Wet & Cold at Oakleigh’s May Races

by Paul Griffiths

I was awake in the early hours of Sunday morning listening to a gentle shower gradually turn into a downpour, followed by the arrival of thunder, and soon after lightning – so we might be in for a pretty ordinary May Club Day. Then again, I live a fair way from the Oakleigh circuit and maybe the weather there would be completely different – perhaps balmy with sunny skies and gentle breezes…. Nup! Rain and a chilling wind greeted the early arrivals and in the end we managed a modest 65 entries for the day.

By the time qualifying started the rain had gone and we had a track drying under bright sunshine, but the forecast for the afternoon was ominous – I think I heard the word “hail” in there somewhere, so we’ll see what happens.

This month a more lengthy report as I am ably assisted with the flag lights by none other than KV VP Adam Bourke, whose company I enjoyed for the day. Unfortunately no pics though, and with three heats and a final, the report gets awfully wordy, so give yourself a reward if you manage to plough through it all!

TAG 125 Light and TAG 125 Masters

Jesse Fenech off pole with Michael Carless beside him then Daniel Griffin, John Reynolds and Kain Kugimiya in Light, and in Masters Mick Fisher, Shane Alabaster, Vern Kranz and Richard Matera make up the field. Heat 1 underway and Fenech away well and led for a lap or 2 until Carless snuck under him and he ran a bit wide, dropping back to 4th as Reynolds came through to 2nd with Kugimiya 3rd. Back in Masters Kranz had got to the lead ahead of Fisher, Matera and Alabaster, and Carless and Kranz took the wins.

Heat 2 and Carless away ahead of Reynolds in Light; Matera the best of them in Masters with Fisher and Kranz behind him. Thus they continued for a number of laps with Reynolds putting pressure on Carless, but Matera having an easier time of it in Masters. Despite some close racing in Light, Carless went on to win, as did Matera in Masters.

Heat 3 got started with Reynolds getting the jump on Carless, then Kugimiya, Griffin and Fenech. In Masters Kranz had shot away to lead Matera then Alabaster and Fisher. 4 laps in and down she comes – rain catching most of both classes unaware. Alabaster slides off at JSKC into an unrecoverable position, the rest going off but getting going somehow, so things dissolved into a slip slidey affair and I lose track of who’s were, but eventually I think it is Carless leading Reynolds and Kranz leading Matera. Then a minute later the sun is streaming down and the glare is so bad I can hardly see anything – what a race! Carless then goes out while leading on the last lap, handing Reynolds the win in Light; Kranz taking the Masters win.

Carless off pole and to the lead of the Final followed by Reynolds and Fenech, Fenech barging through to 2nd a lap or 2 in, then Kugimiya and Griffin, while in Masters Fisher was leading proceedings followed by Matera, Kranz and Alabaster. Light then split into 2 races: Carless and Fenech out front, then a lively group of 3 led by Reynolds, Kugimiya and Griffin, then Reynolds to the rear of that group as Kugimiya comes through, meanwhile up front Fenech is starting to have a look at Carless. Then Reynolds’ race is over as he rolls to a stop in front of the starter’s box. Then Fenech gets under Carless in the Dipper on the last lap, but Carless straight back under him on the way out, then Fenech again at Grid Hairpin and hangs on to take the win, Carless therefore 2nd, Kugimiya home in 3rd, and in Masters Fisher leads Alabaster and Kranz as Matera rolls across the line in 4th with a sick sounding kart.

Cadet 9

Giancarlo Arthur our Pole man then Thomas Schmidt, Hayley Zammit doing a good job to snag 3rd, followed by William Brinsley, Xavier Avramides and Benjamin Birchall. Schmidt got the better of Artho at the start and these 2 pulled clear of Zammit and Birchall who had their own little race back in 3rd and 4th. Schmidt went on to lead Artho narrowly for the whole race and took the win, Birchall back in 3rd and Zammit 4th.

Schmidt and Artho turned it on again in Heat 2 with Schmidt leading early on, back in 3rd we find Birchall then Zammit and finally Avramides. Although Artho looked quick, he couldn’t seem to find a way past – dropping back with 2 to go when he gave Schmidt a tap at JSKC having a look, but no harm done and both continued, Schmidt taking the win ahead of Artho and Birchall.

