The Griffiths Report VCM Performance Junior Top Guns 2015 Round 2

Day 2 of Junior Top Guns at Oakleigh for 2015 looks like a carbon copy of Day 1. Weather fine and sunny, tents and marquees flapping lazily in a gentle breeze – all in all a perfect day for racing. After a bit of practice in the morning and early afternoon, pit crews and pilots were making final tweaks and adjustments in readiness for qualifying, and after Driver’s Briefing we were ready to go.

We should also note that yesterday’s aerobatic champ from Cadets 9, Ruby Gibson, was back at the track and ready to race after spectacularly coming out of her kart yesterday following a tangle in Heat 2. Good to see her back and having another go, and a pat on the back for Oakleigh’s Doc, Ian Donaldson who does a great job at all our meetings.

Junior National Light

Declan Fraser again the pole man with a 43.994, beside him Zackery Best, Jacob Dowson and Angelo Mouzouris the second row. Fraser off to a quick start and heads Michael Clemente, Best, then Elijah D’Cruz, but in the first 3 laps we had a procession of karts go off at JSKC – we had worn out the yellow light and had 7 drivers queued up behind the tyres by halfway. Meanwhile Fraser has disappeared in the lead, out in front 5 seconds ahead of Best, then Clemente, and Mouzouris and went on to record an easy win. Eventually 10 DNF’s, so a long queue at the kart wash bay as the next class got underway.

Heat 2 – let’s hope things are more serene this time –  Fraser away to the lead, Mouzouris, Best then D’Cruz as all karts completed the 1st lap, then the second lap too, so a big improvement on Heat 1. Fraser got away from the rest and to a big lead, Mouzouris a distant 2nd with D’Cruz right on him and gets him at the Carousel with 4 to and Clemente goes though too, then Best gets under Mouzouris to go to 4th, but Fraser all gone in the lead with 2 to go. He takes the win, behind him D’Cruz, Best and Clemente, then Mouzouris.

Fraser off the front row with Best, but Best not best as the light went Green, and Fraser, then Clemente got away and after 2 laps had a big lead, next was Mouzouris, then Best (so 4th Best), then Marcus Fraser. 6 laps in and Fraser was looking like he had every other heat – a winner. Clemente was equally lonely behind him in 2nd, then Best, then finally a group of karts; Mouzouris, Marcus Fraser and D’Alia joining onto this group, then other groups further back again. So what we had now was 3 lonely karts out front, then a series of mini 3 kart races behind this – but Fraser looked a cert out front. Fraser was a cert, and took the win; Clemente, then Best.

All Points (for each class these are the combined points for both days – so the overall winners for the meeting):

  1. Fraser D.
  2. D’Alia
  3. Kolar
  4. Fraser M.
  5. Mouzouris

Cadets 9

At the last minute of qualifying Will Harper took Pole off Matthew Domaschenz with a 46.640, then Damon Woods and Brodie Thomson. Heat 1 and at the green it was Harper, then Domaschenz, Woods and Thomson, so little change from the way they lined up, or from the previous night. A few laps in and Harper and Domaschenz were well clear of the rest, but locked together in battle as they fought for the upper hand at the pointy end. Behind them Woods and Thomson were also locked together, so two pairs. With 3 to go Harper still held sway in the lead, and Woods the upper hand in battle #2 – then a lap later Domaschenz went under Harper at JSKC for the lead. Last lap and Harper all over Domaschenz, but couldn’t get around him and Domaschenz held on for the win, Harper, then a gap to Woods and Brodie behind them.

Again Harper and Domaschenz off to a good start in Heat 2, Woods coming along with them and a gap back to Thomson, Beau Russell, Chloe Potter, Ruby Gibson and Austin Blanchard. Harper and Domaschenz then went ahead, putting on the same show as yesterday, then a gap to another pair: Woods and Thomson also closely coupled, but the winner was going to come from the front 2. Finally with 3 to go Domaschenz goes under Harper at JSKC and the result was a little inelegant as Harper ended up wide on the exit, dropping well back – Domaschenz thus an easy run to the line and the flag.

The Final and Harper off to a good start, Domaschenz 2nd, Woods, Thomson, Potter, Gibson and Blanchard spread out behind them. Lap 6 and Harper had a lead of 4/10ths on Domaschenz, otherwise there was little of interest happening – all the karts were well apart, except the last pair of Russell and Blanchard who seemed to be continually 2 karts wide and swapping places in their own little race; that is until Blanchard spun at the grid hairpin and dropped to a clear last. Finally Harper and Domaschenz got closer together – now less than a tenth between them and that’s how they stayed for the last few laps, Harper defending with 2 to go, Domaschenz having a look, but not getting through as Harper took a half second win in the end, Woods 3rd.

