Part time karter just has the knack

By Shane Hurndell

Hawke's Bay karter Tash Porteous is one of those drivers big budget competitors envy.

"I enter at the last minute, I turn up at the track at the last minute, I'm always borrowing parts and tools and my kart is well over 10 years old ... yet I do pretty well considering the number of meetings I do," Porteous explained after meeting the deadline by seconds for her entry in this weekend's 45th annual Hawke's Bay Karting Club's Blossom Meeting at Roy's Hill.

Her "pretty well" is an understatement.

The 22-year-old mother of a 4-year-old daughter, Porteous is the Hawke's Bay club champion in the Club Sport 120 class. Last year, she finished second in her class at the Blossom meeting and, in 2010, she won the class.

This weekend will be her fourth meeting in eight years.

"I raced for a couple of years when I was 13 and 14 and then took three years off to race ministocks at speedway. I aim to be at the track every club day from now on ... I want to get right back into it," Porteous said.

Several of her male opponents at last year's Blossom Meeting were quick to praise her ability to avoid mishaps.

"I like to keep out of trouble. Karts don't have reverse so, whenever I approach a mishap, I always go behind the kart even if it means going the long way past them as they will never reverse out and hit you," Porteous said.

Should Taradale's Porteous podium at her third consecutive Blossom Meeting this weekend, her mechanic, Alan Pithie, will be among the first she thanks.

"Alan does a fantastic job with my engine. Dad and the rest of the family give me plenty of support too."

In addition to a podium finish, Porteous is eager to retain the Greg Murphy Trophy for the top female driver at the meeting.

A Havelock North High School product, Porteous keeps fit for her kart racing by playing indoor netball and being a zumba instructor.

If she can secure sponsorship Porteous intends to race a Rotax kart as well as her Club Sport 120 kart.

"My long-term goal is to win our club's one hour GP with Donna. We want to be the first female crew to finish it and the first female crew to win it," Porteous said, referring to the Bay club's most experienced and most successful female driver, Donna Lee.

Porteous and Lee are among seven female drivers who will be racing regularly at the Bay track. Wellington sisters Maddie and Ashleigh Stewart and Hawke's Bay's Melanie Oughton will also be in action this weekend.

Oughton is the Hawke's Bay club champion in the Yamaha Light class. Lee was the highest placed female at this year's national championships and has been the Hawke's Bay Open champion for the past three years.

This weekend's event will involve more than 100 karters from throughout the country.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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