The Griffiths Report Victorian Karting Series Sunday June 19 2016

A cool but clear start to the day as we fronted up to a Sunday that would see the Finals decided and we got going at 8.30 with the old guys out the gate first.

TAG Masters

The pair of Riddell’s, Steven and Glenn, went to the lead at the green, Kranz through to 3rd then Simpson, and behind him, Smith then Mark Poole. 4 laps in and the Riddell’s were getting closer together, Steven in front then Glenn, and at the same time further away from the rest of the pack – Kranz a lonely 3rd  having found a yard from yesterday, them a gap back to Smith, Poole Simpson and Martin. With 5 to go Kranz was noticeably closer to the lead pair and might be able to throw out a challenge soon. As always happens, the minute I wrote this Kranz’s progress seemed to halt and the Riddell’s were now maintaining the gap – Glenn now in the lead – they look so similar I didn’t notice the change, and that’s how they crossed the line.

Finals time as Glenn and Steven Riddell lead Simpson and Smith away but Simpson a wobbly entry to JSKC and slows dramatically on the way out , allowing the whole field through as he re-joins in last, so Smith now taking the challenge up to the Riddells, and Kranz right on his hammer too. Plenty of laps now, so the followers could take their time and Smith seemed to be doing just that, while Kranz at times looked anxious to get past, but no change in the order for many laps – juts a 4 kart train going around the track. Eventually Smith looked to be being held up a bit by Steven Riddell and Glenn maybe pulled away slightly – and then they bunched up again, although Kranz was dropping off slightly. Then Smith through to 2nd at Grid Hairpin – probably the first time all weekend the Riddell’s haven’t been 1 and 2. This brought Kranz onto the scene and he started to look at Steven Riddell, then he did more than look, and went under him for 3rd at the Grid Hairpin. Smith was now ranging up on the back of Glenn Riddell so a potential challenge for the lead coming, with 7 laps still to go. Then in an unexpected spot, Smith goes through in the Carousel to take the lead – certainly Smith looked faster in the infield, so a good spot to make a move.  From here Smith pulled away and took a big win – over a second in the end, followed by Glenn Riddell, Kranz, Steven Riddell, then a big gap to Simpson, Christie and Burt.  Smith later told me he was handed a one place penalty, I think for passing under a yellow, so Glenn Riddell our winner here.

KA4 Junior Light

Mouzouris got away best here ahead of pole man Smith who found himself in 6th after a lap, ahead of him Hanson, Schembri, Downing and Hillyer, and Cassidy now moved into 6th as Smith dropped further back. The longer we went the bigger Mouzouris’ lead became as he pulled away from Hanson, Schembri just as far back in 3rd and then a huge gap to Hillyer, so the front looked settled. Further back in the filed there were a few spot fires though, with Webster, Trebilcock, Harvey, Mann and Sparey all getting down and dirty. While I was watching this, Hanson was suddenly making ground on Mouzouris in the lead – and maybe a couple of lapped karts would come into the picture too. Hanson to the lead as they began the last lap and both of them gaining on a lapped kart – but Hanson good enough to hold on for the win, Mouzouris 2nd and Smith made his way back to 3rd.

Mouzouris got the jump on Smith after Hanson conked out in the roll arounds (he would have started 3rd, so bad luck for him) and these 2 were followed by Downing, Webster, Larkin and Cox. A few distractions during the opening laps and I didn’t see much of what happened – but several karts ended up off the track in various spots, however Smith and Mouzouris still out front, Smith now leading. With 8 to go it was still these 2 but you could not fit a cigarette paper between them – their times near enough to identical and karts nose to tail – then it was Mouzouris in front with 5 to go. A huge stoush for the next few laps ensued between Mouzouris and Smith – Mouzouris super narrow in front and Smith all over him. Last lap and Smith goes under Mouzouris at the Grid Hairpin, but Mouzouris a really clever move and went back under Smith at Arrow corner in sight of the flag to grab the win.

KA3 Senior Heavy

Thomas off the front but wide at Arrow as we went green and dropped to the back so Nicolaou through to the lead ahead of Jackson and a lap or 2  later Luciani up to 3rd, the dry conditions more to his liking I think. Behind him was Reynolds then P2 man Webster, Glenn Riddell and Gigis, then the recovering Thomas who should make up a few more spots as things roll on. By halfway Luciani was through to 2nd and trained on the back of Nicolaou’s kart. A lap later and he had a look at JSKC but Nicolaou took the lead back on the way out of the corner, Jackson and Webster following closely in 3 and 4. Fastest lap to Luciani with 3 to go and he was right on Nicolaou now and had another go at JSKC but retreated to 2nd again – with 2 to go he might just hold off for the Final. Then again, what would I know? Luciani had a look from a long way back at JSKC as they start the last lap, but again Nicolaou holds fort on the way out and takes the lead back, Webster now right on these 2 in 3rd and they complete a frantic last lap in this order – get ready for a good Final!!