Schmidt and Artho at it again in Heat 3 on a streaming wet track but in bright sunshine – they being the only 2 not to spin on the 1st lap or 2 – but everyone else kept going apart from Birchall who buried it at the Dipper. Artho to the lead on lap 3 but Schmidt right on his tail. Way back from them we find Zammit, then Avramides and Brinsley. Lap 4 and Schmidt takes a wild ride through Page Bros, spinning all on his own as he tries to go around the outside of Artho – and losing a lot of ground as a result, so Artho now untroubled and just has to keep circulating, albeit in tricky conditions, to take the win. Despite a number of spins from everybody, including Artho, he just hangs on for the win as a final spin allowed Schmidt to close right back up and have a lunge on the line which saw him flying across the finish in the grass – Artho a lucky guy, winning ahead of Schmidt & Zammit.

Schmidt and Artho off the front again, then Zammit and Birchall, Avramides and Brinsley, and Schmidt gets away best ahead of Artho, then a few laps in Artho spins at Page Bros and goes out – and then lots of chaos as the remaining karts spun and went off all over the place, but Schmidt powers on in the lead ahead of Birchall, Brinsley and Avramides and finally Schmidt takes the win.

KA3 Junior

Pole goes to Kai Upiter with Hamish Allan beside him, Matthew Hillyer, Oliver McNaught and Callum Potter making up the rest of the field. Upiter away well and Hillyer through to 2nd as Potter gets into 3rd, Allan dropping back to 4th and McNaught rounds out the field. Lap 3 and Allan a wild ride down the grass on the start straight, but regains his composure and re-joins in last, meanwhile Upiter regains the lead ahead of Hillyer and then Potter – these 3 turning on a good dice up front, while Allan had rounded up McNaught to move into 4th. With 3 to go Hillyer has wrested back the lead from Upiter and goes on to take the win, Potter back in 3rd.

Hillyer and Upiter row 1 for Heat 2 and that’s the way they go around on Lap 1, while Potter goes around another way – in the grass at Tony Kart turn – and out of the race. With 5 to go it started raining and we lost Allan exiting JSKC, then Hillyer lost the lead when he ran a bit wide at Page Bros and Upiter slid through. Then 3 laps later the sun was out and the rain had gone, then it started raining while the sun was shining – marvellous Melbourne! So karters had a bit to deal with out there. Upiter was dealing with it best until the unthinkable happened – it started raining heavily as they began the last lap and all 3 remaining karts speared off at JSKC – so the entire field DNF’d! Aye Caramba! Just when you thought you’d seen it all.

Only 4 faced the starter this time as McNaught lost a wheel in the roll arounds – nearly collecting the P2 man Upiter as it bounced across the track. Upiter unfazed (or possibly unaware!) took it up to Hillyer as we got underway and these 2 pulled clear of Potter and Allan, still all sliding round on a slippery track. Then the first 2 became 3 as Allan joined them and all 3 put on a master class in drifting as they powered around, sideways more often than straight. Upiter leading at the halfway point but not by much from Hillyer then Allan, Potter well back in 4th and in the end Upiter pulled away to take a reasonably comfortable win.

Again Upiter and Hillyer lead things away and Hillyer gets the better of the start, Potter in 3rd immediately in trouble with a loose rear bumper, then Allan and McNaught get past Potter as he drops to 5th. Out front it is still Hillyer leading Upiter, a gap to Allan, then a gap back to Potter now back into 4th ahead of McNaught, so we watch the front pair where the interest is likely to be. Then Potter into the trap at JSKC as his race goes from bad to over, while Hillyer leads Upiter by a very narrow margin out front. Upiter has a look last lap at the Grid Hairpin but Hillyer hangs tough on the outside and holds the lead to take the win, Upiter, then Allan well back in 3rd.

KA3 Senior Light

Blake Kolar and Mark Appleby off the front row, behind them Michael Carless, Joel McPherson, Angelo D’Ettorre and Taine Venables – then a string of go karts including Ash Arora who I haven’t seen at a Club Day for a few years, and in 12th Bryce Fullwood who had run Qualifying on slicks – so his wets would be in much better nick if rain came later in the day. After some wobbly roll arounds where McPherson out of 4th lost a wheel only a few metres from the gate and Venables out of 6th expired before we got going – we finally did get going, and Appleby went to a good lead ahead of Kolar and a few laps in Fullwood had come through from 12th to be 3rd, then into 2nd with 3 to go. Behind them it is Carless, then we find Kolar battling with Cameron McLean, then Jake Congdon moving through too, but out front it was all Appleby, although a few more laps and Fullwood would have been right on him, Carless home in 3rd.

