ChCh 11-year-old wins national karting title
Marcus Armstrong left Wellington at the weekend not only with the national schools' junior restricted 100cc Yamaha karting title, but with some much needed revenge too.
After impressing at the national championships in Hamilton at Easter, Armstrong, 11, was spun out in the final and finished fourth.
Manawatu's Jacob Cranston won that meet, so it was with a fair amount of pleasure that Armstrong won the weekend's schools' title in the capital.
Armstrong was, again, completely dominant.
In his five races, the year-7 Medbury School pupil had three wins, a second and a third. There were 14 drivers in his grade, and the mixed grid rules had Armstrong starting from random positions, including last in one race.
"In that race, I came through the field and was winning by the end of the second lap," he said. "So it looks like all of our work on passing paid off."
He was the most dominant driver of the weekend, with the lowest (best) score of any racer in the six classes.
It was also a pleasing way for Armstrong to farewell the junior restricted class. He turns 12 at the end of the month, and although he is allowed to stay in the class if he wants, the lure of tougher competition and pitting himself against better drivers in the junior class is too appealing to ignore.
The junior class is for drivers 17 and under, but his coach-mentor, Matt Hamilton, is confident he will handle the step up in class comfortably, as is Armstrong himself.
"I did OK when I came up from cadet to junior restricted. I won my first race, so it should be OK. I'm looking forward to it."
It's all part of his long-term plan – to get to Formula 1.
He's a big Kimi Raikkonen fan, but also told The Press, before Sunday night's British Grand Prix, that his favourite team was Red Bull and its drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, who finished first and third.
While many young drivers put their karts away at this time of year, Armstong is looking at another overseas trip to help his driving.
He went to Japan last year, and another visit there is on the cards, as is a trip to Las Vegas. "That'll depend on what dad says," said Armstrong, son of prominent Christchurch businessman and former car racer Rick Armstrong. "He makes those decisions."
He might only be 11, but Armstrong Jr is already well equipped with the gift of the gab, an essential skill for any successful driver.
When asked how happy he was with his win at the weekend, Armstrong's response is that of a seasoned veteran. "It was great, I'm really happy, but I couldn't have done it without my team and all their hard work."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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