Karters from all over New Zealand are heading to the top of the South Island this week to prepare for one of the major regional events on the annual karting calendar, Queen’s Birthday weekend’s Central NZ Sunbelts Sprint Championships meeting.
This year’s HighRev-sponsored two-day/two track event is the 34th to be hosted jointly by the KartSport Nelson and KartSport Marlborough clubs at their tracks in Nelson and Blenheim and has attracted over 80 entries with drivers coming from as far afield as Invercargill and Auckland to compete.
One of the reasons for the healthy entry is the fact that the Sunbelts event hosts the opening two rounds of the 2019 McLaren Racing Mainland Series.
As its name suggests the Mainland Series was created to give karters from all over the South Island a reason to travel and gain experience at tracks other than their own and at the larger, more prestigious two-day meetings that were already on the karting calendar.
This year, as last, that means the Central NZ Sunbelts this weekend, the KartSport Southland and KartSport Dunedin Southern Series (Invercargill & Dunedin) in August, and KartSport Canterbury’s Garden City Championships meeting in September.
As well, this year the HighRev Sunbelts event is also hosting the South Island half of the split third round of the 2019 ROK Cup New Zealand series for competitors in the Cadet ROK and Vortex Mini ROK classes.
To make sure drivers from both Islands have an equal chance to compete for a major prize (of a brand new engine for the winner of the Cadet ROK class, and travel to and receive an entry in the ROK Cup International meeting in Italy later in the year for those in Vortex Mini ROK) the organisers decided to split the third round this weekend, with a North Island event at the annual WPKA Goldstar Series’ Championships meeting in Palmerston North and a South Island one at the HighRev Sunbelts event in Nelson and Blenheim.
With absolutely no ‘Island of origin’ restrictions entrants could choose which one they contested, meaning the Sunbelts one has attracted entries from Auckland drivers Marco (Cadet ROK) and brother Sebastian (Vortex Mini ROK) Manson, as well as top local drivers like reigning South Island and recently crowned NZ #1 Arthur Broughan from Blenheim and Izaak Fletcher from Christchurch (Cadet ROK), and Alex Crosbie (Invercargill), James Black (Dunedin), Ollie Workman (Nelson) and NZ #1 Louis Sharp from Christchurch (Vortex Mini ROK).
Also crossing Cook Strait to experience South Island karting at its best this weekend are Clay Osborne from Hamilton, who will go up against Christchurch international Jacob Douglas in the 12-strong Rotax Max Junior field, and NZ #1 Fynn Osborne (Clay’s older brother) from Hamilton, and Marco Giltrap from Auckland in Rotax Max Light, where they will face recent Junior class graduate William Exton (#3 pictures)from Picton.
The action kicks off at KartSport Nelson’s The Hits Opel Industries Kart Raceway (located on the Upper Moutere Highway in Redwood Valley) on Saturday with tuning runs from 9.15am and five 8-lap races per class starting from 10.30am. It then continues ‘over the hill’ at the KartSport Marlborough Club’s Cresswell Electrical Raceway (Wither Rd Extension) in Blenheim on Sunday with three remaining heat races using pre-determined grids plus a Final race per class with grids based on the results from the previous eight heats.
Once the Final is run and won, each driver’s worst race result is then dropped to determine an overall class pecking order over their best eight races over the two days.
Members of the public are welcome at both venues with free entry for spectators on both days.