Finish line in sight
NATIONAL and international quality karting will soon be on the Central Highlands’ doorstep as construction at the driver training and motorsport facility on Emerald’s outskirts nears completion.
This will not be the average run-of-the-mill tarmac surface, but a first-class facility worthy of attracting some of the country’s best drivers.
“It’s going to be the premier track in Australia and that’s no exaggeration,” Emerald Karting club secretary Peter Baker said.
The national standard racing surface will set local karters on an unparalleled footing among their peers, only serving to strengthen a rapidly developing field of karters in the region.
“Karting is only just starting to take off,” Emerald club vice-president and Leopard Heavy divisional driver Dean Davies said.
“Some of the other drivers we’re coming up against are racing just about every day of the week - we’re only racing about once a month.”
Even without the readily available track access, the Central Highlands is home to a number of up-and-coming karters setting the standard in the throttle-fuelled sport including Midget class drivers Brock Owen and Lewis Herwin.
With the track almost 80% complete, all that remains is the final surfacing and landscaping. The track will remain off-limits for a further three months to allow for surface curing. The club is also awaiting its licence approval by the Australian Karting Association before practice can begin around late September, early October.
“It’s not going to be your soapbox type racing. It’s going to be regulated formula motor sport,” Baker said.
“We’re expecting to hold national meets here purely because of the size and width of the track.”
The track’s 10-metre width will not only accommodate the driver training requirements but also the highly prestigious CIK European style of karting, Davies added.
“Most drivers who go on to race Supercars and Formula divisions started off in this sort of karting,” he said.
You have to look as far as Brisbane or Ipswich, he added, to find a track of comparable standard to what the Central Highlands will soon be offering.
“I expect we’ll probably be having competition at least once a month, with social meetings at the track every other Sunday,” Baker said.
In the down-time from competition, the track will also double as a driver training facility through most weekdays, generating not only added revenue to ensure the Emerald Kart Club’s long-term survival, but would also provide a safe and secure venue for the next generation of our region’s drivers.
“A lot of tracks can’t keep up with the ongoing maintenance costs because there is very little money in just the karting side of things,” vice-president Davies said.
Track fast facts
Max 40 kart grid
130kph kart speed (Leopard)
Televised competition capability
Breakdown pit lane
Wireless control lights