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Tight Racing In Sunbelt Championship

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Nelson's Bryce Borlase was among the stand-out performers when over 70 kart racers from around the country attended the recent DVS Sunbelt Sprint Championship in Blenheim and Nelson.

The competitors completed five heats on the fast-flowing Blenheim circuit on day one before heading over the hill to do the last four heats around the tight Nelson track.

Borlase contested both the Rotax Max Heavy class and the masters division, which he won, and was second overall behind now two-time champion Keith Wilkinson of Auckland.

Wilkinson won five out of the nine races and even held the Nelson lap record for a moment after heat one before Kevin Barker of Nelson lowered the time even more in heat three. The lap record has stood there for five years and was held by Hamish Cross who set it back in 2011.

Barker finished the weekend fourth which was a great recovery after two DNFs in Blenheim on day one. Mark Ahlfeld of Dunedin was third and rounded off the podium.

Wellington's Ryan Wood, racing in the Junior Rotax class, also broke the Nelson track record on his way to becoming the overall champ for the weekend.

Josh Bethune, the South Island champion from Dunedin, didn't let him win without a fight as he finished only two points behind Wood. Adam Godwin from Christchurch took the final step on the podium.

One of the toughest classes was Rotax Max Light with a full field of 22 karts. Canterbury drivers Jarred Cleghorn and Matt Straker were the two to beat with Cleghorn taking the win and Southland's Jamie Conroy putting in a hard charge to finish third. Local driver Ben Stilborn was looking for a strong top 10 result before a large crash on day two put him out for the day.

Young up and coming driver Louis Sharp from Canterbury won all but one of his races in the Cadet Rok class. Bo Hill of Nelson was the only one to spoil his perfect weekend when he took a win in one of the heats. Hill finished second, with Jacob Douglas of Canterbury rounding out the podium.

William Exton of Marlborough showed why he is 2nz in the Vortex Mini Rok Class. Exton also won all but one of his races and just motored through the field to become the Sunbelt Champion. Zac Christensen of Canterbury was second with Dunedin driver Alex Patrick third. Nelson's Josh Bradley finished in the top five.

The Open class had the fewest numbers but it remained just as competitive. All of the drivers were fighting hard and were within reach of the win but it was Canterbury's Chris Cox who held out Nelson's Matt Butchart and Bailey Paterson, also from Canterbury.

The Sunbelt Championship was also the first round of the Mainland series which continues again at the Southern Series in Invercargill and Dunedin later in the year.


Article via The Nelson Mail - Photo Credit CHRIS SYMES/shuttersports

Bryce Borlase wins the Rotax Max Heavy Masters at the 2016 DVS Sunbelt Sprint Championship.