Karters break out birthday cake

Bay of Plenty Kart Racing Club president Phill Brangwynne talks to his son Dylan Brangwynne, who is part of the latest generation in the club’s 60-year history.

“It’s quite good fun and you go bloody fast.”

Phill Brangwynne, president of the Bay of Plenty Kart Racing Club is making a pitch for his sport and the club’s special big 60th anniversary meet out the back of Te Puke this weekend.

The kart club is arguably the oldest kart club in New Zealand with more than 200 members.

“We have kids racing from age 6,” says Phill. And at the other end of the karting spectrum a couple of dyed-in-the-wool karters aged in their sixties.

“One hundred and twenty k’s down the back straight with your butt just an inch off the ground,” says Phill. “Deceptively fast, you get a great sensation of speed. And even the little fellas are doing 85 k’s in their little karts.

The club hopes to have 50 or 60 racers competing on Sunday, September 15 – racing starting at the 750 metre track out the back of Station Road in Te Puke at 9.30am and runs through until about 4pm.

Free entry on Sunday for everyone and there are a couple of grandstands from which the entire track can be viewed. “Sixty years, quite an achievement,” says Phill. And “a very cool family sport” apparently. Grandad went karting, so did his son and the son’s son.

“It’s the cheapest form of motorsport you can have, but nothing is cheap in motorport,” says the president. “It’s expensive-ish good fun.”

A brand new senior kart will cost $10,000, a second hand one $5000. “And the maintenance? They’re all two stroke hi-performance engines and so, after 10 to 20 hours, you have to do a piston and ring on them. And a set of tyres every couple of meetings.”

Phill says you need a couple of good sponsors, and not Mum and Dad. “We teach kids how to get sponsors and how to look after sponsors.” And karting can be a pathway through into single seaters, formula Fords.” And beyond.

Scott MacLachlan, V8 supercar champion, still respects his roots in motorsport. He is Kart Sport NZ patron and raced in the Kart Sport nationals this year. He still comes across to the Bay of Plenty from Hamilton and works with the kids. “Of course they love him.”

And supercar’s Richie Stanaway is another graduate of the Bay of Plenty Kart Racing Club. All the guys doing well at the moment have a karting background.

“Anyhow great karting this weekend and a wonderful achievement for the kart club,” says Phill. “We thought it worth giving a shout out – letting people know where we are and what we’re doing.”

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