Webster and Nicolaou then Thomas and Jackson as we start the final and Nicolaou through to the lead as we got going, Webster then Thomas then a gap back to Riddell, Jackson and Luciani. Lunch arrived and race reporting took a back seat for a while, but I watched Luciani move through and into 4th as I refuelled. Another dim sim, another place for Luciani as he moved past Thomas to take 3rd. A few laps later and he looked a chance to move up to 2nd but Nicolaou was a long way out front in 1st. 5 to go and Luciani was on the back of Webster and as I polished off the last dimmie he really looked threatening, but a look at JSKC cost him some time when Webster held on, but start of the last lap Luciani pulled the same move and made it stick, Nicolaou so far in the lead he was out of sight, so Luciani took 2nd, Webster, Riddell and Reynolds behind him.

Cadet 9

Ambrose got the better of the start ahead of O’Donnell, but brought his good work undone when he spun all by himself at Tony Kart Turn on Lap 1, so O’Donnell inherited the lead and set about building a gap. 5 laps later he had some of the job done, but not the huge leads he had built yesterday, Lacey in 2nd and Gibson 3rd, then Filippi, Carr and Dvorak. O’Donnell drove away as things went on, but Filippi was doing the best job behind him, taking 2nd as he moved through on first Gibson, then Lacey. O’Donnell in the end drove away with it and took the win, Filippi, Lacey and Gibson close together behind him.

O’Donnell away again and led as he had all weekend, this time ahead of Lacey, Filippi, Gibson and Ambrose, and a few laps later Ambrose had lost a few places, now back in 7th behind Arnett and Dvorak – but O’Donnell was driving away with it out front in a carbon copy of all the heats. With 7 to go Filippi had found his way into 2nd ahead of Lacey and Gibson, Arnett and Dvorak back in 5th and 6th  but O’Donnell would have to fall over to avoid taking the win. From there on the only significant change was Gibson dropping back a couple of spots as Arnett and Dvorak got past her, meanwhile O’Donnell took the win with Filippi 2nd and Dvorak moving through to take 3rd ahead of Lacey.

TAG 125 Light

Feast off pole but Alger and Beninca through at the green and a lap or 2 later Feast had lost some more ground as Nicolaou, Soutar and Grover got past. Halfway and Nicolaou was in the lead ahead of now Soutar with Alger 3rd, then Feast making up lost ground and Beninca behind him. They spread out a little as the laps counted down and Nicolaou looked set for a comfortable win, which he took in the end.

Feast, Souter and Alger away with Nicolaou in hot pursuit back in 4th, then Beninca, McCulloch and Arnett as they settled down for the 20 laps. Nicolaou moved into 3rd into the Dipper about 4 laps in, but Feast and Soutar held sway out front, Feast half a second clear. After 8 laps Nicolaou looked to be gaining on Soutar so more action ahead maybe; gain on him he certainly did and by half race distance Nicolaou was on Soutar’s bumper and starting to look like he’d make a move – and Feast hadn’t exactly cleared out either so he’d be in the gun if Nicolaou got through. A few laps later and Soutar appeared to be gaining on Feast, so he and Nicolaou perhaps stayed put and worked together to get up to the leader. With 5 to go less than a second covered the first 3 so we waited to see what would happen – what happened next was that Nicolaou went to 2nd at the Grid Hairpin under Soutar, thinking that Feast was perhaps getting slightly away out front, so time for Nicolaou to go, but time might run out as he only had a handful of laps to catch and pass Feast. He gave it his best shot and came from a long way back, then in a big move on the last lap he tried an ambitious pass at the Grid Hairpin but made contact with Feast and to his credit Nicolaou then pulled back in and settled for 2nd. Feast a good job to drive with a cool head and take the win.

