Graham Powles working on the Mermaid 200cc engine that will be fitted to the GoKart 800

Some special parts of Australian karting’s heritage will be on display at the 50th Australian National Sprint Kart Championships to be held in Darwin, Northern Territory on July 7/8.

Graham Powles has been a part of the karting scene since the very beginning with his love affair of the sport beginning as a young 11 year-old boy in the country Victorian town of Numerkah in 1959.

Since retiring from racing in 1996, and then subsequently selling his mechanical business in 2006, Powles has turned his hand to restoring the karts from yesteryear to keep himself occupied.

In what started out as a part-time adventure, has now turned into almost a full-time job for the ex-pat Victorian who now lives on the Gold Coast.  Such is the collection of karts in his collection, Powles now has 32 karts from various eras of the sport in various levels of restoration in his ever-growing collection.

At the upcoming National Championships, Powles will have on display three karts highlighting the early years of the sport.  One of these karts will be a GoKart 800 powered by a Mermaid 200cc engine, similar to the one that carried Norm Chipperfield to victory in the CAMS sanctioned National Championships in 1961.

“The GoKart 800 is an iconic machine, it was one of the first karts to be manufactured in America and it will be great to have it on show in Darwin,” said Powles.

“The Mermaid engine is huge, when you put it on the kart behind the driver there’s not much room left.  I’m sure when it goes on display it will turn some heads, and then when we start it up there won’t be anyone in the place that won’t hear it.”

Also on display at the July event will be a twin-engine Whirlwind kart and an Ashford Ezykart, powered by a Victa 125cc engine.

2012 marks the first time in the 50-year history of the National Championships that the event has been held in the Northern Territory.  With more than 250 competitors expected to converge on the Hidden Valley complex, it is anticipated that the championships will become the Top End’s largest motorsport event in terms of participation.

The event will be preluded by the 2012 Northern Territory State Karting Championships on June 30/July 1 prior to practice for the National Championships beginning on Thursday July 5.