First KartSport NZ Endurance title meeting a chance for some ‘serious fun’

| Photographer Credit: Vicky Jack

KartSport New Zealand’s inaugural Briggs National Endurance Championships meeting in Wellington on Saturday November 30 is an opportunity for drivers young and old, and from club to national level to have some ‘serious fun’ says former NZ kart champion and two-time NZ V8 Ute Series title-holder, Richard Moore.

These days Moore spends most of his time passing on the skills he first honed on the country’s kart tracks and motor racing circuits to clients of the company he now works for, Auckland-based Downforce Auto Events & Training.

However, not even a heavy pre-Christmas work schedule has stopped him teaming up with fellow former NZ kart champion Tony Chambers, and recently crowned North Island 125cc Rotax Max Heavy class tittle holder Marco Giltrap, to enter the first ever official KartSport New Zealand National Endurance Championships meeting next Saturday.

Being organised and run by the KartSport Wellington club at KartSport Wellington Gazley Raceway, Kaitoke, with support from Briggs & Stratton New Zealamd, the event is part of a broader-based KartSport New Zealand’s initiative to breathe new life into club racing via a new low-cost, low-maintenance category based around US small engine specialist Briggs & Stratton’s dedicated 206cc LO206 4-stroke kart engine.

The first true teams event with a bona fide KartSport NZ championship title attached, it is a true long-distance race for up to three drivers sharing the one Briggs LO206-engined kart over four hours.

There is a minimum time for each driver of 1 hour and even a Pace/Safety Kart – with backing from current KartSport NZ sponsor Carter’s Tyres – plus drive-through penalties for those deemed to need them.

“In other words,” says KartSport Wellington club President (and one of the three local drivers making up the Wilford Motorsport entry), Brent Melhop, “just like Bathurst.”

The event  has attracted 12 teams, from the Giltrap Group-backed one of Moore/Chambers/Giltrap from Auckland, to the local Team Chronis Racing squad of father Alex and son William Chronis from Wellington.

In between is a mix of regular club level racers like Brent Melhop and teammates Shaun Croskery and Mike Love from Wellington, and Jason Richards, Tony Dyer and Brendon Gridley from Nelson.

The event has also spurred several other former top liners like local Phil Watkins and former Palmerston North but now Auckland-based Ryan Bailey to slip back behind the wheel of a kart.

Richard Moore, for one, is counting down the days to the event, for no better reason that it is going to give him a chance to have what he calls ‘some serious fun.’

“I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in a Briggs’s promo event at the Wellington track when the class was first introduced here. I didn’t know half the guys there, and to be fair, they probably didn’t know who I was, but we had a lot of fun passing and re-passing each other. Not just once or twice a lap either, I’m talking swapping places pretty much every corner, so yeah I came away convinced that the new class was a good thing alright.”

The fact that there is new national title up for grabs, is, Moore, continues, the icing on the cake.

“Tony, Marco and I are definitely going down there with the intention of enjoying ourselves, but we’re all competitive guys, so there was no way we were just going to turn up and hope for the best. Marco shipped one of his Rotax karts down to Tony, Tony has fitted up a Briggs engine and will bring it to Wellington when he heads down there next Friday.

“Obviously it’s always good getting back in a kart even just for an afternoon, but it will be a lot more fun if we are running at or near the front. And if we win you won’t be able to wipe the smiles off our faces for weeks!”

Ross MacKay

Ross MacKay is an award-winning journalist, author and publicist with first-hand experience of motorsport from a lifetime competing on two and four wheels. He currently combines a day job editing NZ4WD magazine with contract media work, weekend Mountain Bike missions and towing his 1989 Nissan Skyline drifter to grassroots meetings around the North Island.

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