Dust storms challenge Stein's skills

Nelson's Willem Stein has won third place in the production middleweight class at the Australian Open blokart championships in Perth.

Willem said he the three days racing were "awesome" but had expected the Fremantle Doctor to come in. Most of the sailing was from the "land wind", which saw huge dust storms, and surrounding bush fires at the Lake Walyungup. The dust storms added a unique challenge, obscuring the other competitors and the marks while racing.

Melissa Francis, also part of the seven-strong Top of the South blokart team at the champs, said the slippery surface of Lake Walyungup is very similar to the Vortex Track in Richmond, but there are elements.

"The longer distances and challenging wind shifts have made racing very exciting," Francis said. "Temperatures of 40-plus degrees are extremely draining especially when spending nine hours a day on the playa.

New Zealand cleaned up the top titles in the Australian Open for most divisions, with most winners coming from the Auckland club.

The land sailors are now competing in the World Championships, at the same venue.

Nelson's Nathan Bradley is highly placed to take in the production middleweights, with Corri Stein also a top contender in the production lightweights.

Francis said the rest of the team were well back in the pack, being outclassed by some world-class competitors.

The Nelson Mail