The Burger King Pro Dirt series is in full swing, and we were lucky enough to score a few minutes to chat with young up-and-comer Kristin Vermeulen about life on the dirt.
NZV8: We’ve been lucky enough to watch you race, but, for those who haven’t, can you give us a quick rundown of who you are and what you do?
Kristin Vermeulen: I’m 24 years old, and I have been racing in the Super Saloon class since I was 16. The race season runs from Labour Weekend to the end of March, and I usually manage to fit in about 30 race meetings during that period. I’m registered to Waikaraka Park in Auckland, but have also had many opportunities to travel throughout New Zealand, even as far south as Cromwell. Auckland and Cromwell are my two favourite tracks; with Cromwell hosting the New Zealand Super Saloon title in January, I’m looking forward to heading south.
When you started racing at age 16, did you jump straight into super saloons or did you come up through the ranks?
I came through the ranks. I started racing in ministocks when I was 11. Ministocks are a junior class that run a Datsun/Toyota 1200 engine. I travelled all over the North Island, at times clocking up more than 70 meetings in one season, and collected a few trophies along the way. The ministock class has a cut-off age of 16; I turned 16 in January 2008 and began the new season in my super saloon.
That’s a huge jump from Ministocks?
Yeah, it took a little while to get used to. It was certainly very different going from a lower-horsepower car to something with 800 plus. During my first season, I predominantly raced at Baypark, and spent the time just getting used to the car. I was lucky in that my dad, Willie, previously had a race car similar to a super saloon, which we raced at Waihi Beach. At 14, I had shared that car with Dad for a season, but it was still a big step; Baypark was a lot bigger, and a faster track. There were a lot of different factors to take into account, but I got there — lots of perseverance and plenty of track time …
For the full interview, grab a copy of NZV8 Issue No. 141.