Oddie drives well

HE might be only 11 years old, but Harrison Oddie has already felt the rough and tumble of international kart racing.

The St Patrick’s Primary School student has just returned from Malaysia were he took on the best young drivers from the South East Asian region in the Plus Yamaha International Challenge.

Oddie finished fourth in the final, but nearly didn’t make it to the finish after being hit a by Singaporean driver at the start of the final. Yesterday he was sporting bruises on his right shoulder.

“His kart went over the top of me and his nose cone hit me on the shoulder,” Oddie said.

The crash also knocked the cooling fins off the top of the Gympie driver’s engine. Luckily the damage didn’t affect Oddie’s kart, but the other driver spun out and went back to last.

“I started in ninth and finished fourth overall, but was first for the Australian cadets.”

It was the first time Oddie had been overseas, and the first time he had driven the faster kart with a Yamaha FT100S engine on a Birel try chassis.

Oddie said the karts had a top speed of 110km/h, but didn’t quite reach that speed in Malaysia.

“The track was 990 metres long, windy and hilly. A bit like Laguna Seca. They are the fastest I have ever driven, but they felt the same (as my kart) because the tyres are more grippy.”

The karts are the same as the senior driver’s pilot, but the speed is restricted by adjusting the carburettor.

“I am quite happy with myself,” Oddie said.

“The guy who run over me was the national champion and I kept up with him and passed him.”

At the end of the race there was only 3/10s of a second separating the top six drivers.

“It was pretty close racing,” Oddie said.

The trip overseas ends a great year for Oddie. Before he left he won the Southern Star series in his final race in the midget class. Next year he moves up to rookie.

Gympie Times

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