There was plenty of promise without ultimate reward for the six-strong group of kiwi karters who ventured across the Tasman for the fourth round of the SP Tool Australian Karting Championships in Queensland.
It proved a significant venture just to get the karting operation to Emerald, a small town in the central highlands of Queensland, around 250km west of Rockhampton.
The group comprised Aucklanders Nathan Crang (KZ2), Marco Manson (Cadet 12) and Sebastian Manson (KA2), along with Hamilton’s Miles Baker (Cadet 12), Southland’s Luca Burns (KZ2) and Manawatu’s Tommy Hart, in his first racing venture to Australia, in Cadet 9 category.
All six showed speed at times through the weekend, but when they reached the sharp end of the competition, with everything decided on a one-off final, then the heat of the competition made for white hot racing.
Perhaps the unluckiest karter was Marco Manson in the Cadet 12 category, who found speed throughout the heats, finishing second fastest and then won the final heat to be ranked top on heat points.
He led early in the final, dropped down to third and regained the lead only to be edged back to second on lap six in the 12-lap final. From there an engine issue saw him back to mid pack and eventually he was forced to retire four laps from the finish after an otherwise eye-catching effort.
Waikato’s Miles Baker competed in the same class, with some useful performances to qualify 10th in the slower group, starting 36th in the final. He drove impressively to work his way through the packed field, passing 10 karts to finish 26th.
Sebastian Manson from Auckland competed in the KA2 class, to be 32nd in combined qualifying times, but was fifth in both the third and fourth heats to move to 10th place on the grid for the final. In a rugged final the kiwi was among the 29 starters who failed to finish.
Crang has been a regular across the Tasman in the KZ2 class, and showed excellent speed throughout the competition. He drew 14 on the grid for the final, only because of a DQ in his final heat after placing 7th, 9th and 12th in the opening three heats.
Crang moved up to 10th with five laps remaining but edged back to 11th which leaves him 12th overall in the championship standings.
Southland’s Luca Burns competed in the same category to draw mid-pack for the final. He held his position, picking off some competition to move up four spots to finish 18th.
Manawatu’s Tommy Hart, racing in Australia for the first time, competed in the Cadet 9 class where he showed useful speed throughout. He was 11th, 10th, and 13th twice to draw 16th spot for the final. He made his move on lap six to push past three karts to move to 13th where he remained for the race.
The fifth and final round of the championships will be in Newcastle next month.
Caption: New Zealand drivers in action at the Australian Karting championships in Queensland.