CIK: AUS: Sparco South Aussie Sojourn preview

Australia's best Karters prepare for Sparco South Aussie Sojourn! Australia's best kart racers are readying themselves for the second round of the 2004 Sparco Australian CIK Karting Championships, to be held at Adelaide's Bolivar Raceway over...

Australia's best Karters prepare for Sparco South Aussie Sojourn!

Australia's best kart racers are readying themselves for the second round of the 2004 Sparco Australian CIK Karting Championships, to be held at Adelaide's Bolivar Raceway over this weekend, May 1-2, 2004.

The Sparco Championships are the most prestigious Championships in Australian kart racing and have seen the likes of Ryan Briscoe, James Courtney, Mark Winterbottom and the most recent to shoot to prominence, Toyota Atlantic driver, Josh Hunt, graduate through their ranks.

This year's Championships sees the best representation from South Australian competitors in many a year, lead by the Adelaide based Omega Karts team, who are fielding three competitors for the entire Championship in Dunlop Junior Intercontinental A. Two of those are Adelaide locals.

Mason Merritt, in his second year of full time CIK racing, started his campaign off exceptionally well in Geelong, finishing with a podium in the final. With the local track knowledge, the 14 year old will be looking to at least emulate that, if not go two better.

His Adelaide-based teammate, Paul Pittam is in his first year of CIK racing and his performances at Geelong would indicate that he might be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Pittam recorded an exceptional fourth place in the pre-final at the opening round, before an exhaust came loose in the final, forcing him out of the race.

Another Adelaide driver is expected to feature prominently in one of the most hotly contested classes, the 125cc, six-speed gearbox Intercontinental C. These awesome machines produce around 45 horsepower at a total minimum weight of 160 kilograms (kart and driver). 21 year old kart shop proprietor, Ben Hall, will lead the Adelaide charge. After a disastrous first round saw him encounter a litany of problems, Hall is keen to take his Tony Kart to the front of the field. "I think a top five is attainable," said Hall. "I would be stoked with that, but if I made it onto the podium, I would be over the moon."

In Motor Quality Intercontinental A, Eddie Wignall goes into his local event on a high after finishing on the podium at the opening round. His Trulli Kart completed a podium trifecta for the Italian Chassis, named after Renault Formula One driver, Jarno Trulli. Wignall would be looking for much of the same this weekend. Joining Wignall in Motor Quality Intercontinental A will be Alex Schultz. Schultz will be out for a big performance in front of the home crowd, which should take away some of the disappointment from Geelong, where they were unable to arrive at a suitable setup on their chassis. Schultz and Wignall will be looking to throw a strong challenge to Queenslander, Ashley Walsh, who dominated the opening round.

Troy Woodger, who has stepped up to the elite Dunlop Formula A for this season, is the lone South Australian to be competing in the class. After last season finishing toward the top of the Intercontinental A Championship, he has been left with a bit of work to do after the opening round, but like his contemporaries in the other classes, cannot wait for the hit out on home turf.

The Sparco Australian CIK Championships will be supported by the Sparco Junior Challenge, for Junior National competitors.

FAST FACTS

Where: Bolivar Raceway, Summer Road, Adelaide, South Australia (off Port Wakefield Road)

When: Friday 30 April - Sunday May 2

What: Second round of five for CIK (Confederation Internationale de Karting) classes - Junior Intercontinental A (presented by Dunlop), Intercontinental A (presented by Motor Quality), Intercontinental C (presented by Vega Tyres), Formula A (presented by Dunlop), supported by the Sparco Junior Challenge.

Timetable: Official Untimed Practice for all classes Friday, Qualifying Heats, one and two for all classes, heat three for Sparco Junior Challenge Saturday, heat three for CIK classes, pre-finals and finals for all classes Sunday. Action begins 8:30am each day.

-askc-

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About this article
Series Kart
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Ryan Briscoe , Mark Winterbottom , Josh Hunt