Like father, like son

In the blood . . . KartSport Dunedin driver Arron Black corner-weighs a kart with his son, James (11). PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

In a series, reporter Shawn McAvinue spends five minutes talking with Dunedin motorsport enthusiasts about their passion for the form of racing.

KartSport Dunedin drivers father and son Arron and James Black, of Mosgiel.

When did you start racing karts, Arron?

When I was 12 my dad, Jim Black, took me and my brother Stuart out and we decided it was what we wanted to do. Dad bought us a kart to share and it snowballed from there. Stuart was about 27 when he decided to stop racing karts and I carried on.

What keeps you kart racing?

I now race two BMW touring cars with Stuart and I carried on kart racing to keep my head in the game for the car racing – then James was born and I didn’t have a choice because he’s been driving a kart since the age of 5.

Have you ever won a national title?

I’ve placed second in the nationals twice – I hope James will get a national title by the time he is my age. It’s a tough sport – a lot of people are spending a lot of money to get a national title. There are New Zealand kids racing in Italy as we speak. We don’t do that .. We just want to go out there and have a bit of fun.

Where is the next national competition?

In Hamilton next year – we’ll go to that and that’s probably all we’ll do in the North Island next year because crossing that ditch costs so much money. We did four race meetings in the North Island last year – Auckland, Taupo and two in Rotorua, including the nationals.

Did both of you race in the nationals in Rotorua over Easter?

No, just James – I decided to sit out the nationals and concentrate on running him. It was his first year in the Vortex Mini Rok , a class for 10 to 12-year-olds, which is very, very competitive. He’ll move up a class at the end of next year and it’s a completely different kettle of fish.

Will he be racing the same kart?

No, he’ll move into my chassis and we’ll have to restrict the engine on it a little bit – I’ll be ready to retire by then.

When are you going to retire?

Arron:In the next couple of years but I’ve been saying that for a while.

His wife Julie: The little kids in the club look up to Arron and they love watching him race, so Arron has pressure to not retire.

What do you enjoy about karting, James?

James:The competitive side of it and how you can make new friends.

Arron: It’s a good family sport. We travel to Invercargill, Blenheim and Nelson with five families and we all stay together – it’s a social sport. Racing is character-building for kids – some days you win and some days you lose.