Young SI drivers chase national KartSport honours

A 16-strong South Island contingent heads to Wellington this weekend to contest the 10th KartSport New Zealand National Schools Championships.

In the past nine years of the two-day event, the premier secondary schools title has been won by Christchurch's St Andrew's College in 2008 and 2009, and Nelson's Waimea College in 2006.

Last year, Christchurch drivers Jordan McDonnell and Jacob Mitchell won the primary/intermediate schools awards for Chisnallwood Intermediate and Windsor Primary.

This year, Canterbury schools are represented by James Penrose, Jordan McDonnell (Rangiora High); Ryan Yardley (Burnside High); Cameron Campbell (Amuri Area School); James Munro, William Reith (Christ's College); Scott Manson (Shirley Boys' High); Jai Buckley (Lincoln Primary); Jaden Ransley (Halswell School); and Marcus Armstrong (Medbury).

Nelson has three drivers from Waimea College, Clarke McFadzien, Matt Butchart and Jamie Smith, while Blenheim's Taylor Forbes will represent Garin College. Dunedin's Oliver Shearer (Bayfield High) and Joshua Bethune will also take part.

This year's event has attracted 100 entries, with drivers competing for the opportunity to drive a Formula Challenge racing car. Each winning driver has to present a project at his or her school on New Zealand racing great Bruce McLaren.

The focus of armchair motorsport fans this weekend will be the V8 Supercar round in Townsville, Queensland, with eight Kiwis competing in three categories.

Heading into the fifth round of the Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia, Craig Baird leads the series from fellow Kiwi Daniel Gaunt, with former Team NZ A1GP driver Jonny Reid fourth. Andre Heimgartner is also competing.

After two rounds of the Dunlop Series (the feeder class to the Australian V8 Supercars), Christchurch-born Scott McLaughlan is second on the points table, five points behind Australian Chaz Mostert. Taumarunui's Daniel Jilesen, who finished third in last year's second race, is also competing.

Two Kiwis are in the top 10 in the V8 Supercar Championship, with Shane van Gisbergen third and Fabian Coulthard ninth. Greg Murphy is still recuperating from back surgery.

This weekend's British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone is sold out. Aucklander Mitch Evans will race in the fourth round of the associated GP3 Series, which he leads. The series runs in parallel with several F1 European rounds so the GP3 drivers come under the watchful eye of the F1 teams. Across the Atlantic, Canada hosts the IndyCar Series in Toronto, with Scott Dixon third overall.

- Benjamin Carrell is the online editor of