It’s a case of ‘what a difference a year makes’ as far as KartSport’s Mainland Series is concerned with over 60 karters signed up to contest the three weekend/six-round HSD Building Contractors Ltd-sponsored sprint kart racing series which kicks off at Invercargill and Dunedin this weekend.
After steadily building momentum over the previous 3-4 years the pan-South Island kart series was – unfortunately – one of the first victims of last year’s first major COVID-19 Lockdown.
This year though, it is back, with a new naming rights’ sponsor in Queenstown-based quality home builder, HSD Building Contractors Ltd, a prize pool valued at over $10,000 and a series’ entry list across 8 classes of 66.
“Which really is a fantastic result, particularly considering the distances most of those who have signed up to do all six rounds of the series have to cover,” says KartSport NZ National President Graeme Moore.
A change in date – as well as season – this year sees the HSD Mainland Series kick-off at the first round of the KartSport Southland and KartSport Dunedin clubs’s jointly organised ‘Southern Series,’ which traditionally has been run in late winter.
However, by bringing forward the dates the two clubs have been able to host the opening two rounds of the HSD Mainland Series at the end of what is now considered as ‘motorsport month’ in the Deep South.
The 125cc Rotax Max Light Senior class has attracted the most entries (15) across the 8 classes being contested with Southland’s Luca Burns and Mosgiel’s Jaxon Harvey two of a number of top-line Mainlanders expected to shine this weekend.
Top-level Christchurch-based international Jacob Douglas, meanwhile, will be the driver to watch among the 13 teenagers who have signed up in the Rotax Max Junior class, with competition expected to come from James Black from Dunedin and Ollie Workman from Nelson.
Fellow Nelson ace Kevin Barker is expected to be back on – or very near – the top in 125cc Rotax Max Heavy, while in the Vortex Mini ROK class it is going to be hard to look past Christchurch’s Zach Tucker, Blenheim’s Arthur Broughan and Southlander Robbie Batt.
With a fresh influx of keen pre-teens since the last Mainland Series concluded in 2019 it is hard to get a handle on who will be the driver to beat in the Cadet ROK class. That said in last weekend’s KartSport Canterbury club champs Henry Fisher won the class Final so he should feature at Invercargill and Dunedin this weekend as well.
With 8 entries across the two (Light & Heavy) weight divisions the Briggs & Stratton 4-stroke engine-based ClubSport LO206 classes will provide some of the best actual racing at all six rounds, and with the fields set to be supplemented by as many as 12 other local drivers at the 3rd and 4th rounds of this season’s HSD Mainland Series (at Nelson and Blenheim), Tony Dyer (Lights) and Anton Rasmussen (Heavy) will have their work cut out getting to and staying in front.
After this weekend’s Southern Series rounds in Invercargill and Dunedin, it is then the turn of the KartSport Marlborough and KartSport Nelson clubs to host the 3rd and 4th rounds of the 2021 HSD Mainland Series at their annual two-day/two-venue Sunbelts meeting over Queen’s Birthday weekend (June 05-06)
The final two-day round will then be hosted by the Christchurch-based KartSport Canterbury club at its long-running Garden City Championships two-day meeting at its Carr’s Rd kart track in late September (Set 25-26).