Quick North Shore, Auckland-based teenager Josh Richmond is the first Kiwi karter to take advantage of the joint Australia-New Zealand COVID-19 travel ‘bubble,’ crossing the Tasman this week to contest the third round of this year’s SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol Edge (AKC) at Bolivar in South Australia over the weekend.
Kiwi karters have been a regular feature of the multi-round AKC series since its inception in 2015, with a record 14-strong entry at the opening round of the 2020 series – also held in South Australia – in February last year,
Since then, however, the various COVID-19 Lockdowns meant that with subsequent rounds of the 2020 series either postponed or cancelled, as well as strict requirements for any Kiwis travelling to and from Australia to go into managed isolation facilities for two weeks each way, made it too hard for Kiwis to cross the Tasman to compete.
That all changed last week when the Australian and New Zealand governments agreed to MIQ-free travel between the two countries.
That agreement was all the encouragement Josh needed to book airfares to and from Adelaide and get himself to the airport and get on an aeroplane tomorrow (Thursday April 29).
“Obviously, there was a bit more to it than that, but that – in a nutshell if you like – is how it came about,” says his father Nigel.
“It’s not going to be particularly easy because Josh has never ever been to the Bolivar track before, let alone raced there in an Iame X30 class kart. He’s only going to get limited practice time before he goes into Qualifying, too!”
“In saying that he is running with one of the top teams over there, Tom Williamson Racing, so they should be able to see him right.”
This weekend’s round of the AKC has attracted close to 300 entrants across 8 different classes, making it the largest event run at the track in almost 20 years.