AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONS GIVE HIDDEN VALLEY THE THUMBS UP
Australian Karting Champions Cian Fothergill and James Sera have given the Hidden Valley Karting circuit the ‘thumbs up’ following practice for this weekend’s 50th Australian National Sprint Kart Championships at the Berrimah venue.
The pair, who between them have secured six national championships during their illustrious careers, will line up against each other in both the Clubman Light and Leopard Light categories.
At the corresponding event in Perth last year Fothergill won a unique double and as a result will enter this weekend’s event as one of the favourites in the highly competitive categories.
“I arrived in Darwin last Friday then spent last weekend watching the racing at the NT Titles and have been itching to get out there ever since,” said Fothergill.
“The track layout is one of the most challenging that I’ve competed on anywhere in Australia. I love the undulation up the hill and it’s got a bit of everything when it comes to the technical aspects.
“If the racing last weekend is anything to go by, we’re in for some great action across the weekend.”
In between the two events Fothergill, like many of his travelling counterparts, has spent a few days experiencing the Territory lifestyle and tourism attractions.
“The week up here has been fantastic. The atmosphere around the town is great and wherever you are, something is always happening,” said Fothergill.
“Over the past few days it has been great to be able hire a scooter and take in such things as the sights of Mindil Beach, the jumping crocodiles on Adelaide River, the wharf and the B-52 bomber museum.
“There’s little doubt in my mind that I’ll be coming back to the Top End sometime in the future.”
While Fothergill flew into Darwin from his Gold Coast base, Sera had a slightly different preparation for this weekend’s championships. The three-time National champion completed the 41-hour trek by road from his native Melbourne to Darwin.
“I’ve always wanted to see the different sights of the outback, and it was great to have now ticked that box,” said Sera.
“It was an experience to see it all, but maybe next time I won’t be rushing it so much and be able to take in even more of the sights.”
In today’s practice, Sera was amongst the fastest competitors leaving him high in confidence entering tomorrow’s qualifying.
“At the moment I’m one of the fastest, but there’s still a long way to go before the championships are won or lost,” said Sera.
“There’s some tough opposition in both of my classes, including the likes of reigning champion Cian Fothergill and young gun Pierce Lehane.”
Of the local drivers, Berrimah’s Bryce Fullwood looks set to lead the local charge at this weekend’s national championship. The two-time State Champion will be hoping to add a green plate (awarded to the national champions) to the pair of blue plates he won in 2011.
Joining Fullwood in flying the Territory flag high at this weekend’s event will be Brodie Green, who finished fourth in the Junior National Light category last weekend, and Noomonah’s Royce Nott who is a multiple-time state champion.
Nott will be joined in the chase for the Leopard Light podium by Coconut Grove’s David O’Dowd and Palmerston’s Chris Gatt.
Qualifying begins at midday tomorrow with a pair of heat races set to run into the evening. The pre-finals and finals will be contested on Sunday afternoon and evening.