Top local Senior class ace Zach Zaloum and fast-rising Palmerston North youngster Logan Dowdall enjoyed perfect nine-wins-from-nine-starts runs at the 51st two-day Blossom Festival Grand Prix sprint kart meeting in Hawke’s Bay over the weekend.
With its traditional first-weekend-in-September date the Blossom meeting heralds the end of winter and coming spring and summer season with a unique two-day/9-heat race format which sees drivers race round the 687m track in a clockwise direction on Saturday then in the anti-clockwise direction on Sunday; making it incredibly hard to win all nine races.
Win them the pair did though, Zaloum in the Rotax Max Heavy class where he led home Matt Fox and Craig Holmwood, Logan Dowdall in Cadet ROK where he beat Ethan Sayer and Grayson Stowe.
Also dominating his class (Vortex Mini ROK) was another nationally-ranked local karter Thomas Bewley, who won 8 of his 9 heats and finished 2nd in the other.
Not surprisingly Bewley and Logan Dowdall also won the standalone Grand Prix races for their classes, Bewley the Vortex Mini ROK one from Jacob Bellamy and Judd Christiansen, Logan Dowdall the Cadet ROK race from Ethan Sayer and Luke McMillan.
Other class winners at the meeting were;
Senior Open – Regan Hall
Senior 100cc Yamaha 155kg – Sean Lockyear
ClubSport 120 – Stephen Muggeridge
ClubSport LO206 – David Sharp
125 Rotax Max Light – Dylan Anderson
Vortex DVS Snr – Brad Still
Rotax Max Jnr – James van den Berk
Vortex DVS Jnr – Ayrton Williams
Williams and van den Berg also won their class Grand Prix races, as did other class winners Stephen Muggeridge (who also set a new class track lap record on his way to the ClubSport 120 GP win), David Sharp and Regan Hall, the latter claiming the big race of the weekend, the Giesen Classic Cuvee Blossom Open over 50 laps.
Once again the racing in the Rotax Max Junior and Vortex DVS Junior classes was some of the best at the meeting, in particular the battle for the top spot in Vortex DVS Jnr between eventual class and GP winner Ayrton Williams from Auckland and (runner-up in both) Jacob Douglas from Christchurch.
The odd one out was Sean Lockyear, who won the 100cc Yamaha 155kg class convincingly but conceded the win in the class GP to Joshua Logan.
The annual two-day meeting at the KartSport Hawke’s Bay club’s Carter’s Tyres Raceway at Roys Hill on the outskirts of Hastings is the longest-running sprint kart event in the country, with the first one staged as a then-popular ‘road race’ round a street course in Hastings in September 1968 to help raise funds for the permanent track the club uses today.
A special feature of the meeting again this year was the appearance – for demonstrations on both days – of a number and variety of Vintage Karts.