A clean sweep and a perfect result in the NSW Karting Championship last weekend hasn’t been the most exciting part of Brett Robinson’s year.
The most exciting part of the 32-year old’s year has been getting his seven-year old son Jordan onto the track, which sees the Robinson family enter three generations of karting.
Brett started racing at 7, following the footsteps of both parents and his sister.
“It’s the grassroots of motorsport, and while it is still expensive, it is the cheapest form of motorsport that you can away to on the weekends.
Jordan has just turned 7, and father Brett and grandfather Wayne have started taking him down the track.
“He’s showing some really promising skills,” he said.
Jordan said the most enjoyable part of racing was “going fast”, with his kart able to hit 60 or 70km/h.
However, he was scared the first time he hit top speed.
“I didn’t want to go back in… but daddy hopped on the side and I got back in it,” he said.
His younger brother Braxton, at four years old, is also started to “muck about” in training karts.
It can be nerve wracking for parents as well, with Wayne saying he still gets nervous watching Brett race, even after nearly 20 years.
“It teaches them road rules and how to drive, but also teaches them responsibility – Jordan’s kart costs $8500, and trusting a seven-year-old with that… it’s scary.”
They hope to see Jordan racing some time next year, where they hope he’ll see the success his father Brett has, winning countless national and state titles, including going undefeated at all 3 qualifying and races this year.
In his junior days he was especially prolific, beating current V8 and motorsport heavyweights in Mark Winterbottom, Jamie Whincup and James Courtney at kart meets.
He said the hit to the hip pocket was the reason he wasn’t able to carry on.
“We never had the money to keep moving forward,” he said.
“A lot of the city kids can find it easy to get sponsorships, but out here there’s not much.”
“We’re lucky we get a bit of help from CRG and some help with the chassis [which can cost up to $5000].”
All up, Brett’s kart costs about $10,000, but will need upgrades to the chassis, engine, tires and everything else which can come to another $8000 a year.
Then adding fuel, accommodation at events, transport and miscellaneous costs, the Robinsons admit it’s not a cheap hobby.
However, the next category up, with a KZ motor, motor itself can cost upwards of $10,000.
“It’s unreal,” says Brett.
Wayne sees some of Brett in his grandson Jordan.
“Two weekends ago he knocked 15 seconds off his lap time,” he said.
“If he hasn’t bettered his time, he wants to get back out there and better it.”
“He’s keen as mustard,” he says.
As for when Brett will throw in the towel and retire – being an “older guy” in a sport populated by youngsters – he isn’t sure.
“Maybe when Jordan starts racing seriously,” he said.
“When the financial pressure gets too much or when [Jordan] gets to state and national level, we’ll take stock and I might give it away.”