Local young gun makes tracks in the racing world

Emerson Vincent is carving up the track in both quarter midget racing at the speedway, and in karting.

While he might be racing every other weekend, he always has to finish his homework first.

The eight year old, has been karting since he was six years old. Last year, he spearheaded a team of Kiwi karters in the Australian Rotax Pro Tour where he came second overall in the Micro Max class.

This year, he is taking part in the Australian Kart Championship. The last round saw him compete at Mount Sugarloaf in New South Wales, where temperatures reached 52 degrees.

“That was tough,” says dad, and former semi-professional racer, Jody Vincent. Officials called off racing for the day and started earlier the next morning.

While battling the heat and sometimes jetlag, Emerson says he enjoys the Australian rounds because of the number of competitors.

“There’s lots of people to race,” he says. Jody adds, “There were 274 competitors in the last round. That’s about double the number of karters in New Zealand.”

The rules are different over there too, which took a little bit of getting used to. “It pushes him to do better,” Jody says.

As well as being a young karting pro, Emerson also races at speedways throughout New Zealand in the quarter midget class with other racers aged eight to 15.

“I like going fast,” he says.

Jody says Emerson is passionate about racing.

“If he didn’t love it, we wouldn’t do it.”

He says Emerson loves playing racing games, being on the simulator and racing people from other countries, and of course physically racing. “Sometimes I ask him if he wants a break and he says ‘no Dad, I want to race.’”

The ACG Strathallan student says he sometimes feels nervous going up against the big kids at the speedway, but he manages to hold his own.

“I think the precision from his karting has helped in the quarter midgets,” Jody says.

While Emerson is fully involved in the racing world, he and his family are staying realistic about the future plans. “Our goal is just to drive and keep driving. If we end up being a family who continues to drive at the speedway in 10 to 15 years time, then we’re happy with that,” Jody says.

The Vincents are thankful for the support they get too. “We’ve got a good crew. We couldn’t do it by ourselves, Emerson’s got a little fan base.”

Along with racing, Emerson enjoys playing rugby. “He plays for Karaka, and his team has been unbeaten for three years. He’s made some good friends through that.”

Emerson will be heading back to Australia in March, to gain championship points, he’ll also be earning airpoints. “He got upgraded to Koru before I did,” says Jody.

Round two of the championship takes place in Geelong, Victoria from March 31 to April 2.