He had to fight tooth and nail for it but KartSport New Zealand's premier international prize, the CIK Trophy of New Zealand, is now in Wellington driver Karl Wilson's hands after the 26-year-old won a thrill-a-minute KZ2 class Final at the annual CIK Trophy of New Zealand- presented by Paymark meeting at KartSport Wellington's CRC Raceway near Upper Hutt on Sunday.
Heading into the meeting, internationally experienced defending KZ2 class champion Daniel Bray was the definite favourite. And after besting local hero Wilson in qualifying and the three heats everything seemed to be on track for the 23-year-old from Auckland.
Or at least it did until Wilson beat Bray to the line in the Pre-Final, then Richard Moore,William Thomason and Bray in the thrill-a-minute Final.
Wilson didn't exactly help his cause by fluffing the start of the 31-lap, winner-takes-all, Final, allowing Bray to grab an early lead.
Sowly but surely, however, Wilson, Moore and Thomason edged closer until with just 10 laps to go the four were bumper to bumper.
Moore was the first to show his colours, passing both Wilson and Bray to take the lead. With his tyres well past their best by this stage Bray was powerless to respond, slipping even further back into the clutches of Thomason as Wilson pounced on Moore.
With a large crowd shouting encouragement Wilson remained in front, to the flag, eventually crossing the finish line just over a second ahead of Moore with Thomason and Bray line astern.
A smaller but no less talented field lined up to contest the Junior CIK Trophy Final with victory going to Taranaki driver Aaron Marr from Aucklander Luke Dobbs and Nelson's Matt Butchart.
In the two Senior Challenge support classes reigning North Island champion Daniel Kinsman dominated Senior 100cc Yamaha Light, while Hawke's Bay driver Shaun Reay won Senior 100cc Yamaha Heavy, despite the best intentions of a fast-closing Bradley Tyrrell.
Tyrrell looked every bit a class title threat in the Pre-Final only to lose a nose cone and with it his place in the Pre-Final (the race that decides the grid for the Final).
That meant he had to start the Final from the back of the grid, but despite that disadvantage when the chequered flag came out he was less than half a second behind Reay having not only passed some of New Zealand's best drivers, but also visiting multi-time Australian champion, Remo Luciani who ended up fourth.
In the Junior Challenge support class meanwhile, reigning National champion James Penrose from Lowburn in North Canterbury proved too good even for fast-rising young Hawke's Bay driver Maddison Wise in Junior 100cc Yamaha, James Webb led home a KartSport Manawatu club trifecta in Junior 100cc Yamaha Restricted, and clubmate Kaleb Ngatoa won the Cadet class title from Auckland's Lee Zeltwanger and top local driver Zach Thomspon.
1. Karl Wilson; 2. Richard Moore +1.027; 3. William Thomason +3.236; 4. Daniel Bray+ 4.109; 5. Mathew Kinsman +7.744; 6. Johnathan Pearson +14.905; 7. Jody Vincent +20.509; 8. Michael Kiser +20.987; 9. Scott Reddish +29.923.
1. Aaron Marr; 2. Luke Dobbs +5.217; 3. Matt Butchart +8.060; 4. Mitchell Turner +18.2860.
Senior 100 cc Yamaha Light Challenge
1. Daniel Kinsman; 2. Andy Schofield +3.882; 3. Jaden Hardy +6.646; 4. James Gorham +9.684; 5. Ryan Cappleman +9.844; 6. Harry Wheelans +13.503.
Senior 100cc Yamaha Heavy Challenge
1. Shaun Reay; 2. Brad Tyrrell +0.417; 3. Charlton Hawes +1.600; 4. Remo Luciani +2.284; 5. Jonny Clifford +9.177; 6. Brendon Hart +19.985; 7. Daryl Currie +26.418.
Junior 100cc Yamaha
1. James Penrose; 2. Maddison Wise +0.686; 3. Travis Day +1.618; 4. Rhys Tinney +2.596; 5. Scott Williams +4.377; 6. Hamish Stokes +13.190; 7. Campbell Caird +17.719;
Junior Restricted 100cc Yamaha
1. James Webb; 2. Dylan Drysdale +2.537; 3. Thomas Ingram +4.696; 4. Trey Nairn +4.807; 5. Campbell Joyes +8.960; 6. Jacob Smith +9.004
1. Kaleb Ngatoa; 2. Lee Zeltwanger +0.448; 3. Zach Thompson +3.515; 4. Nick Wiltshire +11.333; 5. Sebastian Bainbridge +11.553; 6. Callum Crawley +11.590
7. Nicholas Evans +11.632; 8. Rianna O'Meara-Hunt +11.767; 9. Dylan Smith +20.946
Prepared by FAST COMPANY on behalf of KartSport New Zealand. To find out more about the KartSport New Zealand 2011 CIK Trophy of New Zealand presented by Paymark contact Ross MacKay on 021 677 919 or via e-mail at email@example.com
Editor's note: Hi-res jpgs of New Zealand's top karters are available upon request by e-mailing Ross MacKay at firstname.lastname@example.org