All Points:

  1. Domaschenz
  2. Harper
  3. Woods
  4. Thomson
  5. Russell

Junior National Heavy

Benjamin D’Alia popped to the top with a 44.980 ahead of Bryce Woollard, Aaron Cameron and Taine Venables, so a couple of new names up there this time to go with last night’s combatants Woollard and Cameron. D’Alia looked OK at the start but Woollard brave around the outside and held it for the lead, Cameron followed through soon after, D’Alia 3rd, but not for long as Fallon, Venables and Keely Branson all got ahead of him, so not so good for the local boy. Meanwhile Troy Alger and Ellexandra Best tangled at the grid hairpin and both went out. By lap 5 we were back to Friday night with Woollard and Cameron out on front, but only 2 tenths between them. Around and around they went – Fallon just catching sight of them occasionally from back in 3rd, but Woollard holding on as they began the last lap, until Cameron squeezed through at Tony Kart – could Woollard fight back? No, was the answer as Cameron stayed narrow and Woollard followed him across the line 8/100ths later, Fallon then D’Alia behind them.

D’Alia again looked like he got a good start, but 2 corners in Woollard was in the lead, then Cameron, Fallon, D’Alia now 4th, then Venables and Branson. So before long we were back to the familiar combo of Woollard and Cameron, although Fallon was not a million miles behind and on Lap 5 Cameron got under Woollard at the grid hairpin to take the lead – however no pulling away from Woollard, and then Fallon joined on the back to make a 3 kart train. With 2 to go this promised more than the usual 2 horse race – now we had a 3 horse race; still Cameron though as Woollard waited and Fallon watched. Start of last lap and Woollard stopped waiting and went under Cameron at JSKC, but Cameron never says die and went back under at the Dipper, all 3 side by side on the way out and Fallon the unlucky one on the outside at the Carousel, so took a trip through the dirt and back to 4th, Cameron meanwhile got the upper hand from Woollard, and D’Alia sailed through to take 3rd.

Cameron away like a shot, then Fallon and Woollard, P2 man D’Alia dropping back to 4th with a slightly wide run through Arrow as we went green. 3 laps in and Cameron was over a second clear in the lead but Fallon had Woolard right on his number plate in 2nd  and 3rd . 2 laps later however Fallon and Woollard had settled into a rhythm and were working on catching Cameron, which they did on lap 5 and Fallon went under him at Tony Kart turn, Cameron now sandwiched between Fallon and Woollard, Alger now also part of this crew. Then Woolard and Cameron through in a bold move at Arrow, so Fallon 1st to 4th in one easy move. Now Alger got into it, going into 2nd in the Dipper, Cameron still out front until Alger eased by through MKC with 6 to go. All this brought D’Alia onto this group, so now there were 5. Finally, we have something more than just Cameron and Woollard chasing each other around, although I’m sure they would have preferred just the 2 of them.  4 to go and Woollard into 2nd under Cameron at MKC, Alger a small break, but nothing in it. Then Fallon has a look at a Cameron into the Dipper with 2 to go, but only succeeds in dropping them further off the leaders; Alger now a gap and Woollard would have to grow a leg to catch him. He almost does, but Alger just held on to take the win, Woolard 3/10ths behind, then Fallon, who had got past Cameron on the last lap, Cameron and D’Alia – best race of the night!!

All Points:

  1. Cameron
  2. Woollard
  3. D’Alia
  4. Venables
  5. Branson

Cadets 12

Cooper Webster with the world’s fastest J gets it to pole position again with a 45.587, followed by Hugh Barter, last night’s winner Kai Allen, then Jay Hanson. At the green, Webster to the fore, then Barter, Allen and Hanson as they spread out behind him. If anything, Webster looked more dominant this time pulling away to a good lead, while the rest ran tighter together in a snake behind him – Hanson now at the head of the snake, then Allen and Barter, Braydon Callaghan, Kai Upiter, Jasper Ellery, Marcus Lobko and Callum Potter. A few laps later Callaghan was moving through and up to 4th, Webster still well clear out front. Callaghan through to 3rd now behind Allen who was leading the rest, behind the dominant Webster, and a lap or 2 later that’s how they finished.

Webster again away well in Heat 2 but a couple of wild slides and spins on lap 1 as Lobko goes off at Arrow and then Beau Harris, Joshua Hocking and Callum Potter all off at Tony Kart. Once they settled down Webster again found himself in the lead and Allen was soon behind him, another class where the races were a repeat of yesterday’s racing. Eventually Webster’s lead grew and again he took a comfortable victory ahead of Allen, who was in turn well clear of the rest – the rest led by Callaghan, then Barter, Jasper Ellery and Upiter.

