Since the UK has produced 3 world champions this year I’ve been banging on about why British karting is able to produce a lot of really great drivers.
See “4 reasons the Brits are crushing right now” for more on that.
BUT, I think there is a tougher breed of karters out there who are able to take it to the Brits for world domination of karting, but who have the disadvantage of having to travel to the other side of the planet to do so!
This year I’ve worked with 2 drivers competing at national level in Australia. From that experience I can tell you the level of competition is seriously high. My mate at Euroz Performance Jamie Rush confirmed this when he told me the competitiveness in the X30 class in Australia is as high as anywhere else on the planet. This is why the few Australian kart drivers who come over to Europe to run in World Finals and big events like the SuperNats in the States tend to go straight to the front.
Australian karting is super competitive and they produce some of the world’s best karters. A few notables I can think of straight off the top of my head are Dave Sera, Kip Foster, Pierce Lehane and Jason Pringle.
But, why do I say they are the toughest karters in the world?……
Extreme weather conditions.
Australian Nationals round Newcastle February 2017 – Temperature 48 degrees!
The highest temperatures recorded in the UK ever is 38 degrees in 2003. When it gets that hot here people actually die (over 700 recorded deaths that year). When the temperatures get into the thirties on race days people struggle a bit, and you get the odd heat exhaustion victim getting taken to the paramedics.
So when my driver told me the forecast for Round 1 of the Australian nationals at Newcastle was predicting temperatures in the 40s, I said:
“No way man, they’ll have to cancel it – people will die”
He says “nah mate I’m going and we’ll see what happens”
Now, I was dead certain that race would be cancelled, I had no doubts in my mind that they would refuse to allow kids out to race above 40 degrees… no way.
It shows what I know…. on race day the mercury hit Sahara Desert levels of 48 degrees and they didn’t hesitate to race.
This includes everyone from cadets to KZ. I love to talk about how KZ is by far the most physical form of race driving out there, it breaks current F1 drivers who are supposed to be elite athletes. It is exhausting, yet these badass Aussies were out racing in full race overalls, on a race track belting out even more heat than the 48 degrees air temps. Absolutely incredible!
Not only that, this was a national level race – and that means frantic. Drivers, mechanics and parents running around and lifting karts all day in awnings that must have been like saunas inside.
Let me remind you – 48 degrees! Even Spain has never seen temperatures like that, and the Aussies barely take notice. They are out racing at the limit, togged up with the full race kit and operating at their peak.
But can they handle the cold?
Further to that, it’s not like it doesn’t get cold out there – this year I was working with Hugh Barter whilst racing the Rotax pro tour in 4 degrees and raining…. Just about as ugly as it gets – so these guys cover the lot.
Are the Aussies the toughest karters in the world, I think they could be. What do you reckon?