Faine Kahia: Kartsport
National Schools is only 3 weeks away - 7 & 8 July at Kartsport Wellington. I decided to enter their video competition, to help promote kartsport, and the prize is two Life Cam HD 1080 web cameras (1 for the individual + 1 for the school). My video is on Youtube - see the link below. I need to get as many views as possible so it would be awesome if you can help out by watching it then clicking 'like' on it in Youtube. If you have a facebook page please post it on your page and share it with friends (they can do the same too if they want). Thank you!!!!
A few weeks ago I was selected into the Waikato Academy for Young Achievers, a three year programme which has many past graduates performing highly at international level. Today was the first session held in Rotorua and I when I got there it was great to see another kart driver, Liam Lewis, from my school was also selected. We had really interesting presentations from experts in sport psychology, health and communication/media, and next Sunday we spend time with a panel of elite athletes sharing their experiences with us which will also be really useful.
Well have a good week everyone and enjoy the video :):):):)!!!!
Here's an update on how I got on at the Kartsport New Zealand National Champs at Easter weekend.
I was one of 25 competitors in the Senior Rotax Light class. This was the hardest and strongest field which consisted of many notable champs and multiple title holders with more years of experience than I’ve been alive! Being one of the youngest and certainly the least experienced, I was eager to prove myself worthy to be out there. Also this was only my second ever race meeting in this class.
We headed for Hamilton early Wednesday morning to get some track time before the official test day on Thursday. I got into the flow and got my head around things. Then during testing on Thursday I was pleased with the consistency of my times but was looking for about a second which laid hidden in kart setup. By the end of the day we'd found it and had knocked a second off my times, putting me in good pace with the top half of the field.
Day 3 Friday was qualifying which consisted of two sessions to go hard, with the best time being the grid allocation for Races 1 and 2. I was feeling quite chilled back and relaxed with my head well and truly in the game. My times from qualifying session 1 put me up around mid pack and in qualifying session 2 nobody improved due to the track surface gripping up, slowing and binding up the karts. So from the two qualifying sessions I earned grid position 14 out of 25. This was right in between two previous NZ champs. To give you an idea on how close the times are, from grid 1 to me the lap times were from 39.15 seconds to 39.50 – i.e. only 0.35 of a second from me to 1st. Job done I then had the rest of the day to focus on a game plan for race day on Saturday.
Race day Saturday had the best weather we could hope for, sunny and no wind. My race engineer, Lance Fisher from KartZone Rotorua, reminded me to keep calm and cool, so I whipped out my phone and played a game which helped me stay chilled. We get one practice run which is vital for determining kart setup. We were let out the gate but my kart didn’t start. Usually this would be very stressful because of how important the practice run is, but instead I turned all my mental energy towards the upcoming race in my role as a driver, while race engineers problemsolved and worked on the kart to get her running again. I went back to my pit site with a smile on my face regardless. Shortly after, with the ignition switch fixed and my head in the game, I was well prepared for Race 1. All 25 karts were in formation and ready for the lights to go out for the rolling start. Within the first lap I had worked my way up from 14th to 9th, only to have the race interrupted by a red flag due to an incident on the track. We were forced to reform for a restart, back to our original grids. The restart was tight and I found myself caught on the outside being pushed back to 18th. However in Race 2, starting on grid 14 again, I fought my way up into 10th behind the current NZ1 Yamaha Light champ and previous Rotax Max Challenge winner.
Accumulated points from Races 1 and 2 earned me grid 11 for the Prefinal. At the race start the first corner took four karts out of the equation and I worked my way through the chaos to claim 7th position. For me it was now a race against time to catch the front six that had broken away after turn 1. I quickly got up to pace and was gaining in each lap, although not close enough to make a serious move by the time the chequered flag came out. Strategically I was quite content to cross the finish line in 7th as this would be my grid position for the Final race. We were pretty stoked with my Prefinal performance as a spot in the top 10 for the Final is very hard to obtain at a national event, particularly inthis class.
