Karters from Auckland and all points south are set to celebrate a ‘return to (near) normality’ this weekend as the KartSport Hamilton club hosts the opening round of this year’s ProKart Series under a unified NZ-wide Level 1 COVID-19 alert level.
Over the past two weekends KartSport New Zealand officials and club members have successfully run major regional meetings in Invercargill, Dunedin and Wellington under a mix of Levels 1, 2 and 3 but it has been hard work and serious compromises have had to be made.
This is why Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement this morning that from midday today (Friday March 12) Auckland would join the rest of New Zealand at COVID-19 Alert Level 1 has been so warmly welcomed in KartSport circles all over the country.
“What it does is immediately take away several extra layers of stress that really no-one needs at a race meeting,” says KartSport New Zealand National President Graeme Moore.
“Our drivers can get on with the business of driving, our parents and care-givers can get on with the business of supporting their sons, daughters, grandkids, etc. etc. and probably most importantly, our officials and volunteers can get on and try and run the best possible race meeting they can; all without having to be looking over their shoulders all the time, checking on the exact number of people in the venue at any one time, or whether everyone who should be there is maintaining the correct social distancing at all times.”
Moore says that he is ‘very proud’ of the way everyone in New Zealand’s KartSport pulled together so that the meetings around the country could go ahead under the stricter Level 1/Level 2 mix.
And he is confident that this weekend’s big ProKart Series opener Hamilton would still be ‘all go’ even if the PM had left Auckland at Level 2 until – say -Sunday night or Monday morning.
‘Definitely, “Moore said this afternoon. “While the whole Covid-19 lockdown thing put the kibosh on the original choice of first round for this year’s ProKart Series (at the KartSport Manawatu club’s Manawatu Toyota Kart Raceway over the Feb 20-21 weekend) we have proved last weekend in Wellington and the weekend before in Dunedin that our people can successfully run major national meetings under Level 1 & 2 COVID-19 protocols.
“Just like the organisers of the Americas’ Cup this weekend in Auckland today and over the weekend, however, it is just better – and definitely easier – on everyone involved with the meeting with the whole country back on the same footing.”
The long-running annual ProKart Series was originally set up to showcase the country’s fastest Sprint karts, the purpose-built 6-speed gearbox-equipped KZ2 class machines.
Since then it has expanded its offering by adding Rotax Max, Vortex Mini ROK and Cadet ROK classes. COVID-19 willing, this weekend’s round at Hamilton should be the first of five across the North Island this year.