Over Easter weekend Saint Kentigern College students Callum Hedge, Joshua Parkinson and Charlie Coleman made the trip down to Invercargill to compete in the KartSport New Zealand National Sprint Championships.
Callum and Joshua competed in two classes, Junior Yamaha and Junior Rotax, Charlie Coleman competed in Vortex Mini Rok. Sebastian Manson, who attends the boy's school, also joined the older boys at the nationals, racing in Cadet Rok.
Callum was already current 2NZ in Junior Rotax and current North Island champion going into the weekend, as he lined up on the grid against a competitive junior field with drivers between the ages of 12-15 from all over New Zealand. Callum was looking to go one better than last year at the National Sprint Championships. Not only did he achieve this in the Junior Rotax Class - becoming the 2017 National Champion - but he also backed it up with a win in the Junior Yamaha class gaining back to back national titles.
Callum was very dominant all weekend in both classes especially the Junior Max field where he qualified on pole. He had two heat wins, pre-final and final wins. Callum will now focus on the Rotax Max Challenge which will be held at Kartsport Rotorua in about a month’s time where the youngsters are battling it out for the seat to the world final later in the year.
Joshua said of his weekend away: “I competed this year in two classes. Junior 100cc Yamaha and Rotax Max Junior. Saturday was Yamaha where I placed 6th overall. I had good pace but an incident at the start caught me out allowing the inside row to get away and I just couldn't bridge the gap. Sunday, we felt confident of a better result but sadly this didn't happen. A fourh in heat one was followed by a DNF in heat two. This meant starting off P13 for the pre-final, where I managed to make up a lot of spots and finished fourth and set the fastest lap. I was confident I could at least make a podium spot in the final. Unfortunately, the kart had a mechanical failure and the engine died at the start. It was very disappointing after all the work put in by Dad and the team. Congratulations to Callum though on taking the win in both classes”.
Year 8 student Charlie Coleman said: “Going to Nationals was such a long way. But it was definitely worth it. It was a great way of getting to know the kart, a new track and I could meet more people. It was a bigger pack and a higher skill set for all the drivers, making it a lot more competitive. I was also impressed with how my Dad organised 12 other Mt Wellington club members to get their karts down to Invercargill in a big container. Finally, it was great to be with my Dad and for my family to see my successes and racing skills on the streaming video (especially for my Grandad in the UK, who obviously couldn't attend the event”
Young Sebastian Manson who attends the boy's school came away with 8th position in Invercargill in his respected class. Sebastian was a part of the team that won the Auckland Schools Championship alongside Sam Wright, Mitchell Frazer and Charlie Coleman in 2016. The boys will be looking to retain this championship in about a month’s time with the National Schools not too long after.
Callum Hedge, Josh Parkinson and Sam Wright will now focus on the Rotax Max Challenge where they are all still in the hunt for the 1 seat that is up for grabs to represent New Zealand at the World Final in November. Sam Wright will head across the ditch this weekend to continue competing in the Australian Rotax Pro Tour where he is currently sitting 10th in the points. Mitchell Frazer will also join them at the Rotax max Challenge New Zealand in Rotorua in May.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand