Kiwi wins major US kart race

SIMON EDWARDS
Last updated 11:46 21/09/2012
Karl Wilson

Thunder from down under: Kiwi driver Karl Wilson took out the Superstars of Superkarts title from a field of Americans.

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Wellingtonian Karl Wilson has blown away some top United States drivers to win the Superstars of Superkarts crown.

The sole non-United States competitor at the September 8 and 9 competition, on the Laguna Seca circuit in northern California, Wilson's consistency and race tactics ensured him win a duel with J R Osborne, from Colorado.

Wilson was up against drivers with bigger budgets.

But, Wilson and his support crew - his father Gary (president of KartSport Wellington), Wayne Sproston and Matt Walker  - kept the Kiwi 250cc twin cylinder kart in top condition for track action.

The kart's newly-designed engine was fired up for the first time two days before being shipped to the United States in a home-made metal box. 

In typical No 8 fencing wire style, Team Wilson unloaded the kart in California and use the box as their work bench.

Wilson, who moved from Stokes Valley to Wellington a year ago, successfully defended his New Zealand SuperKart title at Manfeild in January this year. 

He has also raced in Australia, South Africa, Japan and Macau, but Wilson counts his success in California as his best international result.


The Laguna Seca course was ''very demanding,'' he said

''It's got these off camber sections and elevations changes that really test you.''

Drivers were getting to top speeds of 200 kilmetres an hour.

In qualifying races on the Friday, Wilson finished second.

''I don't think too many people knew who I was.''

But they were sitting up by then, with the driver from Down Under definitely on the USA crews' radar.

Osborne secured pole for the 'preliminary main' event the next day and Wilson said it was clear he was his main rival.

Wilson's plan for the 15-lap final on Sunday was to push the pace.

He said New Zealand drivers were used to driving consistently, but cornered relatively conservatively so that a set of tyres will last a race meeting. 

Stateside, drivers can burn out tyres in a single race.

''I just stuck on him [Osborne] and pressured him," said Wilson.

Not only was Osborne grinding out his tyres three of four laps into the final  but the engine trouble he'd been having got worse at the high speeds.

Midway, Osborne holed a piston and had to retire.

Wilson held the lead for the rest of the race, finishing just shy of a minute in front of Dean Martin and James Ingram.

Buoyed by this success, Wilson said he was even more determined to get over to Australia next year to contest their two-round national series.

He's confident he can ''give it a good shot'' if he can get money for the campaign together - not cheap at perhaps $15,000 per round.

Wilson is grateful that his father, Sproston and Walker took time off work to support him in the USA. He also thanked to those who helped him get there - KartSport Wellington, RaceTech, Brent Melhop from Business Knowledge, Shane Parker from Multi-Storage Solutions and Marty Hunt from Typeface

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