After a week of rain and gloomy weather, Saturday arrived bright and shiny to signal the start of the Oakleigh round of the 2015 Victorian State Kart Championships. The morning was occupied with practice and qualifying, and just after midday we got racing underway. We completed all the First Heats, and Second Heats through to Clubman Heavy, so the rest of the report will be submitted tomorrow.
Restricted 125 Light
I was busy with flag lights while Heat 1 was run, and can only advise that pole man Brayden Flood took the win ahead of Bradley Winter and Jordan Rae.
Heat 2 of R125 Light – Flood again shot to the front, Winter 2nd and Rae 3rd as another series of minor disasters in the starter’s box meant I missed most of the race, although Flood looked to do it easy.
TAG 125 Light
Michael Carless off pole and a spectacular start, performing a 360 and continuing on, albeit back in 6th, as they came down the straight for the first time. This handed Bradley Marsh-Stepney the lead and he was followed by William Hawkes then Dylan O’Keefe as Carless moved into 4th. Behind him was long time competitor Ben Walter, then Daniel Frencham, Rohan Kinens and Tim Edwards. Eventually Carless worked his way back to 2nd while Marsh-Stepney went on to win.
Marsh-Stepney and Hawkes away well with Walter and Westaway behind them; O’Keeffe followed them with Carless pressuring him, then Kinens as the race unfolded. After 6 laps Marsh-Stepney had Hawkes right on his crash bar, a gap back to Walter who was equally pressured by Carless – then Carless got under him a lap later and set sail after the leaders. With 4 to go Marsh-Stepney had regained a bigger lead and Hawkes dropped back in the direction of Carless, but these 3 looked like they might finish in this order. Plenty of biff and barge back in the pack as karts found the grass and the dirt, but up front Carless had caught right up on Hawkes, but Hawkes held on for 2nd, Marsh-Stepney already on his way to the scales after taking the win.
Restricted 125 Heavy
Local Peter Gigis the fastest qualifier followed by another local in Rafe Todd, then Tim Martin, Samuel Morrow and Kim Sherlock. Gigis led them away with Todd and Martin behind him and while Martin closed on Todd, Gigis looked comfortable as he went on to victory.
Gigis off pole again as Todd fell back from 2nd allowing Morrow and Martin through. Four laps in Morrow took the lead with a neat pass under Gigis at Arrow corner – the front group of 7 all going around on similar times. Morrow, Gigis, Martin, Todd, Brett Jenkin, Sherlock and Joshua O’Connor made up this close knit group. Gigis had a look under Morrow at JSKC but Morrow back under him on the way out and Gigis lost some rhythm as Martin then went under him at the Dipper, but all this gave Morrow a break and he looked like he would make the most of it. Gigs and Martin had a touch at JSKC as Gigis went to go under Martin, but in a sportsmanlike move Gigis pulled back to allow Martin to regain his spot. All this led to Morrow going further away, Martin clear in 2nd and a huge fight behind them between Gigis, Jenkin, Sherlock and others, until Jenkin spun having a look at Gigis at JSKC and this gave Gigis a clear run at 3rd, Morrow the victor and Martin 2nd,
A happy birthday to pole sitter James Sera who got off to a good start in Heat 1 with Jordan Nicolaou and Daniel Rochford following in 2nd and 3rd, Adam Willison working through to 4th after not setting a qualifying time, then Leigh Nicolaou, Kyle Rethus and Morgan Feast. With a couple of quality peddlers behind him Sera never pulled completely away, but looked comfortable enough and took the win in the end.
Sera and Rochford then Nicolaou and Willison as we got stuck into Heat 2. Sera and Rochford were locked together and Rochford had an almost disastrous look at JSKC but just recovered to slot back into 2nd, Willison now joining on in 3rd. Halfway, and Sera and Rochford were doing identical times but 6/10ths between them on track and Willison a similar distance back in 3rd then Leigh Nicolaou closing on him, Rethus, Feast and Jordan Nicolaou bringing up the rear. Sera took the win with Rochford still a similar distance behind him.
TAG 125 Heavy
Aaron Hindle and Scott King the front row for Heat 1, followed by Justin Carless and Aron Lawrence and that was the order for the first few laps. Ryan Aitken moved ahead of Lawrence to go to 4th at about the halfway mark, but the others remained unchanged, Hindle and King pulling clear of the rest of the field and that’s how they finished, Aitken 3rd then Lawrence 4th – both of these moving through on Carless who was home in 5th with his Nassau panel flopping around between his legs as a few crucial bolts and nuts parted company.
Hindle again away well and King with him, Aitken then Carless, Lawrence, Seward, Westaway and Paul Maruszak the group behind him. Hindle, King and Aitken all looked like they would pull away as a group, and pull away they did; King close on the tail of leader Hindle. For lap after lap the front pair went around together, King always looking like he would threaten but never quite close enough – Aitken watching on in 3rd, the rest well back. Finally Hindle crossed the line a couple of kart lengths ahead of King, then Aitken, Carless, Lawrence and Seward.
