margin of 44 points – over top age-group Junior karter and fellow schoolboy Sim wizard Blake Dowdall, from Palmerton North, who ended up in second place in the series points standings, and 46 points ahead of third placed karter and single-seater car racer Braedan Snowden from Whangarei.
With clubs around the country now back running regular meetings again and a huge 162-karter turnout for the first major inter-regional meeting on the re-jigged KartSport New Zealand competition calendar – the final round of the 2019/20 Manawatu & TRC Toyota-backed WPKA Goldstar series in the Hawke’s Bay over the weekend – the next 3-round ‘Virtual Club Day/Chocolate Fish’ series will be run over six weeks, rather than 3.
As much as anything else, that is just a reflection on how busy everyone has suddenly become again since Lockdown says KartSport New Zealand President Graeme Moore.
‘There is certainly the mandate from our members to keep our own iKartSport meetings running. It’s just that the one thing competitors have been telling us is that they miss all the practise they get at a typical ‘real-world’ kart race meeting.
‘We’ve listened and taken what people have told us on board and come up with a plan to run our Sim meetings every second Tuesday with a dedicated evening for our members to practice amongst themselves every other Tuesday evening.”
The new series has a new sponsor – Dillon Photography – and is set to kick off next week with on-going support from KartSport New Zealand promotional partners Giltrap Group and Carter’s Tyre Service.
- Nathan Anderson (Audi R8)
- Travis Smith +0.099 (M-B AMG GT3)
- Izaak Fletcher +0.287 (BMW Z4 GT3)
- Paul Blomqvist +0.382 (Ferrari 488 GT3)
- Christian Hermansen +1.051 (M-B AMG GT3)
- Blake Dowdall +1.209 (M-B AMG GT3)
Race 1 (8 laps rolling start)
- Nathan Anderson
- Travis Smith + 2.431
- James Anderson +5.899
- Paul Blomqvist +15.819
- Braedan Snowden +24.373
- Callum Pratt +25.976
Race 2 (8 laps rolling start reverse grid)
- Matthew Griffin (M-B)
- Blake Dowdall (M-B) +0.792
- Wayne Phipps +15.586
- Kyle Dawson +17.833
- Arron Black +20.549
- Paul Blomqvist +21.616
Race 3 (8 laps Random Grid)
- James Anderson
- Nathan Anderson +5.003
- Kyle Dawson +5.154
- Izaak Fletcher +9.936
- Blake Dowdall +11.121
- Braedan Snowden +11.325
2020 Tasman Kart Supplies iKartSport 3-round GT3 Sim Series
1. Nathan Anderson 30 points
2. Blake Dowdall 74
3. Braedan Snowden 76
4. Daniel Harvey 89
5=. Tayler Bryant & Matthew Griffin 112
7. Mike Muir 117
8. Wayne Phipps & Shane McLeod 123
10. Osckaar Goldfinch 125