Karters prepare for top racing weekend


Nelson’s top karters are getting revved up for the biggest weekend of the year, with the 30th edition of the Central New Zealand Sunbelt Sprint Championships at the Classic Hits Kart Raceway in Redwood Valley near Richmond this Saturday, with day two in Blenheim on Sunday.

Karters will compete in eight heats and a final, only dropping their worst race result, at the two-day meeting that has attracted drivers from around the country. A big contingent of Nelson karters has entered the champs, including Junior Rotax driver Jarod Fisher of Nelson and Cadet Rok Class karter Josh Bradley of Brightwater.

Jarod won the Junior Restricted Sunbelt title last year and has continued that form into the Junior Rotax class this year, winning the Jason Richards GP on his home track last month.

However, Jarod says he is still finding his way in the new class and will have to be on top of his game to be competitive in what will be a strong field.

“The kart is going pretty well, but I’ve needed quite a few practise sessions to try and get used to it,” Jarod says.

“It’s a full-sized kart, compared to the three-quarter-sized one I had last year, and I’ve gone up from 100cc to 125cc so it’s been a steep learning curve.

“But it will be an advantage racing on my home track on the first day. It’s a technical track which suits me, although it’s going to be a good field so it’s going to be hard to win.”

South Island champ Ayden Polaschek from Christchurch is the favourite to win the class.

Josh also featured at last year’s Sunbelt champs, finishing second. He will be hoping to go one better this year but will face strong competition from Marlborough’s William Exton and Jacob Mitchell from Canterbury, who both won their classes last year before moving up to the Cadet Roks.

The Rotax Heavy class also has a strong field of 17 drivers, including Nelson’s Kevin Barker who finished second just behind UK driver Tiffany Chittenden last year.

Nelson’s Matt Butchart lines up in the KZ2 class.

Racing will be held from 10am to about 4.30pm this Saturday.