A storming drive through the field from P12 on the grid to third place at the line meant Ryan Grant ended up best Kiwi finisher at the opening round of the year’s Australian Kart Championship presented by Jayco and Castrol Edge at Dubbo in inland New South Wales over the weekend.
Aucklanders Grant, Graeme Smyth and Liam Sceats crossed the Tasman for the meeting with Grant’s teammate Smyth finishing 12th in the KZ2 class Final and Sceats 24th in the Final in the Cadet 12 class.
All three had to overcome issues of one sort or another over the weekend.
Grant suffered both a broken throttle spring and brake return spring on the warm-up lap in qualifying, meaning he could only manage the 17th quickest lap time.
A dnf (did not finish) in the first heat didn’t help, but then he was able to come back – from P17 starts – to finish eighth in the second heat, 11th in the third and 10th in the fourth which gave him a P12 grid in the Final.
Teammate Graeme Smyth also started off on the back foot.
“I didn’t qualify well which made it difficult starting near the back of the grid, ” he said.
Like Grant, Smyth did move forward in each race he finished as he worked on his kart set up but said that he simply did not have the pace to run in the front pack in the Final, in which he started from P17 on the grid and finished 12th.
Young gun Liam Sceats, 10, also had mechanical problems at the start of the weekend (a tuning issue which meant his kart’s engine wouldn’t run cleanly under load) but he persevered and when the problem was sorted by team member Mathew Kinsman the youngster showed both speed and tenacity.
“Our aim, after all our problems on Saturday was to make the top 20 in the Final and we got pretty close,” said his father Simon.
The first round of the Australian championship attracted 250 entries across a total of nine classes. The second round will be held at Puckapunyal in Victoria over the March 25-27 Easter weekend with subsequent rounds in South Australia in May, Queensland in July and the final at Todd Rd in Melbourne in September.