KA4 Junior Heavy

D’Alia and Martin the front row with Janev and Meens behind them and that’s how they got away and completed the first few laps, until Martin’s rear bar came adrift and he was unfortunately meatball flagged, so race over for him; D’Alia thus held a now commanding lead while behind him Meens and Janev were much closer, Rice and Grutteria just behind them. Rice then through to 3rd ahead of Janev and set out after Meens, while D’Alia became a fluoro green speck in the distance. Rice now into 2nd with 5 laps to go, Grutteria following him through to go to 3rd, Janev and Meens now in 4 and 5. Grutteria a lap later moved to 2nd at JSKC and another lap later Rice had a look back at him and it was I case of all change – as Rice, Janev, Meens and Grutteria became the new order. Then they all shuffled order again at Grid Hairpin: Rice, Janev, Grutteria, then Meens as they began the last lap. D’Alia gone – 15 seconds ahead of them and took the win, while a last lap tangle at the Grid hairpin saw Janev lead Grutteria and Rice across the line while Meens dropped to 7th.

The Final saw D’Alia and Martin away at the green and Martin into the lead as these 2 pulled away, Rice 3rd then Janev, Meens and Cafiso. 6 laps in and the front pair looked very evenly matched, D’Alia still 2nd but nothing in it. Then ever so gradually Martin seemed to pull away – now a closer battle between Rice and Janev for 3 and 4. That battle stayed close, but up front D’Alia had closed back in on Martin – nothing was happening very quickly in this race – it was all a series of gradual changes. Finally D’Alia got under Martin at the Carousel as maybe Martin suddenly had a problem – he seemed to drop right back very quickly, so D’Alia now a comfortable lead. Janev meanwhile was losing his rear bumper (another in this class!) so meatball flag for him unfortunately. D’Alia in the end a win ahead of Martin then a big gap back to Rice.

TAG 125 Heavy

Jackson away ahead of Hindle then King as TAG Heavy got going – and that’s the way they stayed for most of the race, all the action further back where Carter and Carless got through on Lawrence. With 6 to go Hindle was reeling Jackson in and looked like he might be working up to a challenge shortly. Sure enough 4 to go and he was on his hammer – there he stayed for a few laps, maybe sizing things up, until he went under Jackson into the Dipper, but Jackson back under him as they drove out, so no change in the end. Last lap now and Hindle looked to be too far back to challenge, and Jackson crossed first, Hindle then King and Carless; another good Final in the making.

Jackson and Hindle away well, but right from the word go Hindle appeared to have a cooling system issue and was maybe leaking a bit of water which eventually turned to steam but by halfway he was still going – in fact going so well he was right on the back of Jackson and these 2 had a small gap ahead of Carter and then King, Carless and Kranz. Soon though Carter was eroding the lead the front 2 had and maybe Hindle just dropped off Jackson in the lead. Then in a flash Hindle suddenly came good and went to the lead. Jackson and Carter were still right on the tail of Hindle and they had 5 to go so anything could happen. While anything could happen, nothing did as Hindle held on to take a win ahead of Jackson and Carter, Carless and King behind them.


KA3 Junior

Mouzouris got the better of Venables at the green and so did a few others as Sinni, Fraser and Romeo all got through too, leaving Venables back in 5th, Mouzouris driving away out front. 9 to go and Sinni suddenly pulls into the in grid, I think throwing a chain, so now Fraser, Romeo and then Hollis through from starting in 9th now into 4th. A few laps later and Hollis is 3rd and looking to take 2nd, Mouzouris well ahead in the lead; sure enough Hollis into 2nd a few corners later, but that was as far as he got with Mouzouris taking the win.

So Mouzouris and Venables again the front row but this time Hollis in a position to make a move right from the start, beginning out of P3, beside him Romeo then Bargwanna and Schembri, and it was Mouzouris as we went green but Hollis straight into 2nd and a lap later Hollis to the lead and Pancione through as well to take 2nd after starting 7th, then Bargwanna through behind him into 3rd, so plenty of shuffling around in this Final. However once this initial reshuffle finished they seemed to settle into a bit of a rhythm: Hollis, Pancione, Bargwanna, Mouzouris, Schembri, Sinni, Venables, Fraser and Coul the top 10 and 5 seconds covered the lot of them. The biggest move came from Bargwanna looking to go under Pancione and did eventually with 8 to go at the Carousel, and Mouzouris took advantage of this and followed through at the Grid Hairpin same lap. This gave Hollis an ever so small gap ahead of now Bargwanna, Mouzouris, Pancione, Schembri and Sinni. Hollis made the most of the gap and reeled off a few fastest laps to establish a more comfortable buffer and with 4 to go he looked like he might be safe. The one who looked in trouble was Bargwanna, now falling back into the clutches of Mouzouris and Pancione; in the end Hollis took the win and a calculated drive from Bargwanna meant he held on for 2nd, Mouzouris having to look both forward and back as Pancione threatened from behind while Bargwanna made it home ahead of him.

