New Zealand karting trio competitive at Australian Championships
A trio of young kiwi karters enjoyed top-10 aspirations for much of the latest round of the SP Tools Australian Kart Championships in Victoria over a wet weekend across the Tasman.
Nathan Crang, making his return across the Tasman in the KZ2 class, and the 10-year-old pair of Miles Baker (Hamilton) and Marco Manson (Auckland), produced some enterprising performances in the cold conditions at Hume International Raceway, around 100kms north of Melbourne.
Crang, the N-Zed Motorsport driver from Auckland, finished ninth in the final of the elite KZ2 class after being on the pace throughout the weekend. He qualified 14th but pushed through to 11th in the first heat, seventh in the second, ninth in the third, dropped to 18th in the fourth before finishing ninth in the final. He started 10th on the grid in the final, and was pushed back to 12th but fought his way into the top 10 to put together a consistently competitive campaign.
Manson found his pace from the get-go in the wet conditions, qualifying seventh in the Cadet12 category, equal to NZ’s Vortex Mini ROK class. He had an outstanding start to be second in the opening heat after qualifying seventh fastest, and earned the fastest lap time. He followed with fourth in heat two, pushed back to seventh before fighting his way up the field.
Manson enjoyed a race win in heat three when he dominated to win by over three seconds, before finishing fourth in heat four. After starting at the front of the field in the final and leading on lap 1, Manson, struggling with less than optimum tyre pressures, was caught in some fierce and aggressive competition which found him back in 12th, then being classified 10th after penalties had been applied.
After qualifying 31st from 42 starters, Baker placed 10th in the first heat after driving through the field from 17th, although was shuttled back to 21st in the second heat. The Hamilton karter re-found his mojo to finish fourth in the third heat and fifth in the fourth heat, although like Manson, he found the ultra-competitive Australians a challenge, to be classified 18th in the final.
In their first big overseas event both Baker and Manson showed plenty of speed to be competitive in the big fields throughout the weekend and will benefit greatly from the experience.
The next round of the championships is on July 15-17 at Emerald in Queensland.