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Kyle Woods Karting Career


Kyle's Motorsport career started in August 2001, aged 15, after a close friend observed him driving hire karts, recognised his inherent talent and recommended he immediately get involved in the sport. Starting in a Yamaha-powered, low-performance introductory class (J unior National Heavy) , it wasn't long before Kyle's ability ensured a licence upgrade; allowing him to compete in a much more powerful junior category (Junior Re.Sa). Kyle's debut in this class was in the first major event of the year; the 2002 annual Wollongong Street Grand Prix.  Competing against 11 international-standard drivers, Kyle was running 2 nd until only four laps from the finish, when he retired with a mechanical failure.

From this remarkable debut and having turned 16, Kyle and his family elected to step up to the more competitive senior division. Due to age restrictions, Kyle wasn't able to compete in the first round of the Re.Sa Gold Cup series (in Senior Light) yet still finished in a tremendous second place in the Championship.  Along the way Kyle had collected a round win and podium places in every other round contested.

The following year Kyle's team elected to travel further south and contest the very competitive NSW Re.Sa Gold Cup series, whilst continuing to compete in the Qld series and the Ipswich Club Championships at Willowbank. After a year-long battle with some of Australia 's best drivers, Kyle produced an incredible result with victory in the 2003 Championship: in only his second season of racing! 
Kyles steadfast commitment to remaining positive was repaid handsomely when Mr Steve Pettaras (fellow competitor and rival karting team owner of Definitive Racing (BRM)), offered Kyle an all expenses paid test in his Formula Ford; complete with full assistance from a Top-level Formula Ford team (Autonova) with whom he had a very close and ongoing association. Autonova's No. 1 driver at the time was former Australian competitor and internationally recognised and acclaimed driver Anthony Preston. Anthony was at the circuit on the day of Kyle's test undertaking pre-season testing in his new car. Despite understandable nerves and anxiety (this was massive learning experience for Kyle who had only ever driven a manual car three times previously in order to get his road licence!), Kyle performed remarkably, lapping within 2 seconds of Anthony after only three fifteen minute sessions of the technically demanding Wakefield Park circuit. The team were very impressed and Kyle couldn't hide his enthusiasm and enjoyment stating how he absolutely loved the experience. From that day forward Kyle knew without reservation that he wanted to pursue a professional motorsport career. 

Despite this incredible debut in an open wheel race car, Kyle continued his karting career in 2004, again competing for the NSW Re.Sa Gold Cup Championship. This season though there was a change of team with Kyle repaying the incredible generosity displayed by Definitive Racing's Steve Pettaras (who as noted above had offered Kyle an all expenses paid test in his Formula Ford) by joining the Definitive Racing/BRM team. This was a move that provided immediate benefits, enjoyment and success both on and off the track. With the Pettaras Press/Definitive Racing/BRM Team Kyle immediately noticed an improved team atmosphere and increased professionalism, whilst Steve expressed a sincere interest to help Kyle progress in his career.

Midway through 2004, Steve asked Kyle and his team to take a massive leap and represent BRM/Definitive Racing in the Australian CIK Series (ICC or Intercontinental C), which could be likened to the ‘Formula One' of karting.  With only one day's prior testing and racing and despite joining a series which was already into its 3 rd round; Kyle's ICC debut was at Toowoomba in Queensland . 

After what some observers described as an horrific crash in the opening heat (when a competitor's engine seized in front of Kyle while he was doing over 130kph), the BRM team displayed their true strength, banding together with Kyle's support crew to completely rebuild the kart overnight. The team sought and received a special dispensation to allow him to get back on track the following morning (Sunday), in an effort to make sure the kart was race worthy prior to rejoining the competition.

Despite the extensive damage and subsequent overnight rebuild brought on by the crash, having to start rear-of-field (14 th ) and with no prior race experience on this circuit (the accident happened in the warm up before the first race), Kyle demonstrated his determination, skill and courage by working his way from 14th to 3rd, proving what those close to him already knew; he had the skill and speed to run with the best in Australia.

His second race of the weekend (everyone else's 4 th ) was the event's Pre-Final, and Kyle didn't disappoint; repeating the remarkable result from his earlier race and again finishing in 3 rd position. The scene was set for a fairytale finish to what had seemed like a disastrous weekend only 24 hours earlier.

The final race of the weekend counted for everything, with the Australian CIK Championships working on a “winner-takes-all” basis at each round. Starting from grid three courtesy of his amazing 3 rd placing in the 2 prior heats, Kyle fought a close battle for a podium position the whole race until the last lap where, with only 4 corners remaining, contact from another competitor whilst challenging for 2 nd position saw Kyle having to retire from the event. The rest of the season proved to be an extremely rewarding and successful endeavour for Kyle and the BRM team, with consistent front running pace displayed at every meeting; with various placing's in both the Australian series and NSW state series, in addition to a hard-fought 3 rd place in the Sydney City Titles. Throughout 2004 Kyle maintained regular contact with the owners of Autonova, who had asked Kyle to test their car again throughout the year. Kyle wasn't able to undertake this test due to time constraints relating to his university studies (Kyle is undertaking a Pharmaceutical Sciences degree), a decision that reflected the maturity he has consistently shown on and off track since the beginning of his career.  With the assistance of Greg Fraser and Sonja Vaangale at AutoNova, in addition to the unwavering and tremendous support and sponsorship offered by ALPANEL (Aust.), the team purchased an RF98 Van Dieman for Kyle to contest selected rounds of the NSW State Formula Ford Championship. Kyle undertook several tests days with AutoNova at Wakefield Park in Goulburn, NSW, prior to his debut Formula Ford meeting at Sydney 's Oran Park in June of 2005.

Competing against some of Australia 's finest drivers', most with vastly more open wheel experience, Kyle managed to finish an incredible 10 th (against 28 competitors) in only his first meeting. Kyle's amazing success continued with two 6 th position finishes at only his second meeting!

To finish of the year, It was agreed that it would be enormously beneficial for Kyle to compete in the inaugural A1 Grand Prix of Nations at Sydney 's Eastern Creek. This event attracted top level competitors from both state and national competition from all over the country and the field was filled to capacity (36 cars). After qualifying inside the top 10, a first corner incident in race one as a result of some over enthusiastic driving from some drivers resulted in Kyle receiving rear contact and being spun around. After restarting his engine he eventually rejoined in last place about 400m behind the last competitor. It was here his relentless determination was again illustrated where during the remainder of the race he managed to chase down the pack in the distance to pass 15 cars in 9 laps to finish 21 th . Starting from grid 20 for race 2 he finished in 12 th place. Kyle's goal for the weekened was to finish inside the top 10, and at the conclusion of the first lap of the final race he attained that position. However on lap 3 whilst in 8 th place Kyle's weekend and high expectations were ended when heavy rear contact destroyed his right rear suspension.

Using the valuable lessons learned from the races in 2005 as well as multiple test days conducted over the season break, Kyle entered the 2006 NSW Formula Ford championship (In what is widely recognised as the toughest and most competitive state-based motorsport series in Australia) with high hopes: To finish in the top three for the championship and to win a race.











           
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