Only one Southlander, Alex Crosbie, made the long trek to Hamilton for the 2019 Kartsport New Zealand National Sprint Championships but the twelve year old from Invercargill made the trip well worthwhile when he finished third in the Vortex Mini ROK Class for 9-12 year olds in a highly competitive field of twenty-seven entries.
Crosbie became the first Southlander to place at the Nationals since Regan Carter won the Open Class back in 2005.
This year’s Nationals featured 155 entrants from all over New Zealand plus one from Australia while the event attracted huge crowds and massive interest with Kiwi Supercar star Scott McLaughlin also competing, finishing second in the Rotax Heavy Class.
Crosbie arrived with the disadvantage of never having raced at the Hamilton track before, unlike most of his rivals. A club meeting the weekend prior to the nationals proved an ideal opportunity to get some track time with Alex finishing tenth overall. Crosbie then moved on to the Wednesday and Thursday practice days before qualifying on the Friday and proved he was a quick learner by qualifying fourth.
Things were looking positive and so it proved in Saturday’s three heats where each time Alex got a good start and had time in the lead of each before securing finishes of second, third and fourth. Those placings secured Alex third place on the grid in Sunday’s pre-final in which he finished sixth. Grid positions for the final were determined from points from the heats and the pre-final, placing Alex third on the grid for the final.
In that race he got away to a good start and was right on the heels of the two leaders for the first half of the race before comfortably finishing third behind Christchurch driver Louis Sharp and Tom Bewley of Hawkes Bay.
Alex and his family acknowledge the wonderful support they received from Southland with many taking advantage of live streaming to follow the racing.