Preview: New Zealand Karting Nationals

press release

Record entries bode well for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of KartSport in this country at the annual National Sprint Championships meeting in Hamilton over the Easter weekend.

pic - Fast Company/Andrew Bright-Ultrapix

Over 250 entries have been received for the three-day 2009 KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championships presented by Toyota Racing Series meeting with an unprecedented 34 - an all-time high - in the 6-12 yrs Cadet class.

"We're particularly pleased about the Cadet number," says KartSport New Zealand's Development Manager Robert Hutton. "First and foremost we are a family sport and the growth in Cadet numbers demonstrates a wonderful commitment by mums and dads who are the pit crew for these youngsters. It also suggests the future of KartSport, and motorsport in general, remains strong."

Eleven different class titles will be contested over the three days with three - Cadet, Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha and KZ2 - on Friday and four each on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday sees Junior 100 Yamaha, 100cc Yamaha Light, 100cc Yamaha Heavy and Formula 125S on the grid, Sunday, Formula Junior, 125cc Rotax Max Light, 125cc Rotax Max Heavy and Open.

pic - Fast Company/Andrew Bright-Ultrapix

The event sees the return of a number of 2008 champions to defend their titles including Aucklanders Ryan Grant in KZ2 and Daniel Kinsman in Formula Junior, and Christchurch drivers Matthew Hamilton in both 125cc Rotax Max Light and Open, Hamish Cross in 125cc Rotax Max Heavy, and Simon Hunter, looking to make it four years in a row, in 100cc Yamaha Heavy.

With last year's 100cc Yamaha Light champion Karl Wilson concentrating on the gearbox classes this year there's a golden opportunity for someone else in that class. However with 36 entries and a star-studded lineup including North Island champion Mathew Kinsman, Rotax class standout Matthew Hamilton and fellow returning car racers Chris Cox - the 2008 New Zealand Junior 100cc Yamaha champion - and former TRS champion Andy Knight, picking a favourite is by no means easy.

With last year's Cadet champion, Hawke's Bay's Maddison Wise, now in the Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha class, and last year's Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha champion James Penrose from Rangiora now in Junior 100cc Yamaha, there are also opportunities for a changing of the guard in the Junior classes.

In Cadet 2007 North Island champion Blake Filleul and 2007 South Island champion Kieron Woods are set to take on Hawke's Bay's Mitchell Turner and the Manawatu's Dylan Drysdale. While in Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha Maddison Wise looks set to find competition in top Auckland trio Aaron Wilson, Joel Herbert and Kaitlyn Wonnacott, and South Islanders Brook Reeve and Liam Lotter.

With major support from Toyota in the form of the new Toyota Fast Track Award (in which the winner will receive a drive in a TRS Lites single-seater at a round of the 2009/10 TRS Series) and Yamaha, in the form of a trip to a major meeting in Japan for the winner of the 100cc Yamaha Light title, this year's National Sprint Championships meeting has also garnered unprecedented support from sponsors, another good sign for the sport.

The Waipa District Council has also assisted the Hamilton Kart Club to bring the event to Waipa.

Competition at the Hamilton Kart Club track, opposite Hamilton Airport, starts on Easter Friday and continues through Saturday and Sunday. Competition starts at 10am each day. Spectators will also be able to get a close-up look at a TRS Lite racing car which will be on display at the event.