The ninth and final round of the Australian Kart Racers Alliance (AKRA) series at the Wollongong track in Kembla Grange on December 3 marked a year of growth for the organisation.
AKRA started the year with 28 members in February. There are now 83.
“That’s a fairly solid increase in growth of 196%” AKRA’s Troy Boldy informed KartSportNews. “These results would have to make AKRA the fastest growing governing body in Australia.”
New members joined in at Wollongong in the Clubman and TaG classes.
Boldy said it is ‘gold’ that club karters can race what they want and the club has the freedom to allow this.
“A Kart Club would know best what its members want to race. Being told what they can or can’t race is just crazy and when it looks like a money grab by some people to have to use this and that and bought only through certain channels and suppliers, it just creates a bad feeling amongst karters…”
So, for the final round, the weather was perfect and a strong field of 15 Clubman karts, 11 TAGs and 4 National class drivers arrived.
race report from AKRA
The big class for the day was Clubman. The Championship fight in Lights for 1st and 2nd was between Wollongong Wiz Greg Mackay and a 71-year young Chris Green.
Mackay would need a Scott McLaughlin style weekend for Green to have a chance to pinch the Championship Trophy away but the AKRA officials are not persuaded by Big Brown Paper Bags under the table, so Green had to try and do it the proper way.
Sitting in equal 3rd place in the Championship was Andrew Wood and Dean Dyason and it was down to the final race of the day to sort out the Championship top 3.
To Green’s credit he came well prepared and his kart was strong and Green was on fire in the heats but the start for the final had to be restarted two times as the drivers at the front were being a tad naughty and had to be pulled in and a quick stern word shared by the officials.
Once the green flag got them underway it way Mackay who got the hole shot into 1st and ran a tight line to hold off Green and the chasing pack. There was a bit of argy bargy and some wheels on the grass but Mackay held strong until Green found his way past mid race.
Once past Green looked in control. He made a quick immediate gap and held on for the remaining laps.
Mackay struggled for straight line speed and held tight until his engine gave up the ghost and Mackay parked it in the infield. This gave 2017 new karter Dyason an open letter and he brought it home in 2nd and made good his fight with Woody to take the final top 3 spot in the Championship. Steven Brett overcame troubles from previous round to get a solid 3rd place on the day in front on Richard Collinet. Woody has vowed to correct the results for 2018 and said he’ll be back less a few kilos.
In the Heavies it was Queenslander Michael Shearer who was too strong and held out Andrew Wood, Jason Strudwick, Mark Perez, Shane Jeffrey and Craig McMullen.
Considering Woody was in the heavy class his results in the overall Championship were pretty impressive (not bad for a slot car driver).
TAG Light had a few new faces to join up with AKRA and it was new member Madelyne Czybara who stole the show. Madelyne had to overcome some engine issues earlier in the day but once sorted was very strong on the track. A solid win in the Pre-final continued in the Final with a Flag to Flag win and a healthy gap back to Matt McPherson in 2nd. McPherson held off another new AKRA member Glen Tye who put in a great showing for his first trip to the Wollongong Kart Track.
The Heavy TAG drivers lead the TAG Championship for 2017 with CRG driver John Guest, David Patch aboard his Arrow, Taxi Driver Layne Stace with JC Kart and CRG Pilot Paul Charlesworth.
Charlesworth had a shocker at last round and sure made up for it with a solid 1st place in the heavies on the day and secured 3rd place in the Championship just ahead of Stace 2nd on the day and 4th in Championship.
Guest just needed to bring home a steady result and 4th on the day gave him the Championship Title for 2017, while David Patch’s 3rd on the day was good enough for 2nd in the Championship.
It goes to show that both Guest and Patch being in the heavy class but consistently getting solid results gave them the top 2 spots for 2017. Mark Owen and Simon Hall followed them all home rounding out the 2017 Championship.
National class was a family affair for the Championship. Father and son Simon and Andrew Grima, who both had never driven a kart until 2017, grew and learnt fast and was positioned at the top of the tree coming into the last round. Andrew had to win and Simon better than 4th otherwise Andrew would win on a count back having won 3 rounds this year.
The battle for 1st on the day was a hard fought one with both Andrew and last round winner Xander Collient both sharing wins in the heats. Andrew had the straight line speed but Xander had the measure in the turns. They changed places on many occasions and made it quite a spectacle for the crowd.
The final started close but Xander was able to gap Andrew after a few laps. Trying so hard it looked like Andrew lost the tune as his straight line speed wasn’t there anymore and his fight for the Championship died. Later Andrew told this reporter that he just wanted his Dad to win the Championship as he is getting old now and might not get another chance ever again (such a polite young gentleman).
It didn’t matter as father Simon Grima did what he had to and came home 3rd to take the Championship Title for 2017. 4-stroke driver Brian Quill shadowed Simon all day in his beast of a 4 stroke and said will be back again for 2018 with his other 4 stroke mates.
So that is a wrap, last round for AKRA in 2017. A bunch of happy club social karters shared a drink after the races at presentation time as they do every month. Tall stories and lies shared about the racing and how good we all are…
AKRA has bigger plans for 2018, more tracks to attend, so watch this space.
Mr Race Reporter