The final and Allen and Callaghan away best as Webster found himself in 3rd, then Barter and Upiter, Blake Purdie and Aaron Oliver, Hugh Simpson and Michael Horner further back in the field. Out front Callaghan was piling on the pressure and Webster was coming on too, so a tight trio at the front led by Allen. 6 to go and Callaghan has a look for the lead at the Carousel, then thinks better of it, but in doing so allows Webster through into 2nd. Then 5 to go and Webster goes deep into the Dipper and takes the lead, Callaghan and Allen just a bit of a stoush and they drop back a bit – but not for long and they’re soon back on Webster, and Hanson now joins them in 4th, but Webster gradually pulls a gap and looks like he’ll take the win – which he does ahead of Allen, Hanson and Callaghan.

All Points:

  1. Webster
  2. Allen
  3. Barter
  4. Hanson
  5. Callaghan

Junior Clubman

As they go out for qualifying Benjamin Delaney loses a wheel at MKC and pirouettes across the track, which gets the attention of those following him, but once they all settled down it was the familiar names of Spencer Ackermann, Simon Fallon and Oscar Piastri topping the time sheets, eventually Piastri fastest with a 41.496, then Ackermann and Fallon. Heat 1 and Pancione fouls a plug before we go green so we have a number of roll around laps while he gets restarted, then at the go Ackermann to the lead ahead of Piastri and Iredale, then Iredale through to 2nd ahead of Piastri, meanwhile Pancione expires halfway through Lap 1, so a lot of effort for nothing there! Ackermann was now getting clear, while Piastri had a go at Iredale into the Dipper and fared rather badly as Iredale fought back, Fallon getting through on all of them to 2nd, Mouzouris now 4th with Piastri shuffled back to 5th. All this gave Ackermann an almost unassailable lead, but Piastri not giving up, going under Mouzouris in the Carousel to go into 4th, Ackermann though was going to need to lose a wheel not to win. As it happened, all his wheels stayed on and he won, Fallon 2nd and Piastri got under Iredale at the Dipper to take 3rd.

Ackermann again gets by Piastri at the green, then Iredale in 3rd, Mouzouris and Fallon behind them, Lap 2 and Piastri pounces into the Dipper to take Ackermann. No going away though from Ackermann as he goes back under at JSKC, so now the first 3 Ackermann, Piastri and Iredale and these guys pull away, although Fallon started to come on in 4th and might join them soon. With 3 to go Piastri and Ackermann had pulled clear, Piastri glued to the back of Ackermann’s kart. Start of the last lap and Piastri has a big look at JSKC and perhaps goes a whisker too deep, coming out well behind Ackermann, and has to look over his shoulder for Iredale, so Ackermann has an untroubled run to the line.

Piastri away like a flyer from p2 of the Final as Ackermann concedes at Arrow and this allows Iredale through too, so they all set about grinding out a position. Piastri was honking, but Iredale was up to the task and stuck with him, only 3/10ths behind, another 7/10ths to Ackermann as these 3 flew around under lights – then a gap back to Rhys Wagner, then Mouzouris, Fallon and Hamish Ribarits. Ever so gradually Piastri pulled clear and after 10 laps he was 1.5 seconds ahead, quickest lap after quickest lap – further back Ackermann had gotten under Iredale, but Piastri looked like he would triumph – and he did, taking all before him; Ackermann and Iredale followed him well back in 2nd and 3rd. I know Piastri is a local, so I’ve been watching him for a while now, but I have to say I admire the way he keeps his head when things aren’t going his way and works away to pick off spots when the chance arises – another very creditable performance this weekend.

All Points:

  1. Piastri
  2. Ackermann
  3. Fallon
  4. Iredale
  5. Mouzouris

Junior National Light / Heavy C&P

Nathan Skelton in Light and Naomi Brady in Heavy with 44.534 and 45.902 respectively, are at the head of these 2 classes and come Heat 1 it’s Skelton to the lead as we go green, while back in Heavy it was P Plater Riley Meens who worked through from last (albeit only 4th in this small class) to lead for at least the first circulation. A couple of laps later Skelton and Blake Kolar were going away in Light, Matthew Beninca back in 3rd, while Naomi Brady led Heavy from Kyle Frencham, Meens and Elly Morrow. By halfway the best battle was 1 and 2 in Light between Skelton and Kolar – Skelton still leading but Kolar working away trying to find a way past. Behind them Tom Soutar, Henry Johnstone and Angus Baddeley-Thompson were also engaged in a dice that went on for a number of laps for 4th – 6th. Finally Skelton eased away from Kolar, Beninca 3rd then Baddeley-Thompson the best of the rest in 4th. In Heavy it was Brady well clear of Frencham.