Heat 2 and not easy to decide what to do at the start here – the previous race finished with all karts DNFing as it rained suddenly, but then the sun came out again and the track was pretty dry. They all opted for slicks, so see how we go! Appleby and Fullwood the front row, Carless and McLean then Congdon and Kolar. As we got a start it was Fullwood then Carless then Appleby the front 3 but behind them chaos as karts slipped and slid in drying conditions with various ones off then back on sliding across the grass. Fullwood meanwhile continued to lead comfortably, Appleby under pressure from Carless for 2nd, further back McLean and Venables, Venables recovering well from a Heat 1 DNF. Fullwood greeted the finisher 1st, Carless got ahead of Appleby for 2nd and McLean and Venables behind them in 4 and 5.

Fullwood off pole here with Appleby beside him but it all comes unglued for Appleby when he went around going into the Dipper and goes to the rear when he gets going again. Up front it was now Carless with McLean 2nd then Venables, Congdon and Adam Pasek, Fullwood behind them possibly having been caught up in Appleby’s spin, but then Fullwood goes off a lap later at One Tree Hill and re-joins in 2nd last, so rooster to feather duster for him too. So Carless it is coming to the fore in tricky conditions, but at a track he has done a million laps on, behind him still McLean and Venables, then Congdon and Pasek – and Carless duly goes on to win.

McLean out of 2nd gets the better of Carless at the start to take the lead, Venables then Fullwood, Carless now in 4th, then McPherson, Congdon and Arora as the final settles down. Lap 4 and Carless gets under Fullwood for 3rd, but McLean a long way out front , Venables under threat from Carless pretty quickly too. Carless got Venables at JSKC with 3 to go, but McLean looked a long way ahead – we’ll see. Last lap and Carless is driving the wheels off it to catch McLean but the Eastern Lions visitor proved too good, taking the win, Carless, Venables and MacPherson behind him.

TAG 125 Heavy

Justin Carless, Brenden Jenner, Vern Kranz, Richard Matera and Ryan Felmingham the order in TAG Heavy and Carless got away well to lead, Kranz through to 2nd as Jenner dropped back, Felmingham getting up into 3rd for a while, but Jenner and Matera worked back into it and went through to be 3 and 4 – all Carless out front though and he went on to record a victory.

Heat 2 and we combined TAG Heavy, KA3 Medium and KA3 Heavy so lots to keep track of, but not actually that many karts – Carless, Kranz, Matera the order in TAG, then Corbett the only Medium, then Drew and Kemp the Heavys. At the flag it was still Carless, Kranz and Matera, the rest also unchanged.

Heat 3 and the rain pelts down as they roll around – then Carless gets the best of things to go to the lead ahead of Kranz, Jenner and Matera. Carless seemed to be driving on a different track – a drier one – as he swept around, pulling clear of the rest of the field. Back in the others Corbett was the leading and only Medium, and Drew was ahead of Kemp in Heavy, but in TAG Carless went on to win by a country mile ahead of Jenner.

Carless and Kranz off the front and Carless away best then Jenner through to 2nd until Kranz gets it back at JSKC, then finds a wet spot at the very next corner and hands the place back to Jenner, then gets it back again and pulls a gap. Then Carless put a wheel off at the Carousel and Kranz was suddenly right on him – Kranz wisely choosing slicks which were now coming into their own. Once this happened, the race was Kranz’s to lose as all the others dropped away on exhausted wets, Carless, Jenner and Matera all struggling. In Medium we have only Corbett, naturally going well; then Drew and Kemp in Heavy and that’s the way they finished.

