OGKRC Life Member Paul Griffiths recently attended the 2011 Australian Karting Nationals in WA. Paul has provided us with this report from the Australia’s biggest race meeting.
I have been asked to put together a quick summary of the recent 49th AKA Nationals held at the Cockburn International Raceway just south of Fremantle in WA.
Given the distance, time and expense involved in getting there, Oakleigh was well represented and the results of our members who finished on the podium have been listed previously on this site. The track was a real challenge with lots of flowing corners and some large changes in elevation once you walked around it. Hardly any stop start corners reminded you of Puckapunyal, yet we ran the same gearing as Todd Rd – mainly because of the undulations. Situated fifteen minutes drive from Fremantle where we stayed, the location was perfect. Weather was fine for the most part – 26 / 28 degrees every day, very agreeable.
To flesh out the published results can I say that Josh Brooker was very hard done by in a sensational attempt to retain his title in Clubman Super Heavy. After leading for all of the final, an ambitious passing attempt by a local driver running second on the last lap left Josh limping to the finish line after the local ended up in the dirt and the third placed runner swooped for the win. Not such a great start for the first of the finals.
No Nationals would be complete without the name Sera appearing in the results – James finishing third in Leopard Light and after leading early in Clubman Light he settled for second in the end, handing his green plate to Queensland’s Cian Fothergill. The drive of the meeting would have to be Dave Sera’s run in the Leopard Light final. Having lost his nosecone in the Pre Final, he started rear of grid and a number of us watched in awe as he sliced through the field, picking off a couple of karts each lap. Just when we thought he would have to settle for sixth as he began the last lap, the two karts in fourth and fifth tangled and Dave sailed onto the podium – a great drive from surely one of the best drivers to come out of Oakleigh.
I didn’t see any of the race, but Damon Strongman did well to come 5th in a very competitive Junior National Light field having been thereabouts all weekend. In Leopard Heavy Michael Griffiths finished third, following home the only karter to retain his National Title from 2010 in Lee Mitchener, and previous National title holder, WA’s Brad Fitch in second. We were pleased with this result given a Heat 2 DNF with a badly damaged kart and a driver in the first aid room for some time.
I know I’ll miss someone, but other Oakleigh members who competed included the McLellan’s, Josh King, Thomas Randle, Grant and Joel Smith, Travis and Samantha Millar, Shane Price and Justin Francis – well done to all.
I can recommend attending any State or National Title, no matter where you think you will finish. You will come away better for the experience and a better racer at the next meeting you step out at. It’s a challenge to learn a new track, but rewarding. You’ll meet some new people, make some new friends and turn it into a holiday of sorts if you’re smart.
If Perth seemed too far this year, give some thought to Darwin in 2012!!