Young karter lap­ping it up

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

Mo­tor­sport is in young Ki­ahn Burt’s blood.

His dad Richard is a lead­ing jet sprint driver. Mum Rachel is a diehard mo­tor­sport fan. Gran­dad Roger Maun­der is part of the team sup­port­ing the 8-year-old kart­ing prodigy who is turn­ing heads on lower North Is­land cir­cuits.

Over Labour Week­end, Ki­ahn won the KartS­port NZ North Is­land cadet class in Hawke’s Bay, one of the youngest, if not the youngest to win the ti­tle.

‘‘He won the fi­nal by 11 sec­onds,’’ Richard Burt said.

To put that in per­spec­tive, these young­sters take 36 sec­onds to whip once around the track.

‘‘And he did it in the wet. He likes wet tracks. He calls him­self the Rain­mas­ter, the same as Shane van Gis­ber­gen,’’ Burt said.

How­ever, at this stage the young racer is not in­ter­ested in V-8 Su­per­cars.

‘‘The ul­ti­mate dream would be get­ting Fer­rari to spon­sor me in For­mula-1,’’ Ki­ahn said.

Watch your back, Lewis Hamil­ton.

Ki­ahn was 6 when he got the rac­ing bug.

‘‘My friend Ryan Wood did kart­ing and I went down do watch him, and I thought I’d like to do that, and I asked my mum if I could drive one.’’

Ryan is an up-and-com­ing Wellington racer now in KartS­port New Zealand’s ju­nior class.

Mum must have seen the light in his eyes, be­cause de­spite the cadet class be­ing for ages 7 - 11, Ki­ahn was able to start rac­ing in an 83kmh, 65cc Ki­wikart at 6 years.

On his way to the ti­tle, Ki­ahn has claimed plenty of other mile­stones as one of the youngest driv­ers in his class. It’s not been with­out the odd crash along the way, in­clud­ing one where he flipped the kart dur­ing a race and was fer­ried off to hospi­tal.

Noth­ing was bro­ken, and af­ter an eight-week stand down, Ki­ahn was back be­hind the wheel.

‘‘He works very hard to be the best at ev­ery­thing he does. It’s amaz­ing for some­one his age to be as fo­cused - driv­ing a 28-lap race with­out fal­ter­ing. It’s a huge phys­i­cal strain as well,’’ Rachel Burt said.

His fo­cus now is on com­pet­ing at the na­tion­als in In­ver­cargill over Easter in 2017, study­ing videos of the South­land track.

And there will soon be some kart­ing com­pe­ti­tion at home. Ki­ahn’s brother Zan­der is not far off turn­ing 6.

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Young karter Ki­ahn Burt, 8, is a whiz be­hind the wheel.

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