Four Dunedin youngsters will soon take on the best kart racers in their age-groups in the country.
Jaxon Harvey and James Black (both 10), Marissa Ahlfeld (12) and Kohen Muir Thompson (14) will compete in the New Zealand schools championship in Blenheim on July 15 and 16.
Jaxon and James will compete in the Cadet ROK class for those aged 6-11, Marissa in the Vortex Mini ROK class for those aged 9 to under 13, and Kohen will race in the 125cc Rotax Max Junior class for those aged 12-17.
The three younger drivers will drive karts with 60cc engines while Kohen’s kart has a 125cc engine.
Christchurch karter Louis Sharp was the favourite in the Cadet ROK class but Jaxon and James could be “knocking on his back bumper or looking for the win”, Jaxon’s father and Kart Sport Dunedin club committee member Daniel Harvey said.
Mr Harvey said Kohen would face tough competition.
“That’s the elite. That is the next generation of Formula Ford drivers. It’s going to be an uphill battle for him.”
Meanwhile, Marissa would also be challenged in her Vortex Mini RoK class which had attracted 30 racers.
“That’s going to be a real big battle for her because that’s going to be the biggest class at the [meeting],” Mr Harvey said.
The championship consisted of four heats per class. Drivers collected points, determining their starting place for the final heat. Drivers then started the final in the same position they finished the last heat.
Because of the format involved, the ability to pass was crucial if a driver wanted to win, Mr Harvey said.
“You’ve got to be able to pass. If you can’t pass, you might be the quickest kart there but if you can’t pass you don’t get the result.”
In mastering the skill of passing, Mr Harvey said there was no substitute for competition.
“Racing is the best practice.”
Another challenge was cornering.
Kohen, who has been racing for about three years, said this was one of the hardest things to learn in trying to master the sport.
And certain types of corner were harder than others.
“Hairpins are the hardest, I find.”
Mr Harvey said Jaxon, James and Marissa would likely hit speeds of 90kmh while Kohen could hit more than 100kmh.