The KZ2 class come alive at the second round of the Australian Kart Championship at the Newcastle Kart Club and former state champion Tom Hughes was looking to grab a strong result. Hughes made steady progress throughout the opening round of the Series in QLD and was looking to make a strong case in Newcastle.
Saturday morning hit and due to the heavy rain over night part of the track was under water. There was a heavy delay in racing and due to this delay qualifying was cancelled and the starting positions for the opening heats came from Friday’s time practice where Hughes was able to put himself inside the top ten on the fourth row in position eight.
Hughes started heat 1 from position eight but unfortunately was involved in a first corner incident putting him back in the field finishing the opening lap down in position sixteen. Hughes immediately in the opening few laps made up a couple of spots and into position fourteen. Hughes continued on the fightback when mid race he made another couple of positions and up into position twelve where he finished heat 1.
Hughes starting again out of position eight in heat 2 dropped a spot of the start and backed to position nine. Hughes stayed in position nine for most of the race setting times just as quick as the drivers around him and looking to make a move for position eight. The former state champion was able to make the move for position eight late in the race to come home with a strong top ten position in the second heat.
Due to his first two heat results Hughes again started inside the top ten for the third heat in position ten. The Tony Kart pilot dropped a couple of spots of the start and down to position twelve looking to make progress forward. Hughes again setting competitive times to the drivers around him was closing in on position eleven towards the end of the race. Hughes made a move in the second half of the race for position eleven staying there for the rest of the race.
Heat four and Hughes had maintained his top ten starting spot in position ten and he had his best start of the weekend moving up spots of the start. By lap five Hughes had made up three spots into position seven and was looking really strong. Hughes was racing hard in position seven before an incident in the back end of the race dropped him back four spots to position eleven where Hughes finished the final heat.
Hughes was again out of position ten for the final looking to make another good start. Hughes unfortunately got a poor start and after the opening lap was down outside the top fifteen in position seventeen and having plenty of work to do. Hughes mid race was able to make some progress and move back into the top fifteen. The former champ continued to push hard and was able to make up another position to go up to fourteenth. Hughes closed in within a second of his next target by the flag but came home in position fourteen.
Hughes was overall happy to run top ten most of the weekend but disappointed with the final outcome. “It was a good weekend but disappointed with my start in the final that really cost us” Hughes noted. “To run top ten pretty much all weekend and have a poor start in the final that cost us a strong top ten is frustrating but that’s racing and we will come back stronger for round 3”. Hughes will be back on track for the next round of the Australian Kart Championship at South Australia.