Skelton and Kolar, Frencham and Meens the front pairings after a lap in Light and Heavy, while Johnstone did some gardening along the finish straight, and after a dust storm reminiscent of the Great Depression, he expired at the cut through on JSKC corner. Not much changed from there on as Skelton and Kolar pulled away, Frencham easily leading Heavy. Suddenly and inexplicably with 3 to go Skelton rolled to a stop at the JSKC cut through, so back luck for him – Kolar now a lonely leader. Back in Heavy things were getting interesting as Frencham now didn’t have a very big lead – Brady and Morrow right on him, but he held on for the win in the end; Kolar already well home in Light.

The combined final got underway with Kolar going to the front of Light and Frencham to the front of Heavy and from there on the karts seemed to spread themselves out all over the track – nothing resembling a contest was in sight. Perhaps Morrow and Meens in Heavy might have a crack, otherwise it was a though they were all joined by a giant rubber band – they spread out and closed up, but never really got close enough for anything to happen. Finally Beninca, Skelton and Baddeley-Thompson got together in 2, 3 and 4, but Kolar was not in any danger, nor was Frenchman in Heavy, Brady some distance behind. Then with 2 to go Brady got past Frencham and looked like taking a win in Heavy, while Kolar had already done so in Light – and Brady held on in Heavy.

All Points (Light):

  1. Kolar
  2. Skelton
  3. Beninca
  4. Johnstone
  5. Baddeley-Thompson

All Points (Heavy):

  1. Brady
  2. Frencham
  3. Morrow
  4. Meens

Formula JMax

The last class qualifying rolls out and Morgan Feast continues his good form from last night, putting it on pole with a 41.226 ahead of Troy Alger, Aaron Cameron, Liam Ford, and Jordyn Sinni – only a couple of tenths covers this group, so some close racing ahead. Heat 1 and Feast away well and Cameron went with him as Alger relegated to 3rd, then Ford, and these 4 a tight bunch ahead of Sinni, Jack Winter, Thomas Hughes and Harrison Carr. While all the first few laps of battle was going on, Cameron got to the lead, but Feast not to be dismissed, went back under him at JSKC on Lap 3, then Alger pressuring Cameron, so this could be good. 5 to go and Feast had established a gap, Cameron behind him still not clear of Alger, and in the Dipper Alger goes past, Cameron losing 2 spots as Ford got through as well. All this helps Feast of course, his lead now looking hard to reel in. Alger was going to have a go though and set sail, with Ford and Cameron not far behind him. In the end though Feast was far enough ahead and went on to record the win.

Feast, Cameron, Alger as they went around for the first time, but Feast ran a little wide at MKC and Cameron and Alger both got under him, behind them Hughes, Ford and Sinni, then a gap to Bethany Simpson, Carr, Winter, Michael Smith and James Fyfe. 4 laps in and a 6 kart train led now by Alger from Cameron, Feast, Ford, Hughes and Sinni; then Feast went under Cameron at the grid hairpin and spread things out a bit – then he set out after Alger. That was until Cameron got him back 2 laps later at the same spot, so now Alger might have the break he needed – then Feast back at Cameron at JSKC half a lap later; this was not helping them catch Alger. In the end they didn’t catch Alger, he crossed in a clear 1st place, then Feast and Cameron, then Ford and Hughes.

Feast away ahead of Cameron and Alger, but Ford soon through to 3rd ahead of Alger, meanwhile Feast was looking good out front , Cameron of course not far back either – it’s a long way from over. Back in 5th we find Sinni, then Winter, Simpson, Carr and McLean, but after 7 laps Feast is still a kart length ahead of Cameron. Feast has been quick all weekend, and quick before when he has visited Oakleigh, but I have a lot of time for Cameron and his ability to find a way to win, so an interesting few laps ahead. No sooner had I written this than Feast seemed to grow an extra leg and start to pull away – now 8/10ths ahead and a tenth a lap quicker than Cameron, so looking good for him. Looking good it was, as Feast went onto record a win, Cameron in the end about a second behind him.

All Points:

  1. Feast
  2. Cameron
  3. Alger
  4. Ford
  5. Sinni

So another Junior Top Guns comes to an end. I think this was maybe the 12th time the meeting has been run and every year we see a new crop of stars coming through, or some familiar faces re affirming their claim to the title of the “next big thing”.  Whether they go on to fame and fortune in motorsport or not, let’s hope the winners enjoyed their moment in the sun at Oakleigh.