TAG R Light and TAG R Medium

Light sees Andrew Sotiropoulos off pole ahead of Nicholas Flodstrom, then Stephen and Ben Marshall, while in Medium Tristan Fusinato leads Nathan Orton, Zachary Marshall and Andrew Ceravolo away – and Sotiropoulos leads the Lights while Fusinato the best of the Mediums – at least he was the best of them until Lap 2 when he expired coming out of the Dipper and rolled through to the in grid, so Ceravolo now inherits the Medium lead ahead of Z. Marshall and Orton. Meanwhile back in Light, Sotiropoulos has built a commanding lead ahead of Flodstrom then B. Marshall and S. Marshall. Light was as good as over – Sotiropoulos looking like an easy victor, but Medium was much closer with Ceravolo leading Orton and Z. Marshall. Sotiropoulos took the win in Light while Orton got through on Ceravolo to take the Medium win.

Sotiropoulos away best in Light leading Flodstrom, S. Marshall then B. Marshall – in Medium we find Ceravolo leading Fusinato, Orton and Z. Marshall, but Fusinato had a big look at Grid Hairpin and didn’t pull it off, so dropped back to last – Ceravolo continues in the lead. Light was well spread out with Sotiropoulos again looking untroubled, but Medium was a dog fight – a huge wild ride through JSKC saw Ceravolo and Fusinato 1 and 2 as Orton and Z. Marshall pirouetted around – re-joining well back. Then Fusinato had another look the next lap and pulled off the pass on Ceravolo to take the lead and hang on for the win – Sotiropoulos already home 1st in Light.

More rain, more chaos during roll arounds but eventually we got going – Sotiropoulos and Flodstrom resume hostilities, and in the more closely contested Medium class Orton leads Fusinato. Flodstrom actually got tot the lead in Light while S. Marshall expired right in front of us and B. Marshall didn’t take the start, so only 2 Mediums, Flodstrom and Sotiropoulos to duke it out. Medium became a drawn out affair as karts kept spinning all over the place, but Orton I think continues to lead ahead of Fusinato, then Z. Marshall, then Ceravolo who looked like he would be lapped by Orton which he duly was as he came off at the old Canteen corner. Flodstrom and Sotiropoulos put on a great show in Light with Flodstrom taking the win in the end, Orton victorious in Medium.

So Sotiropoulos off P1 and Flodstrom and S. Marshall with him, but Sotiropoulos away well again to take the lead, back in Medium it is Orton then Z. Marshall, Ceravolo and Fusinato. A couple of the Mediums still on wets on a track that looked dry enough for slicks to me – it was for Kranz in the previous race – so some chewed up wets coming up methinks. Sotiropoulos drew clear as he had done in previous races, and the Medium race was less interesting as the tyre choice spread them out – Orton leading comfortably, slicks the right call, although Fusinato also on slicks was now gaining on Orton. At the flag Sotiropoulos salutes in Light and Fusinato gets through on Orton to take the Medium win.

Cadet 12

Liam O’Donnell and Samuel Gibson the front row, behind them Damon Woods, Thomas Patching, Chloe Potter and Jack Lawson, and we got underway with O’Donnell going to the lead, Gibson and Woods behind him, then a gap to Lawson, then back to Patching and further back to Potter. The front 3 looked like providing all the action; O’Donnell still holding sway, Woods and Gibson engaged in some dicing that might help O’Donnell if they really get stuck into it – and he did pull a small gap while they squabbled; Woods eventually getting past Gibson and set out after O’Donnell. Last lap and Woods is right on O’Donnell and goes under him at JSKC in a fine move – but in a not so fine move at the last corner Woods leaves a gap which allows O’Donnell to slip back past to take the win, Woods finishing in mid-air as he leapt across the line partially in the grass in 2nd, Gibson 3rd.

O’Donnell and Woods took up where they left off in Heat 1, going away to a lead out front, behind them we find Lawson and Gibson, then another gap back to Patching and Potter – so a race of 3 pairs. 4 to go and Woods has a big look at JSKC and pulls off a good pass, O’Donnell now 2nd and the others no change – no change until Lawson spins at JSKC allowing Gibson through to 3rd. So now a race of 2 pairs and half a pair; Woods continues leading but will need to be on the lookout for O’Donnell doing what he did in Heat 1. In the end Woods had a big enough gap and crossed the line victorious.

