Australian Pro Tour Round 3 Lithgow

Daniel Connor Reports

Once again I was heading back to Australia only this time a real contender, lying 2nd overall in the points. It was a usual 3.55am start and with all my summery clothes packed, jandels, singlet's and shorts after the fantastic summer. We arrived into a wintery Lithgow... Oh shit. I didn't worry though because every driver loves the wet, they don't mind being in the freezing cold all day soaking wet, nope not us drivers.Lithgow Connor grid.jpg

After working hard all day on Thursday preparing the kart, getting wets on rims and slicks on the kart, putting on the Alfano and setting our kart up for the dry, Friday morning was wet, really wet. So we went about setting the kart up for the rain and taking shelter from the weather in the Pacific Kartsport tent. First session was up and the Rotax light field went out, including front runners Pierce Lehane and Daniel Rochford and to my surprise, first time on track I was quickest, first time in the wet for over a year it seemed to have all come back very quickly and we topped session one. Unfortunately the rest of the day the quick guys got really quick and we didn't seem to go much quicker, still competitive for a top 5 I was reasonably happy.

When Saturday morning came it was still raining, perhaps less but the wind had picked up and it became very cold, not what I was thinking after packing my bags for sunny Australia. Qualifying went very, very, very poorly, I'm still not sure what went wrong but the rain had stopped, the track was still wet but was super slippery, I ended up in 21st Position. I thought this was not ideal seen I was 2nd in the points standings, one of the quicker karts on Friday and all my rivals taking out the front spots on the grid. I kept a cool head and to my surprise the rain stopped, it stopped enough for the track to dry and for our first race to be on slick tyres, bugger new track and I have only driven it in the wet. Things went very well and with almost the quickest lap the kiwi boy from 21st came through to finish 6th in a train behind the likes of Lehane and Greenbury. It was a tough race but very nice to have the speed to get past people and a good show for the spectators. Race 2 came up quickly and it was even drier, after a few laps I had made it up to 11th and still chasing down more places before getting turned around and finishing way down the order in 19th. The rain had picked up again and the track was half dry and half wet like heat one which suited me fine, another good drive to make it up to 6th place again from 21st on the grid. My heat race finishes meant I would be starting the Pre Final from 8th Position. I was happy I was starting from grid 8 but also a touch annoyed about heat 2 and wondered where I could have started if I didn't get turned around. Lithgow Connor two karts.jpg

Sunday to my wonderful surprise was .. raining, again. Oh joy I thought getting into my wet race suit, not to mention my nice wet gloves. This meant the Prefinal was wet, but conditions like it was in qualifying, not raining but very slippery. We did improve the kart a lot but it was enough and slipped backwards to 10th.

The rain had stopped again, started again and then stopped again more than a hundred times throughout the day and it must have been my luck that the Final came when the track was in the half wet and half dry condition that I had been previously fast in. Starting in 10th was much better than 21st where I had qualified and I was quietly confident that I could get a good result. Also with the Aussie's having a bit of a bin it or win it attitude, I would just drive a smart race and wait until they had 'binned it' to move up. Half way through the 28 lap final the red flag came out and I had made it up to 7th, we restarted in single file with the whole field compressed. After the slightly chaotic start I had managed to fight my way up another couple positions and was lying in 5th. 5th was good, 5th was excellent after qualifying 21st and being up and down and bashed around a little bit, finally I was in a solid position worth lots of points plus in the group with the biggest names in Australia, well, World Karting. My luck didn't last for long though. On the last lap I was taken out. All that hard work, one of the hardest and mentally tough races I have ever driven was all taken away on the last lap and I got to go home with a 15th place instead and a beaten up Go Kart. On the plus side the experience was priceless and all the different weather combinations and scenarios with the best karters in the world was well worth the hassle of the rain and the 15th place in the Final. Lithgow Connor many karts.jpg

Lastly I would like to thank my sponsor NAC Insurance, all the support I get from Arrow Karts Australia and Right Karts here in New Zealand. Also Huge thanks to the team at Pacific Karts who run me in Australia. I am now 3rd in the Standings.

Check out the following pages:

NAC Insurance

Pacific Kartsport

Right Karts









KartSport New Zealand