By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au
IN WHAT is a major boost to Gladstone, the city has been announced as the venue for the 2005 Queensland Bitumen Karting State Championships to be held in June next year.
Over 350 competitors from interstate and overseas are expected to contest the three day championships at the Gladstone Kart Club starting from June 10.
The announcement is great news for the Gladstone Kart Club and preparations are in place to get their home track up to the required standard.
Gladstone Kart Club vice-president Marnie Rayment said the club were looking forward to the challenge of hosting the prestigious event.
"We are very excited about the news, it means a lot of work ahead but saying that - we are confident that all the correct measures will be in place by June,'' Rayment said.
The state championships will be the pinnacle of what is shaping up as a massive 2005 for the club according to Marnie. "We have three major lead-up events that serve as good preparation and I think plenty of drivers from outside the region who want to have a good look at our track before the state championships,'' she said.
Expect the club to perform strongly at the championships with a clutch of Gladstone members in great form and should feature well on their home track.
Marnie said there were plenty of local karters to look out for including John Grother, Ken Prichard, Dean Ballard, Matthew Rayment, Sean Thomas, Justin Smith, Chris Wisnewski, Cian Fothergill and Josh Krahenbring.
"We have a lot of talent who are sure to do well at the state level, their knowledge of our track will certainly be an added bonus for them,'' she said.
The club is also looking for sponsors to support the event, with the size of the event expected to bring in plenty of money.
"We expect about three-quarters of the competitors to come from outside Gladstone, so there is a great chance for plenty of exposure if someone wants to help us.''
The club is also hosting the final of the Queensland Karter Series on November 27-28.