Southland-based Nixon Cripps is one of the most travelled karters in the country, and if his continued success in the WPKA Goldstar Kart Series is anything to go by, then he will quickly reach frequent flyer status.
The eight-year-old Cripps enjoyed two wins and second place overall, as well as second in the Grand Prix in Cadet ROK class, in the second round of the development series at KartSport Wellington’s Gazley Raceway in Kaitoke.
Cripps, who turns nine next week, is in a close second place overall in the series behind fellow Southland Club karter Braxton Kraayvanger, who is now based in Waikato.
The Cripps family decided to bring Nixon north for the first round of the series in Taranaki for some experience in bigger fields, but he has proved more than a handful as he and Kraayvanger finished round 1 on equal points for the class with Nixon winning on countback.
Cripps is part of the successful Tasman Karts team run by Brendon Gridley, who prepared the kart and took it to Wellington, with the Cripps flying up. They are hopeful of developing a second kart so one can remain permanently at Tasman Kart’s base in Nelson to avoid the arduous road trip to the North Island.
They will return for the final round of the series in Hawkes Bay and the WPKA Championships final Manawatu.
“We only introduced Nixon to karting at the local club events just for fun,” said mother Diana. “He loved it and showed he was quite talented.
“We started just at the Southland track and then started to venture around the bottom half of the South Island and then we decided to try the WPKA series with no expectations at all. Nixon just took to it and was really competitive.”
He and Kraayvanger enjoyed two wins each in the Cadet ROK class at the weekend with Kraayvanger taking the class win and with Nixon second on points.
The Vortex ROK DVS Junior proved hugely competitive with Canterbury’s Dylan Jessop grabbing two wins and overall honours while Lochiel McGregor (Nelson) won the Grand Prix.
Blenheim’s William Exton was on fire in the Rotax Max Light, claiming all five heat wins and the Grand Prix in a superb performance with Tyler Edney claiming the minors.
Wellington’s Ian Smith, with four wins from five races, dominated the 4-stroke Briggs & Stratton-powered LO206 category while Conrad Knight and fellow Eastern Bay of Plenty karter Steve Muggeridge split the spoils in the Clubsport 120 class.
Sunday’s racing witnessed a hugely competitive battle from the Vortex Mini ROK, which attracted 21 entries. Four different drivers enjoyed wins, most by the narrowest of margins, with current National Sprint Champion Zach Tucker from Christchurch earning the round win four podiums after battles with Marco Manson (Auckland), Miles Baker (Hamilton) and Henry Fisher (Christchurch).
It was equally tight in the Rotax Max Junior category where Hawkes Bay karter Tom Bewley enjoyed three wins to win on countback from Manawatu’s Kiahn Burt with Christchurch’s Isaac Fletcher enjoying four podiums.
Multiple karting champion Jacob Cranston (Palmerston North) was in imperious form in Vortex ROK DVS, with four wins and a second placing to win the round ahead of Jamie van den Berk while Nik Kiser was equally dominate in the Open division.
First round leader Ashley Higgins (Palmerston North) extended his series lead after winning the Rotax Max Heavy category with two wins and two podiums to edge brother James and BOP’s Adam Bell.
The racing concluded with some of the fiercest battles for the Grand Prix honours with Bewley edging Burt and Isaac Fletcher with less than half a second separating the trio in the Rotax Junior GP, while Kiser edged George Sampson and Louise Rawson in a photo-finish in the Senior GP. The VMR GP was also a closely fought affair with Hamilton’s Miles Baker pipping Tucker and Manson.
Attention turns to the third round of the WPKA Goldstar Series set for Hawkes Bay of 7 and 8 May which leads to the WPKA Championships in Manawatu on 4 and 5 June.