Justin Francis on pole ahead of James Sera, then Braydon North and Matthew McLean, and around they went in that order for a few laps until North and McLean tangled coming into the Dipper. North continued on in last – McLean game over. By halfway Francis had pulled away from Sera, Jordan Nicolaou 3rd and Mark Appleby in 4th. With 2 to go Sera had reeled Francis in – I don’t get to as many big meetings these days and haven’t seen James race in ages. His smooth style and relentless pressure is great to watch. He took it right up to Francis but the younger driver held on for the win – a good job by both of them.
Francis off pole for Heat 2 and away well, but a bit too defensive at JSKC, so Sera around the outside of him at the eponymous corner and into the lead, Jordan Nicolaou in 3rd, Appleby 4th, then Nicholas Ingham, McLean working his way though after his Heat 1 DNF, then North and James Cornfoot. Francis and Sera went on to turn on a great race out front – Sera holding the narrowest of leads as Francis was right on him at various stages. Then Sera wheeled out a few laps like only he can and pulled slightly clear – these 2 well ahead of Nicolaou in 3rd. With 4 to go Francis had narrowed the gap but he’d have to be at his best to get around Sera. At the flag Sera was a kart length ahead of Francis, well behind them was Nicolaou, Ingham, Appleby and McLean.
A great job by Dylan Slits to put it on pole ahead of Remo Luciani, Phil Smith and Leigh Nicolaou. Slits held them at bay for a few laps until Nicolaou got under him, but Nicolaou was having a problem with maybe a loose airbox and that kept one of his hands busy away from the wheel. This gave Luciani the opportunity he needed and he moved into the lead – for only 7 karts they were putting on a great race. Slits now 3rd and Phil Smith 4th with John Reynolds in 5th, but not more than a couple of seconds from first to last. In the end Nicolaou got his stuff together and took the victory ahead of Luciani, Slits and Smith.
Nicolaou and Luciani, then Slits and Smith as we looked forward to another close Clubman Heavy Heat. While they were reasonably close, there wasn’t a lot of passing – Reynolds closing on Smith perhaps the big point of interest for 4 and 5. Thus they continued for a number of laps – with 3 to go Reynolds had maybe half a look at Smith at JSKC, but thought better of it and reloaded. Eventually Nicolaou, Luciani, Slits, and Smith held off Reynolds by a whisker.
Junior National Light
Jordan Caruso off pole with Matthew Beninca beside him and Caruso led for the first few laps until Angelo Mouzouris moved through from 4th to take the lead, so Caruso now 2nd with Beninca 3rd, Cory Arnett 4th and Zakkary Best behind him in 5th. With 3 to go Beninca moved through to 2nd but Mouzouris was gone out front; then second last lap Caruso back at Beninca for 2nd – a good dice on here, but Caruso held on, trailing Mouzouris who had already taken the flag.
Damon Woods led them away in Heat 1 ahead of Brodie Thomson and Anton Hortis, then a gap to Luca Gerbo, Jack Lawson and Beau Russell. Woods and Thomson streaked away to be in a race of their own, then Hortis in a lonely 3rd. Woods and Thomson continued to put on a great show out front with Thomson having a look here and there, but Woods held on for the win
Junior National Heavy
Cody Donald off pole and away best in Junior Heavy, Troy Alger through to 2nd after starting 3rd, getting ahead of Simon Fallon, then John Doria, Bryce Woollard and Benjamin D’Alia behind him. As the laps wound down these 5 drew away, with Donald and Alger puling even further clear out front – Donald building a commanding lead in the end. Doria took a trip through the grass with 4 to go and dropped back, but nothing was changing up front – Donald took an easy win.
A big field of 26 karts led was away by Jay Hanson and Emerson Harvey, and Hanson away well – to a good lead within a couple of laps, then Harvey, Will Harper, Cooper Webster, Kacey Mann, Kai Allen and Joshua Hocking. 4 laps in and Hanson took all before him to build a commanding lead, Harvey gapping the rest of the field to pull clear in 2nd, but would have to grow another leg to catch Hanson, Webster in 3rd and a good job after qualifying 8th. With 3 to go Harvey maybe was growing that extra leg – Hanson’s lead noticeably diminished, and Webster and Mann right with him in 3rd and 4th. At the flag Hanson had regained something of a gap and took a well deserved win, Harvey and Co. close behind.
Dylan Hollis and Cooper Murray the front pair, then Aaron Cameron and Simon Fallon, so some quality steerers here and these 4 took off like a 4 kart rocket to be well ahead of the rest after a lap or two. Hollis drew away and Cameron moved through to 2nd shuffling Murray back to 4th as Fallon also came through. Behind them we find a gap to Harrison Carr, Benjamin D’Alia and Christian Pancione. As the laps counted down Hollis pulled clear in the lead, Murray had re taken 2nd from Cameron who was now engaged in a stoush for 3rd with Fallon – and Fallon was winning, moving into 3rd. Hollis in the end a comfortable winner.