With major race meetings on in Blenheim and Nelson in the South Island and also at Palmerston North in the North Island, the annual Queen’s Birthday weekend has long been significant for the country’s karters. For the South Islanders it is the annual Sunbelt Championships and for the North Islanders the annual WPKA Championships.
Despite the relative proximity of the Nelson/Marlboough and Manawatu regions both events have attracted bumper entries, meaning, suggests KartSport New Zealand President Graeme Moore, that each has its own appeal and that contrary to conventional wisdom, one is actually supporting the other and vice-versa.
For instance, there are 130 karters set to compete across 9 classes at the annual WPKA Championships, which this year incorporates round four of the2020/21 Manawatu & TRC Toyota-backed Wellington Provincial Karting Association’s (WPKA) Goldstar Series at Palmerston North.
And there will be an even more impressive 110 taking up the challenge presented by the annual (it’s now in its 35th year) Sunbelts Sprint Championships meeting at Blenheim on Saturday and Nelson on Sunday.
While most of the entries at each event are from within each Island, a number of nationally ranked drivers from the South Island who have contested the three prior rounds of the 2020/21 WPKA Goldstar series have chosen to head to Palmerston North to complete the Goldstar Series.
The main reason, obviously, is to meet and again race wheel-to-wheel against their North Island counterparts. Another reason is that the prizegiving functions for both Sunday’s stand-alone Championship meeting, and the 2020/21 WPKA Goldstar series as a whole are being held in Palmerston North on Sunday night.
There will be action on track from around 9.00am each day at each venue. On Saturday the KartSport Marlborough club hosts the first day of Sunbelts Sprint Championships competition (incorporating Rnd 3 of the 2021 Mainland Series) at its Cresswell Electrical Kart Raceway in Blenheim.
On Sunday it is then the turn of the KartSport Nelson club to host the second day of Sunbelts competition (incorp. Rnd 4 of the 2021 Mainland Series) at its track, The Hits/RWCA Accountancy & Advisory Kart Raceway, in Upper Moutere.
At Palmerston North, meanwhile the annual Championship meeting is a one-day (Sunday) affair with first karts on track at Manawatu Toyota Raceway by 9.00am.