More than 100 karters ventured to Hawkes Bay to enjoy the arrival of Spring at the 53rd annual Blossom race meeting hosted by KartSport Hawkes Bay at the Carter Tyres Raceway at Roy’s Hill in Hastings.
It was a return to the calendar for the popular Blossom event after the pandemic affected 2021.
The event tested all-round driving skills with most classes taking on Saturday’s five heats racing clockwise and Sunday’s remaining five heats reversed to anti-clockwise.
A few of the senior classes only completed four heats on Sunday to make room for the traditional Blossom Grand Prix. Four heats were run each day on pre-determined grids, with the grids for the fifth and 10th races based on top points to the front for the 11 classes in action.
Wellington’s Levi Totter prevailed in Cadet ROK class on the back of six heat wins and with two second placings in the final two heats, to claim the honours ahead of Manawatu’s Benji Bellamy, who won the two heats.
Taranaki’s Jacob Bellamy led the way in Vortex ROK DVS Junior with five heat wins, including the final heat from the front row. He finished on 13 points, five ahead of fellow KartSport Taranaki peddler Jack Amon who won three heats and had four other podiums, with local karter Daniel McMillan third.
Recently-crowned National Champion Kiahn Burt from Palmerston North dominated the Rotax Max Junior class with five heat wins and two other podiums to finish clear of Jake Millan (Tokoroa) who edged out National Schools champion Arthur Broughan (Marlborough) for second.
Vortex Mini ROK was a close battle between Manawatu’s Jack Phillips and local Hawkes Bay karter Grayson Stowe.
Phillips proved the more consistent, with two wins among his seven podiums and never further back than fifth. While Stowe bagged an impressive six wins, some bad luck and two 13th and 14th placings from back draws proved the difference with Phillips gaining the honours by just two points.
This proved the toughest class of the weekend with 25 drivers from eight clubs vying for honours.
Manawatu’s Brendon Hart had six wins on the way to claiming the Rotax Max Heavy honours; Hawkes Bay’s James van den Berk won nine heats to claim the Vortex ROK DVS Senior title; and local driver Tim Loughran prevailed in the Open/Rotax DD2 category, also with nine wins.
Eight heat wins resulted in a dominant display by national champion Tom Bewley in Rotax Max Light ahead of fellow Hawkes Bay driver Jack Halpin.
The Briggs Senior class turned on some close racing with multiple race wins decided by fractions of a second, proving the cost-effective category is highly competitive. They shared the track with ClubSport 120, which gave spectators action all around.
KartSport New Zealand’s Chief Operating Officer, James Hadley returned to Tier 2 level racing after 14 years away, taking the overall honours in the Briggs LO206 class, pipping Ben Hibbs from Hawkes Bay by a single point in a winner-takes-all final.
Meanwhile Eastern Bay of Plenty’s Steve Muggeridge dominated the Clubsport 120 racing with nine wins from 10 starts ahead of Ricky Garth (Manawatu).
A group of 20 vintage karts provided plenty of entertainment as part of their annual trek to Blossom, displaying a real blast from the past.