There were mixed results for young Kiwi karters Connor Davison and Ryan Wood in the KA 12 class at the final round of this year’s Australian Kart Championship presented by Jayco and Castrol Edge in Geelong last weekend.
Davison, from Hamilton, qualified 17th but worked his way forward through the heats to finish seventh in the Final.
Wood, on the other hand qualified 10th but ended up 20th in the Final.
With the track wet for practice but dry for qualifying, Davison was still learning where the grip was in the first heat on Saturday (in which he finished 16th) but was fully up to speed for the second and third heats and Final on Sunday.
It’s been a big year for the 10-year-old who ended up eighth overall in the KA 12 class championship standings despite missing the first round, and his father Graeme says it has been the making of him.
Despite the travel to and from, and extra depth of competition across the Tasman, Connor adapted quickly, a highlight pole in qualifying and fifth overall at the Newcastle round of the series earlier in the year.
“This (how he has performed) is way more than we expected,” says Graeme. “Connor has absolutely thrived over there.”
Helping has been the support he has received, from former NZ champion Brad Tyrrell of Pacific Kartsport in Mount Maunganui who has travelled to all the rounds with Graeme and Connor, the James Sera Karting Centre in Melbourne which has provided the FA kart that Connor has raced, and Tauranga engine tuner Dane Harte.
Though he was quickest in the wet first practice session Wood, from Wellington, lost time in the second session with an electrical (coil) issue and was still working on an ultimate handling set-up through the third practice and qualifying sessions.
He started to make headway in the first heat but as his father Shane said this week, “it’s the luck of the draw. If you qualify up front you don’t get caught up in all the drama in the middle of the field. If you don’t you get slammed!”
Ryan made good progress in the first heat, but was slowed by first corner pile-ups in the second, third and Final.
Ryan and his father were guests of expat Kiwi Dale Verrall at the meeting and Shane said that despite everything he and his son enjoyed the weekend.
“The big thing over there is qualifying and if you qualify well you are away. All credit to Dale though. He supplied us with a brand new kart and engine and when the coil packed up the Vortex guy was on it and fitted a new coil pack to get us going again straight away.”
Also at the meeting, in this case to observe and learn, were two KartSport New Zealand officials, National Steward Colin Harris, and Grade 1 Senior Steward Ryan
KA 12 CLASS
1. Jay Hanson 212
2. Cooper Webster 162
3. Kai Allen 106
4. Blake Purdie 100
5. Emerson Harvey 88
6. Tex Starr-McKoy 84
7. Kobi Williams 80
8. Connor Davison 67
9. William Seal 57
10. Kacey Mann 54