CIK: AUS: Series Newcastle preview

READY...SET...GO FOR AUSTRALIAN CIK SERIES Many of Australia's top level kart racers are getting set for the opening round of the rejuvenated Australian CIK Karting Championship, to be raced in conjunction with the Rotax Pro Tour, at...

READY...SET...GO FOR AUSTRALIAN CIK SERIES

Many of Australia's top level kart racers are getting set for the opening round of the rejuvenated Australian CIK Karting Championship, to be raced in conjunction with the Rotax Pro Tour, at Newcastle's Mt Sugarloaf Raceway this weekend (May 30/31).

The Australian CIK Championship has been the springboard for many of Australia's modern day motorsport stars including Jamie Whincup, Mark Winterbottom, Ryan Briscoe, Michael Caruso and Tim Slade in the 13 Series' held between 1993 and 2005.

During their karting careers Whincup and Winterbottom would regularly go head-to-head in the Australian CIK Championship -- a rivalry that has now continued into the V8 Supercar Championship as their careers have progressed over the years.

Whincup won a CIK Championship in both 1998 and 1999 while Winterbottom secured the top crown during 2001.

This year's Championship will see all drivers use the IAME Parilla KF2 (formerly Intercontinental A) specification engine, an engine that produces an impressive 40hp, on the chassis of the driver's choice fitted with Dunlop tyres.

Competitors in the CIK Championship will also receive a participation prize in the form of a merchandise pack from Dunlop, who will also have staff trackside to provide technical assistance.

Newcastle will have two competitors racing in the opening round of the CIK Championship, Simon Roberts and former Australian Rotax Champion Hayden McBride.

For Roberts, this is the next step in his flourishing karting career.

After spending a number of years in the 100cc Clubman category he stepped up to the 125cc Leopard category 18 months ago and finished on the podium at the recent National Championships in his division. Now, he is ready for the next challenge -- the CIK Championship.

Roberts first started his karting career aged seven at the Mount Sugarloaf circuit and raced continuously through until the age of 18. After a couple of years away from the sport Roberts has been a front-runner in the major events across Australia for the past few years.

"This will be the first time that I have competed in the CIK Championship and it is something that I am really looking forward to," said Roberts.

"All throughout my karting career I've always looked at aiming for my next challenge which is why I moved from Clubman into the Leopard class, now it is the CIK Championship as it is considered the most challenging class of karting across the world."

Other drivers lining up for the opening round of the Australian CIK Championship include reigning New Zealand Formula Toyota Champion Mitch Cunningham, former Intercontinental A competitor Ryan Gallagher and PCR driver Matthew Bailey.

It is expected that there will be in excess of 150 competitors racing in the six categories across the weekend during the opening Event of the 2009 Rotax Pro Tour. All drivers competing at this weekend's Event will be using 125cc water-cooled engines with different categories for age and weight divisions.

-credit: karting.net.au

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Series Kart
Drivers Ryan Briscoe , Jamie Whincup , Michael Caruso , Tim Slade