KA3 Senior Light

Sera off pole and away, Nicolaou, Bell, McLean, Francis behind him, then Francis up a spot to 4th, but the first 3 had already pulled clear and Sera not shaking Nicolaou or Bell off like he did yesterday, in fact Bell really pressuring Nicolaou and moved into 2nd a few corners later.  Gradually Sera did start to ease away and further back McLean re took 4th from Francis, behind him Mouritz, Ackermann setting some quick times, Donald and Carless.  Then Francis back into 4th as he and McLean continued trading spots. Sera in front by only a half second lead, so a small gap by yesterday’s standards, Bell and Nicolaou looking at least half a chance to threaten for the lead.  2 to go and Bell was inching ever closer to Sera, now the gap down to less than 2/10ths  so nothing in it, but getting past Sera would be another matter methinks. You don’t get the #1 for nothing; Sera kept a cool head to take the win ahead of Bell and Nicolaou

Sera and Nicolaou off the front row and Bell ad McLean behind them , and at the green Sera away , Nicolaou into 2nd and McLean 3rd, but Bell back in 7th as Ackermann, Francis and Donald all get through on him. After 8 laps Sera still in the lead but Nicolaou , McLean and now Ackermann all lined up behind him looking for a chance to elevate themselves – Nicolaou looking most likely as he rode right on the tail of Sera. Many laps later nothing had changed though, and then Ackermann took McLean for 3rd but Sera continued to lead them around, he and Nicolaou slightly clear of Ackermann and another gap to McLean as the laps started to take their toll, Bell a distant 5th, then Donald, Carless, Francis and Carr. 4 to go and it looked like anything could happen – or maybe nothing would happen as the experience of Sera would perhaps see him hold it to the flag. I’m sure Nicolaou was driving the wheels off it, but the unhurried style of Sera kept him in the lead until he met the finisher, Nicolaou, Ackermann and McLean behind him.

Cadet 12

A good start for Harris but further back Simpson spun coming out of JSKC and was then collected by Tsesmelis coming through from the back and a lap or two later a red flag was called to attend to Tsesmelis (both drivers were fine and later cleared to drive in the Final), so they return to the grid while we sort things out. Harris then led a single file restart away with 12 laps remaining, but Willams got through on him to take the lead, Wharton back in 3rd then Capitanio, Sacco and Starr-McKoy. One to watch right at the back was Kai Allen who after 2 laps had worked up to 10th, meanwhile Williams held sway out front until Harris rounded him up with 9 to go and took back the lead. The first 3 then pulled away led by Harris, then Williams and Wharton, a gap back to Sacco, Capitanio, Starr-McKoy and now Allen in 7th.  They maintained a frantic pace but Harris got the job done, still leading Williams and Wharton – then Williams closed right up and with 2 to go was on Harris’ bumper. JSKC start of 2nd last lap he has a look, but Harris holds on, Willams drops back a bit to reload. Harris seems to have all the aces though and looks like he will hold on, which he does leading Williams and the now slightly distant Wharton across the line.

So the last Final begins and Harris led Williams away and they pulled a gap on Wharton, Sacco, Allen and Starr-McKoy. After 5 laps Allen was through to 3rd, so maybe one to watch here after Harris had won every race in this class to date. With 12 to go Allen had caught lead pair and then moved into 2nd at JSKC – we were going to see a race! Next lap and Allen takes the lead at JSKC, so Harris has to become the hunter after all weekend being the hunted. Harris does a good job of hunting and takes the lead back at JSKC a lap later after Allen couldn’t break the tow, Williams through too into 2nd. Starr-McKoy now joined on the back of them as this dicing brought the lead 3 back. We are set for a cracking last few laps…. William to the lead at Page Bros corner, then Harris at JSKC, Allen in 3rd until what might have been a touch at the Carousel and he went around in a tragedy and back to 16th. So now Harris, Williams, a gap to Starr-McKoy and Stewart joining in, but ya gotta feel for Allen and what might have been. 3 to go and Harris has Williams go under him at Page Bros so a new leader yet again. Then luck goes Williams’ way as the group behind shuffles around and gives him the gap, Stewart now 2nd and Harris and Starr-McKoy behind him until Harris gets back to 3rd and they begin the last lap. That’s the way they finished as Williams became the first karter who wasn’t Harris to win a race in this class, followed by Stewart who came through from well back to take 2nd, Harris and then Starr-McKoy.