Grass kart racers turn muddy

Grass kart racers turn muddy

The challenge for students to build a go-kart and go racing at Tapawera Area School turned into a mud bath; spinning wheels spraying drivers and making them unrecognisable at the end of a damp day’s track sliding. Despite the mud-coating, it was a day of fun and learning.


Racing had to be called off but not before everyone was mud-splattered and needing a hose down after the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) go-kart challenge.

Dozens of students representing Waimea College, Nelson College, Golden Bay High School, Tapawera, Murchison and Rai Valley Area schools and Blenheim automotive trades academy who’ve been involved in NMIT engineering courses during the year took part in the 7th annual event. The West Coast Trades Academy from Greymouth also joined the muddy madness for their first year with two grass karts. Golden Bay High School brought two karts and a motorised trike with flash pink rims. 

Competing students were part of NMIT’s Top of the South Trades Academy learning through the year, or Mechanical Engineering pre-trade students at NMIT. They’ve been building their kart as they go, using skills learned in fabrication, cutting and welding and machining and milling parts. 

NMIT engineering tutor Kevin Edgar says “The year’s work is a great grounding for youngsters, and for a good percentage, it awakens the beginning of an engineering career. This year we have four girls from Murchison, St Arnaud, Nelson Girls, one girl also comes from Blenheim every Friday.” 


Those who had spinouts or breakdowns were lucky to have trackside help from army engineering students from the NMIT Woodbourne campus and the NMIT engineering school later returned to the school to help fix the rutted field. 

Despite the mud-coating, it was a day of fun and learning – and now all the go-karts will be cleaned up, broken down and the frames given or sold so more students can have a crack next year – hopefully in the sun.

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