O’Donnell off to a much better start than Woods who I think got trapped wide by another kart in the 1st corner and ended up at the rear, so he has some work to do, but not beyond him. Behind O’Donnell we find Lawson then Gibson – a lap or 2 later it is Woods already back to 4th, then Patching and Potter. Then disaster for O’Donnell as he exits the track and enters the trap at One Tree Hill, his race done – Gibson now our leader with Lawson close behind – until he spears off at Tony Kart turn and goes out. All this is working well for Woods who is now back to 2nd and maybe a couple of seconds behind Gibson, but with laps up his sleeve to catch him. Then, you guessed it, more disaster as Woods slides off at JSKC. All you have to do is stay on, as Gibson does in the lead, followed well back by Patching and then Potter – these 3 all that is left as one by one they all fell off – and that’s how they finished.

In the Final Gibson a good start – O’Donnell not so good as he dropped to 4th behind Woods and Lawson – Woods looking particularly racy as he chased Gibson around. Then he wasn’t chasing Gibson around – he was leading him! Lawson and O’Donnell watching on in 3 and 4, a close bunch, Patching not a million miles back in 5th, and Potter a little further back in 6th. The front 4 was the action pack though – Woods still leading them around. Gradually Woods and Gibson drew clear of Lawson and O’Donnell and finally Woods a good run on the last lap and takes the win, Gibson, Lawson, O’Donnell behind him

KA3 Senior Medium and KA3 Senior Heavy

One Medium in Adam Corbett, goes out with 2 Heavys in Nicholas Drew and Darren Kemp. With so few entrants there is little worth reporting on – no disrespect to those that did turn up, I’ll have a little rest during this class and advise the Heavy winner at the end of the day. Corbett I assume will be untroubled in Medium!

**Update** After Heat 1 we combined these guys with TAG Heavy, so look there for the rest of the report.

 

KA4 Junior Light and KA4 Junior Heavy

Bradley James and Callum Potter off the front in Light and just the 2 Heavys in Braden Clark and Benjamin Moss, and after Joshua Hocking expired in the roll arounds – as shame since he had qualified 3rd – we got going, but a chaotic first lap or 2 as more karts went off, but James and Potter powered on to lead Light, while Clark and Moss were buried in a bunch of Lights, but circulating in that order in Heavy. As the race went on James drew away from Potter, Steve Tsesmelis moving through to 3rd and Mason Kelly our 4th Light, Clark still leading Heavy.

James and Potter off the front here and they led away Tsesmelis, Kelly and Hocking, and a lap in Hocking was up to 3rd, then moved ahead of Potter to take 2nd, Hocking recovering well from his Heat 1 DNS. Before long he was threatening James in the lead as these 2 pulled away from Potter back in 3rd, Tsesmelis further back in 4th. As the laps wound down things stabilised a bit and James looked like he would take a comfortable win ahead of Hocking whose charge had come to something of a halt, but he was still well clear of Potter who in turn was clear of Tsesmelis.

James and Potter off the front as we get going in the last Heat 3 on a wet track, but it’s not raining – for the moment. These 2 take off with Jakob Searles close behind and Hocking there too. Then I looked away for a minute and return to find James well clear out front, Hocking now 2nd with Potter 3rd and Mason Kelly in 4th – an incident I didn’t see perhaps? Anyway, James holds a commanding lead and is driving away with it. James continues to do so and leads home Hocking and Potter comfortably.

Just as we go to start the Final, down she comes again, so we send them back in to consider a change to wets and have another go. James and Potter off the front, then Hocking and Searles, and on attempt #2 we get a start and James and Potter go away well, until James spins in the Dipper lap 1 and re-joins in 7th, Potter and Hocking now the front pair, a gap back to Searles and Kelly. Naturally by now it is bright sunshine and the track is actually drying, so more chewed out wets on the way! Potter and Hocking well clear out front, Searles 3rd and now James in 4th – and moving forward. Halfway, and James right on Searles, but will have a big gap to get the leaders if he gets through to 3rd, unless they start dicing up front – which they don’t – Hocking just slides under Potter in the Dipper with 2 to go. Meanwhile James has only just cleared Searles so might have to settle for 3rd. Potter right back on Hocking and looking here and there to find a way past. No way past appeared and Potter settled for 2nd, good job by Hocking to take the win, James home in 3rd.

By the end of the day’s racing it was gloomy and freezing cold as the wind seemed to be coming off the Antarctic – and we aren’t even into winter yet. Hope you enjoyed the report – see you in June!

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