The feeling of being up this high in the field with so many karts behind is indescribable and knowing I was with the best of the best was a greater feeling than any race I’ve ever won. About halfway through the race we were interrupted by the red flag again. The race had to be restarted but this time in what they call ‘Indian formation’ which is single-file (same as a V8 Supercars restart). It was quite a sight for both drivers and spectators as the 25-strong field stretched for a good 150m. By now the intensity had increased 10-fold as there weren’t many laps left to go. I had some good battles and after being pipped into 5th position I maintained the pace of the four in front of me. Hell bent on getting back into 4th I made a dive at turn 1 which didn’t go my way and four karts that were in a freight train behind me (eg. karts bumper to bumper pulling each other along) took advantage of an opening and passed me. Now in 9th after such a strong stance in 5th I was gaining on the group in front of me by more than one second per lap. Alas the chequered flag came out too soon so 9th was my final placing and official NZ ranking. Actually since the winner was an Australian (world no. 2 David Sera, who has just been signed by V8 Supercar team, Kelly Brothers Racing), in theory I am ranked 8th out of New Zealand drivers.
The atmosphere was intense but it was a privilege to be sitting on the grid next to six legends in kartsport, being three world ranked drivers and three NZ champions. I got through a clean start and by the third lap was up to 4
We were stoked with this result and my performance impressed many in the karting community. Very happy with how it all went.
I'd just like to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to John Penny, Penny Homes Limited, and Tuwharetoa Fisheries for their generous support. Also Bevan Weal and the team at Sign On for the awesome kart decals.
Last Thursday I got a call that the work being done to turn my junior rotax engine into a senior rotax was complete so Friday night we shot up to Hamilton for a two day event called Top Half.
All the major title holders turned up wanting to get crucial track time before national champs which are being held there at Easter. Both days racing went really well for me and by the end of Heat 3 I was sitting in 3rd place overall (behind NZ1 and another multiple title holder who’s represented NZ at the Worlds). In the last two races I only just missed out on a couple more points so I finished the weekend in 4th place overall which was still a great result. I was reminded that the entire field of senior rotax drivers have 10+ years exprerience over me, not to mention the quality of gear they run, so it felt good to be up there with the best of them. As a bonus I was observed by race officials all weekend who didn’t hesitate to award me the rating I need to compete at nationals. Only 2 weeks to organise everything for that but determined to get there.
Have a good week and catch you soon.
P.S Kartsport Nationals are being held Easter weekend 6-8 April, at the Karsport Hamilton track, River Road (opposite Hamilton Airport).
Hi everyone, Faine here. I've had a busy few weekends since our first team get together so thought I'd update you.
On Thursday 16 February the TV show DIY Marae came to Taupo to give one of my marae a makeover (Rauhoto in Nukuhau), four days of hard work, fun and filming. I could only spend one day helping out but it was a great opportunity to give back to my iwi (tribe) for supporting me in my racing. The show will be televised sometime in May, exact date to be confirmed.
After that I spent the weekend 17-19 February at Hampton Downs, Auckland, checked out the new V8 Supertourers, met some of the drivers and supported a couple of friends driving in the V8 Challenge Cup class. While I was there I entered a nationwide simulator competition being run by Sim Sity Limited. The prize is a trip to see the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercars race in Australia. Although their simulator is very different to mine I managed to set the fastest time for the weekend and in New Zealand. Sim Sity are currently travelling around the North Island and will be in Taupo very soon where I hope to improve on my Hampton Downs time.
On Sunday 26 February the New Zealand Prokart Series Round 2 was held at Kartsport Rotorua. I had hoped to race in the rotax support class but unfortunately we couldn’t get a rotax engine. Determined to race anyway, I decided to blow the dust off my old Yamaha KT100 engine which hasn’t been used for over a year, and see how I’d get on in the support class Senior Yamaha Lights. This turned out to be a decision that really paid off – I clocked up a 1st placing and two 2nd placings which put me in 2nd overall for the day. To top it off, in heat 1 I broke the lap record for this class at that track, and then smashed it again in heat 2. After waiting for an hour while officials pulled my engine apart to check it was legal, they officially confirmed my lap record. The main highlight was the fact that it was my very first time racing in seniors yet I competed at a level that exceeded expectations. Can’t wait to get back out there again.
So that’s what I’ve been up to lately and I’ll keep you posted on upcoming events.
Faine ‘the Fig’ Kahia