Young Hamilton karter Connor Davison was the top Kiwi finisher at Australia’s big Race of Stars meeting in Queensland over the weekend, qualifying on pole and ending up second in the KA 12 (Vortex Mini ROK) class.
It was an outstanding performance from the 10-year-old who will be back at Newstead School tomorrow, and the Final could have gone either way, eventual winner Jay Hansen claiming a photo finish by just 0.026 of a second.
“There certainly wasn’t much in it,” said proud father Graeme Davison. “It was pretty close.”
Last year when Connor contested the Stars meeting for the first time he finished eighth in class. And this year he was on the money the minute he hit the track.
“He was on pole for pretty much the whole qualifying session then finished fifth, after running wide a couple of times, in the first heat, and fourth in the second when I think we probably didn’t get the gearing quite right,” Graeme said.
In each case, in the heats, Connor slipped back a number of places but made them up again to start the 16-lap Final was fourth place on the grid.
From there he quickly moved to the front and spent most of the race battling eventual winner Jay Hansen for the lead.
“It was textbook stuff,” says Graeme. “Connor made some good moves and showed good thinking.”
Connor, who won the NZ Schools title in the Cadet ROK class in 2014 is contesting this year’s Australian championship series in an Alonso kart with the James Sera Karting Centre.
For the Race of Stars meeting, however, he ran with expat Kiwi champ Dale Verrall’s Queensland-based Pacific KartSport squad.
In the other classes, a bone-jarring clash with young Dutch driver Marijn Kremers put paid to any chance Kiwi karter Daniel Bray might have had of a second podium finish in as many years in the KZ2 class.
Bray, 28, finished second to five-time World Karting Champion, Italian Davide Fore, at the inaugural event last year but ended up 10th this time around after Kremers literally drove over the top of him in a high-stakes Final.
“I got up to fourth but was run over the top of by Kremers and went back to 20th,” Bray said. “I got back up to 10th which was something but the kart was super-fast so it would have been a podium for sure without being driven over.”
The KZ2 Final was again won by Italy’s multi-time former World Karting Champion Davide Fore but this time it was Kremers who claimed the second step of the podium with the first of the local drivers, Kyle Ensbey, third
Davison and Bray were two of 13 Kiwis to cross the Tasman for the international meeting at the privately-owned Xtreme Karting Facility at Pimpama on Queensland’s Gold Coast this year.
The majority of the others contested the KZ2 class with Bray still the top finisher (of that group) in 10th place followed by Graeme Smyth in 12th and Jared Mackenzie in 17th.
We then had Aucklanders Mitchell Brown in 18th, Aaron Wilson 19th, Mitchell’s father Steve Brown 21st, Leo Bult 22nd, Jordan Morris 23rd, Roger Beuvink 25th and Garry Claxton 26th.
In the other Senior class, KA TaG Aucklander Mathew Kinsman, qualified third, won one of his heats and finished 10th in the Final.
Meanwhile other young Kiwi in the KA 12 Junior class, Liam Sceats from Auckland, qualified 19th and finished 17th in the Final.
The two-day Race of Stars kart meeting is part of SuperFest, a three-way initiative by the Queensland Government, the City of Gold Coast, and V8 Supercars, to build interest in the region ahead of the annual Castrol Gold Coast 600 V8 race weekend (October 23-25).
This year’s Friday/Saturday event has attracted over 200 entries, including the 13 from New Zealand and others from Italy, the United States and Mexico.