Karting: Title rewards richer for Turner

By Shane Hurndell

Gone are the days when Hawke's Bay karter Mitchell Turner earned a helicopter ride for himself and a mate after winning major titles.

"I get too well looked after by my sponsors these days to expect anything like that," Turner said when reminded of his 2009 reward for winning the national cadet class title.

Turner, who was then a Heretaunga Intermediate School student, took one of his best mates on a helicopter ride to school provided by one of his then sponsors, Vaughan Nairn, of Helicopters Hawke's Bay.

I was expecting the Karamu High School 15-year-old to have something equally exciting lined up after his latest success at the weekend. In his third attempt North Island champion Turner won the KF3 class title at the Confederation of International Karting Trophy of New Zealand meeting in Wellington.

"I finished fourth last year and fifth in 2011 so to win it this year was pretty awesome. Winning a title in an international class ranks right up there with my career highlights," said Turner, who has been racing for seven-and-a-half years.

With a second and two third placings on Saturday, Turner qualified second for Sunday's two races. He won his pre-final by 6s and the final by 8.5s.

While the KF3 class is his main focus, he also races in the Junior Yamaha class at Hawke's Bay Karting Club meetings as there are few other KF3 class competitors in the Bay.

"I'll do both classes at the national and North Island championships which will also be raced at Wellington's Wynn's Raceway. The convincing wins I had in Wellington at the weekend will give me lots of confidence when I return for the nationals at Easter and then the North Islands at Labour Weekend," Turner explained.

The weekend's event also doubled as the first round in the Pro-Kart Series. Turner won the series in 2011 and was second last year.

"If I finish the series in the top six I will go into the draw for a trip to Las Vegas to race in one of their major meetings in November. "Obviously, if my name was drawn out the trip would be subject to securing the necessary sponsorship," Turner said.

The Tec Racing Supplies and Exprit Karts-sponsored driver will tackle a couple of Hawke's Bay club meetings before the second round of the Pro Kart Series which will be raced in Rotorua on March 9 and 10. This round will double as a Rotax Max Challenge round.

When Turner isn't racing his kart he is likely to be found working on or racing his Honda Civic. He intends to race this in the Honda Cup Series which is raced in conjunction with the V8 Super Tourers.

"After all my time racing karts I'm quite enthusiastic about racing cars," he said.

Turner was the only Bay driver to win a title in Wellington. His clubmates Maddison Wise and Trey Nairn were third and fourth, respectively, in the Junior 100cc Yamaha final. Aucklander Ryan Grant won the senior KZ2 class title for a record sixth time in Wellington.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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