NZ F1600: Karting Standout Hedge set for Timaru Debut
 November 7, 2017| 
  • Feeder Series
#23 Jordan Michels, winner Rnd 1, SIF1600 Ruapuna Park Oct 2017 (800x312)

TIMARU, New Zealand – The opening round of the 2017/18 New Zealand Formula 1600 Championship gets underway at Levels Raceway in Timaru on Saturday, and a 13-year-old from Auckland is set to raise the level of competition. The event also marks the second round of the South Island F1600 Championship, with Callum Edge due to make his debut in both series, joining a new wave of young rookie drivers that made an impact a few weeks ago in round one at the Ruapuna circuit in Christchurch.

Hedge will compete in last season’s championship-winning Mygale SJ08A that was driven by Pukekohe teenager Liam Lawson. He comes with a wealth of karting experience and is the current Junior Rotax and Junior Yamaha national champion. He is also contesting his second season in the SsanYong Racing Series (for “ute” pickup trucks) in the North Island.

“I’m looking forward to racing in Timaru,” commented Hedge. “Our aim is to learn and get some good results and points for the national series.”

Winner of the opening SI F1600 round and leading on points is Southland’s Jordan Michels (pictured above). It is Michel’s third season competing in F1600 and he has experience on his side.

“We’ve made great progress over the winter,” said Michels. “We’ve got a great group of guys in the team and a well-developed car. Timaru has been good to me in the past and it’s great to have a round just two weeks after the first as it helps to carry the momentum from Ruapuna.”

One of several new rookies to make an impact at Ruapuna was Christchurch driver Bailey Paterson. Paterson won the opening race and went on to finish runner up in the remaining two races to Michels. 

Another kartsport rookie expected to be competing at the front is Josh Bethune from Aukland. Bethune, 14, showed real speed at Ruapuna, qualifying second behind Michels, but was hindered by a mechanical problem in the first race.

Over 20 entries are expected to compete for both overall points and within three separate classes. Winner of the SI F1600 scholarship, Nelson rookie Matt Butchart returns after making an impact at Ruapuna. Butchart was on track to win the Historic Class 3 until a fuel issue meant he was unable to finish the third race. This class is proving to be very competitive with current SI Historic Class 3 titleholder Roger McKenzie (Begg FM3) finishing second in class to Joseph Oliver (Crossle 55F) while current national titleholder Andy Downs (Lola T642E) was third.

Seasoned campaigner Robert Toshach (Spectrum) currently leads the SI Class 2 ahead of Southland’s Noel Atley (Swift) and Christchurch's Philip Butcher (Van Diemen).

Drivers and teams will face qualifying and three races at the Timaru International Raceway on Saturday.

Image by courtesy of Media 77.

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