Illawarra Go Kart Challenge

05 October 2017 / Words by Bryan Shedden, Photos by Sue Stone

Selection of the team to represent the Illawarra Chapter at the annual Jinba Ittai Karting Challenge was serious business for our intrepid Convenors, Jan & Garry. Afterall, we had a title to defend and this time we'd be travelling to RPM territory for the finals. The Illawarra qualifiers would be held over two dates at two venues.

First up was a trip to the karting track at Kembla Grange, which is under new management and now called Awesome Drive Karting Centre. A Saturday afternoon on 19 August saw 12 gents and 3 ladies have a go on the karts, plus several partners keenly spectating from the paddock. Our fastest karters in race 1 were Grant Knowles (35.343), Matt Tarrant (36.379) and Kerry Smith (37.058). The karts were highly variable in their speed, so after the first race, the kart allocation was reversed for the second race. Suddenly Grant found himself in a much slower kart, while my 12yo son Alex was promoted to his fast kart. Alex shocked everyone with a remarkable time of 34.597 which was the 4th fastest lap for the entire month. That's my boy! Each karter's fastest time from each race was averaged to give a final score. And the winners were Tanya Badovinac, Jan Gibson and Sue Stone in the ladies, and Matt Tarrant, Bryan Shedden and Grant Knowles in the gents. Well done to everyone for having a go.

Round two was all set to happen on the Saturday morning of 23 September with a run to Luddenham Raceway where the finals were due to be hosted. However, our plans were scotched at our meeting point by a note on Facebook advising that Luddenham Raceway was closed for the day with a private booking. Oh! We resolved to head to Picton instead, so it all worked out nicely in the end. Nine club members made the trip, including Pamela who was there to cheer on hubby Jeff. We did two races again, and reversed the kart allocations for the second race. Matt Tarrant claimed the fastest time in race 2 with 40.851, pipping my best of 40.928 in the same kart in race 1. The outright winners were Bryan Shedden, Matt Tarrant and Grant Knowles, with Alex Shedden trailing Grant by a scant 0.015s. Jan was our fastest lady, which was no surprise as she was the only female. We all headed to Picton Hotel afterwards for a hearty pub lunch and swapped tales of our karting exploits.

With the qualifiers out of the way, Jan & Garry were left to make their team selection for Illawarra Chapter. Unfortunately Alex and I were not available to attend the finals, and neither were a few of our fastest ladies. After much haggling, the team was selected: Matt Tarrant, Grant Knowles, Jeff Rowe, Jan Gibson and Alexandra Brietsameter (one lady short of our target). Best of luck!

Click here for all of Sue's photos