Another successful night meeting on Saturday June 3rd for Australian Kart Racers Alliance at Wollongong Kart Track in Kembla Grange. If 17 Yamaha’s from the May meeting was any indication then the June meeting was looking good.
In total, 34 drivers showed up with 15 TAG, 19 Yamaha’s (7 Clubman, 12 J’s) that all made for a great night. And the event was topped off with the end of meeting Butcher’s Picnic Race for all non top 3 place-getters.
AKRA is a team of passionate karters and as a group of social karters, they have brought back fun into karting again at an affordable price level for the average karter and proof is in the growing numbers every month. Another 11 new license holders added to the growing list of AKRA drivers, bringing the member base of drivers to 67. Pretty good for only 5 months.
Not only are there new karters but AKRA has been able to attract some past racers with pretty good credentials.
Past Australian Champion Tim Pauling, who raced overseas at the Hong Kong Grand Prix in the hey days of the event, donned a helmet for a spin. 1993 Intercontinental A Champion Shane Wilson made a showing to pitcrew for brother Paul Wilson, who hasn’t raced at the Wollongong Track in over 25 years. 1991 NSW Senior National Champion Greg Mackay has been a regular at every round so far while taking home a lot of wins, while 1992 NSW Reed Light Champion Darren Steeden has taken a couple of round wins home as well.
In Clubman class, 1990’s Wollongong Wiz Greg Mackay again greeted the chequered flag ahead of Old 55 – Chris Green. These two are stuck together like an old married couple with Greg leading Chris home every time. New karter Adam Strattan was impressive for his first race meeting taking the final place on the podium.
TaG had a strong field of 15 karts including Round 1 winner Kingswood’s Taxi Driver Layne Stace, the Maltese Mafia of Team Vella drivers of Anthony and Leo Vella, the old boys Joe Agius and John Guest, AKRA stalwarts Mark Owen, Paul Charlesworth, Simon Hall and Daniel Anderson and new members AJ Lewis, James Caprin, Matt McPherson, Nick Paduch and Simon Barritt. AJ Lewis, who won his drive from the Hire Kart competition, showed he had the pace with Layne Stace grabbing another podium position and James Caprin 3rd.
In TaG, drivers were running MG Reds, the new Dunlops and some Mogo Greens. If they have to buy new tyres, they get MG Reds. This allows many karters to bring what they already own and use up their old rubber before buying new tyres. The same tyre rules go for Clubman.
A solid field of 12 J’s (running on the trust ol’ Dunlop SL1) greeted the start flag for Heat 1 with the ‘bees knees’ of karting’s past champions in the field. Tim Pauling, Darren Steeden, Paul Wilson and even Greg Mackay grabbed at the chance to use one of the Race Karts For Hire and had a run in the ‘J class. But it was local karter Gary Cosis that showed the rest the way home in both heats 1 & 2.
Darren Steeden took control of heat 3 and Pre-final but in the Final new boy/karter and only in his 2nd meeting was young Andrew Grima. Grima stayed close to Steeden all race and managed to get past down the main straight with 6 laps to go. But as the two approached some karts to lap, Steeden’s years of knowledge came forward and he managed to pass and box young Grima behind the slower karts, creating a gap which he held to the chequered flag.
For a young driver in only his 2nd race meeting to be dicing with a Champion driver of Steeden’s calibre was truly impressive.
The last race on the program was the Butcher’s Picnic Race for all non top 3 place-getters. An all in, it’s a time specific race where the first kart past the finishing line after the set time had elapsed is the winner. And the winner was Leo Vella who had timed it to perfection and just pipped Mark Owen to the flag.
So once again another great meeting with the customary celebratory drinks at presentation and a Birthday cake thrown in as well.
Affordable and Fun Karting is the motto, so if you still have a Clubman Kart or Yamaha J Kart leaning up against the wall in your garage, dust it off and bring it to Wollongong and have some fun. No bias at all as TaG Karts, Open Karts even 4-stroke are welcome too.