Young kiwi karters Nathan Crang and Josh Richmond received a testing reminder of the depth and strength of the sport across the Tasman after competing in round two of the SP Tools Australian Kart Championships at Bonivar, near Adelaide over Easter.
While both have competed in Australia before, it was the first time back in the hurly-burly of the national championship since covid restrictions eased.
Crang, 17, raced the Parolin kart in the KZ2 class which attracted 32 competitors with the Auckland karter qualifying 23rd fastest in 33.376. As a reference to the depth of the competition, the top qualifier clocked 33.071s.
The N-Zed Motorsport driver, recently fourth in the opening round of the NZ Prokart Series, didn’t finish his opening heat before placing 23rd in heat two. Nathan improved to 13th from 25th on the grid, seven seconds from the winner in heat three and was 14th in the final heat from 19th on the grid.
It earned him 14th on the grid for the final, from where Nathan was able to progress to 11th, eight seconds from the winner.
Richmond, 18, competed in the Iame X30 class which drew 44 entries, with the Mt Wellington club karter unable to get any significant time to adjust to the new kart and new tyres, with the class using Le Cont rubber this year.
Josh qualified 18th in group two in 34.84s, which was only 0.8s from the top qualifier. He zoomed up to 14th in the first heat, followed by 20th, 13th and 10th in the remaining heats. In the combined grid, he was 31st for the final, with Josh progressing to 27th, after making some changes to the set-up which “went the wrong way.”
“That was possibly one of the toughest weekends Josh has had in his karting career. But he showed true character and persevered all weekend,” said his father Nigel.
“Not having any practice racing on a tyre that was completely different to the one we use in New Zealand was not a wise move. Josh struggled to get to grips with the way he had to adapt his driving style for the new tyre.”
The Richmonds said the experience will prove invaluable when the return across the Tasman, with round three in Seymour, Victoria on June 3-5, round four on July 15-17 in Emerald (Queensland) and round five on August 19-21 in Newcastle.
Images: Pace Images