Top-ranked Kiwi karters Dylan Drysdale and Rianna O-Meara-Hunt are hoping that the long trip to Emerald in northern Queensland’s Central Highlands district for the penultimate round of this year’s Australian Kart Championships this weekend will pay dividends.
The pair are part of another four-strong New Zealand contingent traveling to the meeting. Both have a good chance of moving up the points standings in their respective classes at the SP Tools Australian Kart Championship presented by Castrol Edge meeting.
Last year Drysdale was one of the stars in the KZ2 class races at the inaugural AKC round at the fast, flowing Emerald track, crossing the finish line in the Final in second only to be relegated to fourth place afterwards for passing under a yellow (caution) flag.
Having finished fourth in the KZ2 class Finals at the three previous rounds of this year’s AKC series Drysdale is also fourth in the series points standings. But if he can make the podium this weekend it will stand him in good stead for a series’ podium at the final round at Melbourne’s Todd Rd kart track at the end of August.
Top female karter Rianna O’Meara-Hunt from Wellington also has an eye on the end-of-season prize. She showed strong form in the KA1 class at the most recent AKC round at Newcastle and could easily improve on her current ninth place class standing with a top six finish this weekend.
Rounding out the Kiwi entry this weekend are Melbourne-based female driver Ashleigh Stewart in the Iame X30 class, and Pukekohe youngster Emerson Vincent in Cadet 12.
Usually there are two ‘Stewart Sisters’ competing but this year the younger of the two, Madeline, spent her school holidays in a school-based service trip to Cambodia and Vietnam and could not get back to New Zealand and on to Emerald in Northern Queensland in time.
“It was something she has wanted to do for some time, and when the opportunity to go up to Cambodia and help build a house for a family came through her school Madeline jumped at it,” her father Tony said yesterday. “She really wanted to race at Emerald but it just wasn’t possible in the time she had to work with.”
AKC Cadet 12 class regular Kaden Probst was entered for this weekend’s meeting at Emerald but was a late withdrawal this week after falling and breaking an arm on Monday.
This year’s Australian Kart Championship is being contested over five rounds with the final at the Todd Rd track in Melbourne at the end of August.