Young New Zealand karters will travel far and wide in two key competitions on both sides of the Tasman this weekend.
Nearly 50 karters, largely from the South Island, will venture to the deep south to contest the McLeod Diesel KartSport New Zealand National Schools Championship in Southland.
Organised by KartSport Southland, titles will be decided in Cadet ROK, Vortex Mini ROK, 125cc Rotax Max Junior and 125cc Rotax Max Light at the Invercargill Oil Shop Raceway in Otatara on Saturday.
Meanwhile six karters are heading over the Tasman for the penultimate round of the SP Tools Australian Championships at the Emerald Karting Club in the central Queensland highlands, 250km west of Rockhampton.
The National Schools Championships will be fast and furious, decided over five races of eight laps each. The initial four heats will be raced on a pre-determined grid with the lowest accumulated points to the front for the fifth and final heat. Competitors can drop their worst performance.
Marlborough’s Arthur Broughan (Marlborough College), who won the Cadet ROK National Schools title in 2019, will return but will contest the 125cc Rotax Max Junior class, which is the biggest category with 16 starters. He is likely to get plenty of competition from the likes of Nelson’s Ollie Workman (Waimea College) and Southland’s Jacob Earley (James Hargest College).
There may be just a handful of karters lining up in Cadet ROK but there will be plenty of interest in the performances of Southland’s rising star Nixon Cripps (Edendale Primary) and new National Sprint Champion George Tucker from Wanaka’s Te Kura o Take Karara school.
Vortex Mini ROK also promises to be a tight battle with two outstanding Christchurch karters in Zach Tucker (Medbury School), now a two-time National Sprint class Champion, and Henry Fisher (Halswell School), and watch out for Aryan Lala from Carncot Independent School, who has travelled from Manawatu to compete.
The most travelled racer will contest the 125cc Rotax Max Light, in Tayler Payne, who attends Botany Downs Secondary School in Auckland, although races out of the Hamilton club.
Tuning runs start at 9am, racing at 10am with titles decided by 4pm.
The six-strong group heading to Queensland comprise Aucklanders Nathan Crang (KZ2), Marco Manson (Cadet 12) and Sebastian Manson (KA2), along with Southland’s Luca Burns (KZ2), Hamilton’s Miles Baker (Cadet 12) and Manawatu’s Tommy Hart, in his first racing venture to Australia, in Cadet 9 category.
Crang enjoyed his best form this year across the ditch with a top-10 finish in the third round of the championships in Victoria.
Marco Manson had a brilliant showing in Victoria in the Cadet 12 class, that included a heat win, and he would no doubt have learned much from the very aggressive competition after securing the front row of the grid in the final.
Baker also showed some impressive form in the demanding conditions in Victoria with two top-five finishes, and like Manson, will have learned from the ultra-competitive Australian challenge in the final.
Both Sebastian Manson and Hart have been to the fore this season, and their efforts against Australia’s best will be watched with interest, and Burns is heading across the Tasman for the first time this season.
The fifth and final round of the championships will be in Newcastle next month.