By ROBYN BRISTOW
North Canterbury is home to New Zealand’s grass kart champion.
Seventeen-year-old Clay Pohio, from Kaiapoi, held his nerve, and picked his lines well, to win six from six races at the New Zealand Kart Championships at Hedgehope near Invercargill earlier this month, giving him the NZ1 title.
Clay says he can’t believe the results given he was up against former champions Jack Noble-Adams and highly respected North Canterbury drivers Harri Silcock and Drew Godfrey, who all finished the weekend second, third and fourth respectfully.
Hosted by the Southland Grass Kart Club, a total of 200 of the country’s top kart drivers attended, competing in 13 different classes Intermediate classes through to seniors, all with various engine sizes.
Clay is a member of the Christchurch Grass Kart Club, which had the greatest number of entrants. The club holds race meetings once a month at a property on Edmonds Road, Ohoka.
The tracks are typically run on grass and depending on weather conditions can be dry and dusty or wet and slick which can require different chassis set ups, tyre choices and gear selections. The Southland track was a tough mix of all these during the two days racing.
Clay competed in the 0 – 204cc Air Cooled Four Stroke class. His kart was a Monaco chassis with a modified Suzuki FXR150 motor, capable of around 95-100kph.
The competition was held over six races with points for each. Up until the final race Clay had already won five so had an almost unassailable lead, but due to the predetermined draws he had to start from the rear of the grid.
He held his nerve and created some passing opportunities to take the lead, making it six from six for the weekend. He has already started putting plans in place for next season but first looks forward to getting back into some local club events.