23 May 2024

Karters rev up for roaring start to 2024 dirt season

| Lyndon Keane
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Drivers prepare to take to the track for round one of the 2024 Weipa Dirt Karts season on Saturday night. Photo: Lyndon Keane.

Airport Drive came alive with the sounds and smells of two-stroke action when Weipa Dirt Karts held its first round of the 2024 season on 18 May.

While a few key competitors were missing due to other commitments, club president Dave Hancock said the extra space on the track had allowed drivers a bit more breathing room to ease back into competition.

“This round, we had a few people out, so it was a bit of a smaller gig, but probably a good one to step back into season,” he said.

“We’ve had a few people leave the club at the end of last year, but pretty much all of our karts were sold locally, so hopefully that translates into exactly the same number of licences and nominations for the season.”

Drivers competed in three eight-lap heats across four classes on Saturday night, and Mr Hancock said the combination of the on-track exhilaration of karts reaching between 80-100 kilometres per hour and a family-friendly racing format made it a popular sport.

“I honestly think it’s probably more exciting than racing bitumen cars,” he said when asked how the dirt surface compared to the more common karting track surface.

“I’ve got four kids that race; the drawcard for the family is what it gives to the kids in terms of experience and exposure; my oldest has been racing for about eight years and he’s 16, and it goes through to my youngest, who’s six and racing.

“We’ve got all age groups and all skills levels.”

Round results (18 May, 2024)

Midget class

  • demonstration class for 5-7 years of age; two competitors; William Smith and Caleb Hancock both picked up where they left off in season 2023.

Rookie class

  • non-competitive class for 7-11 years of age; three competitors; Kai Fewquandie stepped up from Midgets and is enjoying the class; Amelie Hancock is a returning driver and has found the need for speed already in 2024; Finn Fletcher is a new racer and welcome addition to the club.

KT Combined class

  • senior competitive racing; 12 nominated drivers; Col Vallance, 1; Michael Chandler, 2; Sue Vallance, 3; Col managed the fastest class lap of the night – 32.033 seconds for the 520-metre track at an average speed of 57.30 kilometres per hour.

125cc class

  • senior competitive racing; four nominated drivers; Col Vallance, 1; Max Emmett, 2; Leigh Jewell, 3; in a big opening to his 2024 campaign, Col again managed the fastest class lap of the night – 30.07s at an average speed of 62.38 km/h.

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