The fact that the KartSport Dunedin club was able to run the second day of the weekend’s annual Southern Series kart racing event on Sunday – despite the last-minute change in COVID-19 alert level from 1 to 2 – will go down as one of the biggest wins the sport has had since the appearance of the Coronavirus and impact the various Lockdowns have had on it.
After a successful first day (on Saturday) contesting the first day of competition at KartSport Southland’s Invercargill Oil Shop Kart Raceway, few among the 60 drivers and their immediate family members expected the news late on Saturday night that – in response to issues over a Community Cluster in far-off Auckland – the Government was about to raise lockdown levels – to 3 in greater Auckland, and to 2 across the rest of the country, for a period of 7 days…..from 6:00am on Sunday morning.
Though travelling to and from the track was not an issue the numbers at the track on Sunday would be in order to meet government Level 2 restrictions. So club president Mike Muir ‘rallied the troops,’ and by 10.45pm on Saturday night was able to post on the KartSport Dunedin club’s website that racing would indeed go ahead on Sunday despite the move to Level 2.
That said, some compromises had to be made to keep the numbers at the venue in line with government Level 2 restrictions…with only one parent or guardian for each Junior driver entered and all Senior drivers asked to turn up alone and work on their own karts for the day.
As Mike Muir said in the post; ‘This has been an incredibly hard decision to make – however, to complete this weekend’s event it is the only way we can continue.’
As it turned out with or without backup the cream rose to the top.
After winning all five Cadet ROK class heats, for instance, at Invercargill on Saturday, young Christchurch karter Henry Fisher went on to win three of the four heats at Dunedin to claim Southern Series honours from Jaxon Waugh and Jack McGrath.
Another talented young Christchurch wheelman, battle-hardened international Jacob Douglas, got better and better as the weekend went on, sealing a class win in the Rotax Junior category with back-to-back wins in the last two heat races at Dunedin.
Blenheim ace Arthur Broughan, meanwhile enjoyed a weekend to remember in the Vortex Mini ROK class winning four of the nine heats (two apiece at Invercargill and Dunedin) to lead home top Christchurch pair Zach Tucker and Izaak Fletcher.
Best of the Seniors, meanwhile, was top local driver Travis Smith who won 7 of the 9 Briggs LO206 Light class races over the two days to head off Nelson’s Tony Dyer and James Watson.
Just a single point, meanwhile, ended up separating the overall winner of the Briggs LO206 Heavy category, Taylor Gray, from runner-up Scott Watson.
Wins on both days at both tracks – 4 in all – gave Nelsonian Kevin Barker the winning advantage over Tony Rankin and Tim Earl in the 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class,
As far as close finishes were concerned it was the 125cc Rotax Max Light class which really delivered, just two points separating overall winner Harry Mcdonald from runner up Kohen Muir-Thomson and third placed Alex Patrick.
Finally, the Open class was won by Hamish Carpenter from Luca Burns, the later doing particularly well on Sunday by competing in two classes. Open and 125cc Rotax Max Light, where he finished 5th overall.
After the weekend’s Southern Series rounds in Invercargill and Dunedin, it is then the turn of the KartSport Marlborough and KartSport Nelson clubs to host the 3rd and 4th rounds of the 2021 HSD Mainland Series at their annual two-day/two-venue Sunbelts meeting over Queen’s Birthday weekend (June 05-06)
The final two-day round will then be hosted by the Christchurch-based KartSport Canterbury club at its long-running Garden City Championships two-day meeting at its Carr’s Rd kart track in late September (Sept 25-26).
- Hamish Carpenter; 2. Luca Burns; 3. Kim Smrekar; 4. Callissa Campbell; 5. Marco Schelp.
125cc Rotax Max Light
- Harry McDonald; 2. Kohen Muir-Thomson; 3. Alex Patrick; 4. William Neale; 5. Luca Burns; 6. Jaxon Harvey.
125cc Rotax Max Heavy
- Kevin Barker; 2. Tony Rankin; 3. Tim Earl; 4. Ian Carter; 5. Jamie Johnstone; 6. Nic Carter.
- Travis Smith; 2. Tony Dyer; 3. James Watson; 4. Logan Rasmussen; 5. Cody Watson; 6. Barrie Lay.
- Taylor Gray; 2. Scott Watson; 3. Anton Rasmussen.
Rotax Max Junior
- Jacob Douglas; 2. Blake Knowles; 3. William McDonald; 4. James Black; 5. Scott McLaren; 6. Dylan Jessop
Vortex Mini ROK
- Arthur Broughan; 2. Zach Tucker; 3. Izaak Fletcher; 4. Charlie Botham; 5. Levi McMillan; 6. Nickolas Cayford
- Henry Fisher; 2. Jaxon Waugh; 3. Jack McGrath; 4. Nixon Cripps; 5. Cooper Patrick; 6. Magni Whittle.