Age no barrier for Karters at Masters’ Games
A two-day KartSport event hosted and run by local club Kartsport Dunedin at its Silverstream Raceway facility in North Taieri helps kickstart New Zealand’s biennial Master Games in Dunedin this weekend.
With the extreme weather Dunedin has experienced over the past month all competitors will be hoping for cooler temperatures for the popular event.
Senior karters (the lower age limit is 30 years-of-age) from all over New Zealand are in the city for the event, though the majority are from within the South Island.
Rotax Max Light has 8 competitors over 3 age groups and in the 40-49 class it would be hard to look past Canterbury’s Terry Stephens with Dunedin being his old stomping ground but no doubt Nelson’s Darren Claridge and Canterbury’s Darryl Crichton will be nipping at his heels for that top spot.
The 50-59 will also be a very tight battle with Canterbury’s Gary Cleghorn, Nelson’s Gary Fisher and Tracey Mann all in the own rights have a very good chance of being crowned NZ champ.
Rotax Heavy has 11 competitors, the 30-39 will be battled out between locals Jamie Greene and Chris Cayford who should be quick but 9 heats may be more than he can chew off.
The 40-49 age group will also be an all Dunedin affair with newcomer Adrian Chamberlain expected to hold off the retired Daniel Harvey.
The excitement though will be in the 50-59 group where there is plenty of experience and between local Ian Carter, Canterbury’s Sean Van Heerden and Southlands Craig Harding we should see this battle go down till the last heat. The 60-plus group will be battled out between Dunedin racers Peter McDonald and old fox, Neil Shearer.
Open numbers are down this year but both Norman Wilde and Gary Fisher will put on a great display for the spectators.
The biggest class this year and the first ever time at the NZ Masters Games is the Briggs & Stratton LO206 one, and it is great to see competitors supporting this new KartSport class in such numbers and truly boost the event.
With 6 entries in
the 40-49 class we should be blessed with plenty of action,
if we looked at experience then Terry Stephens should
dominate from his fellow club mate Mark Roberts but don’t
count Greg Bennett out, after many years out of the seat no
doubt he’s still got the goods.
50-plus is also looking very competitive, with the local pairing of Barrie Lay and Martin Hildreth will have their work cut out to hold off hard charging drivers of Paul Bugler and Peter Richardson who have made the long trip down from the top of the South Island.
It is also great to see the KT100 class is still alive and kicking in Masters with an all-Southland affair as the siblings of Nigel McAnelly and Maryanne Renton try and hold off the hard charging Graham Reid
Racing starts 11am on Saturday with 5 heats per class and then the final 4 heats on Sunday followed by the separate 25 laps Grand Prix for us to get overall winners in each class.
Spectators will also get an added bonus with the owners and drivers of some Vintage Karters doing displays throughout the weekend.
You will be able to follow all the action live on Speedhive.
Despite the recent wet weather, it is unlikely the drought conditions in Otago will ease. As a proactive measure the Otago Regional Council will be coordinating regular inter-agency meetings over the coming months.
“In times of difficulties like drought, it is important that agencies are consistent and joined up in their communication, these meetings will ensure advice to communities is appropriate and accurate,” said Chief Executive Sarah Gardner.
“We have been incredibly impressed with the proactive commitment being made to save water and change water use habits over this time. We encourage others to take the lead and make sure they moderate their own personal water use and prioritise water saving in their homes and businesses,” she said.
“With that said, the Otago community should be praised for their efforts and vigilance so far in protecting people, animals and plants, and managing their use of land and water during this drought” said Mrs Gardner on behalf of ORC Councillors and staff.
“We’re also pleased to see the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor acknowledge the seriousness of the drought in Otago. Enabling access to support for our rural community is critical at this time,” she said.
“Our thoughts go to the farming community, who are finding it stressful with stock water supplies drying up and stock suffering in the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing in Otago,” Mrs Gardner said.
Federated Farmers Provincial President Phill Hunt underlines the concerns farmers have around access to stock water supplies.
“We are facing what many older farmers are describing as the worst dry spell they have seen in decades,” he said.
“Farmers are understandably concerned about the wellbeing of their stock and are destocking where needed. Having sufficient access to stock drinking water is critical for stock wellbeing.
For many farmers, the stock drinking water supplies we rely on in an average year aren’t available or aren’t sufficient this year.”
“Farmers need to plan accordingly. That means looking at stocking rates and preparing to adapt these to the conditions, and having a plan A, B and C in place rather than hoping for rain.”
“It also means being aware of our environmental responsibilities while we’re trying to access additional stock water supplies,” he said.
Director of Environmental Monitoring and Operations Scott MacLean reminds the community that Otago’s Water Plan allows stock to access water in rivers and lakes for drinking.
“So long as they don’t cause pugging and erosion of the bed and banks, stock are allowed to access waterways for drinking. Farmers should view the permitted activity conditions in the Water Plan before doing so,” Mr MacLean said.
ORC acknowledges the effective communication and information sharing already occurring between rural support agencies.
The first inter-agency meeting will be hosted in Alexandra on February 13th.