Four-wheelers flash fast in the field

JAMIE SEARLE
Last updated 05:00 18/01/2014
Grass kart
SUPPLIED
Peter Morgan competing in grass kart racing. He is a past president of the Southern Grass Kart Club.

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Farmers' paddocks and fine weather are needed for grass kart racing.

Southern Grass Kart Club president Nigel Brown said 10 race days were held every season in Southland and the club had about 20 members.

"My neighbour, Peter Morgan, got me involved and I ended up buying one of his karts," Mr Brown, who got hooked on the sport three years ago, said.

"It's a leisure time thing, family orientated and a lot of fun."

Farmers Chris Highstead of Roslyn Bush, Keith Froude of Otautau, and Greg Rabbitte of Oporo, make paddocks available for racing. The tracks, marked with road cones, are 700m or 800m and races are usually six laps.

Southern grass kart drivers have displayed their wares at events at Oreti Park Speedway, Riverside Raceway, Mosgiel A & P Show and in the demonstration class of the Burt Munro Hill Climb.

Karts are either made from scratch or modified track karts and powered by motocross or trail bike motors.

The maximum engine capacity allowed is 510cc (water-cooled) or 610cc (air-cooled).

Mr Brown said karts cost between $800 and $3000.

"Depending on configuration and class, they [kart speeds] can range from 30km to 145km."

Mr Brown, an electrician, won the 256-510cc class at the South Island Championships at Milton last Easter and club secretary Simon Bradley the 206-255cc division.

Invercargill's Davey Hutcheon is the club's starter and finish official after being a competitor for at least 15 years.

"When you work all week and go racing at the weekend, it takes the frustrations out of your system," Mr Hutcheon said of competing.

The next Southland race meeting is at Chris Highstead's Roslyn Bush farm on Sunday.

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- Invercargill Eye

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